Keeping home office employees engaged

Are your home-based employees out of sight/out of mind? It’s easy to forget about all those people out there in home offices. For those whose major interaction with colleagues in the corporate office is email and the occasional conference call, engagement may not be as high we’d like.

Here are three goals to keep in mind for increasing engagement in this employee population:

  1. Put a face to a name: In the absence of in-person interaction, mere visibility can help. Just being able to visualize a face makes people feel more connected and familiar. Encourage profile pictures on the intranet, try an occasional video call, or even use FaceTime. (Millennial employees might be more comfortable with FT than those of us in their Boomer years.)
  2. Show where people sit: To help connect team members in a department that includes remote employees, or to introduce a new work-at-home employee, have people share a photo of their office or desk. Include everyone on the team, not just the remote folks. It’s always nice to be able to picture where someone is while you’re on the phone or emailing.
  3. Look for opportunities to meet face-to-face: In Tribe research with employees nationwide on cultivating collaboration, respondents told us that even meeting someone in person one time can help them feel more comfortable sharing ideas and working together. There may not be budget to have remote employees travel to corporate on a regular basis, but try to find a reason for them to do so once in awhile, and make sure they meet everyone they can on those visits.

Interested in engaging your remote employees? Tribe can help.

TRIBE TRIVIA: Do employees want to share feedback with corporate?

Q: What percentage of employees feel it’s “extremely” or “very” important to be able to communicate with their corporate leadership?

Answer: 84%, according to Tribe’s national research on employees’ preferences in internal communications.

For more information about this study, see Tribe’s white papers and other resources on the expertise page of tribeinc.com, or contact Steve Baskin, President and Chief of Strategy at Tribe. 

5 Tips to Guide Collaborative Teams

As our workplace grows increasingly dependent on highly specialized knowledge experts and their intellectual capital, collaboration becomes more and more essential. To complete complex projects, to develop company-wide innovation or to tackle any other initiative that involves more than one discipline, a collaborative work environment will be key to your company’s success.

Why should that be so difficult? For one thing, if you’ve been lucky enough to attract star talent across a wide range of job functions, you’ll likely be dealing with personalities who prefer to be left alone to do what they do best.

On the up side, collaboration is a fantastic builder of employee engagement. When employees across many industries are asked what makes them want to stay with their current employers, one of the most frequent responses is “the people I work with.”

Here are 5 tips for successful collaboration at your company:

1. Cast a wide net in the beginning of a project. This is the time you want as many viewpoints as possible, with your objectives and challenges seen through the lens of various departments, disciplines and experience levels.

2. Identify a core team that will be responsible for the work going forward. It’s not practical, cost-efficient or even possible — given most employees’ schedules — to include everyone in every meeting.

3. Give that core team decision-making authority. Once they’ve had input and suggestions from all interested parties, the core team needs to have the autonomy to proceed without checking back every time they make a decision. Let them figure it out and get it done, without putting a lot of hierarchal drag on the process.

4. Have one person be the lead of the project. This may not be the highest ranked person on the team, but it should be someone who can make the project a priority and keep it moving forward with some degree of autonomy. If you don’t trust this person’s judgement or decision-making abilities, you’ve got the wrong project leader.

5. As much as possible, ignore hierarchy. Collaboration leads to more innovation and greater business success if the process allows for easy sharing of information and insights. What you want is the collective wisdom of a bunch of smart people working together — and ideally, for them each to feel that their knowledge and ideas are needed.

6. Communicate progress to the entire group. While the core team is moving the project through its process of development, be sure to send occasional updates to the whole group, including a timeline with upcoming milestones.

7. Circle the wagons again before going live. Get the entire group together one last time before the launch, with the understanding that many decisions made along the way cannot now be unmade. The purpose is not for them to find fault, but to suggest anything that could improve the success of the launch before it’s revealed to the world. The other benefit of this meeting is that it creates widespread pride in the accomplishment and enlists the entire team as ambassadors for the project.

8. Give recognition. It’s important to celebrate both the teamwork required and the individuals involved, when collaboration results in a successful outcome. Not only is it important to those employees, but it also lets other employees know that the company values collaboration across job functions.

Interested in improving collaboration at your company? Tribe can help.