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.

Asking the age-old question: Should your company values stay the same?

In a perfect world, your company would start from day one with a firmly-rooted set of values. These values would be strong enough to sustain you through the first few stages of your business, and adaptable enough to apply as your company expanded and changed. After all, consistency is key in values and culture. Right?

But that’s a tall order. It’s hard enough to predict business from year to year. Foreseeing how your company will evolve five, ten years in the future is nearly impossible. Businesses, even entire industries, can alter in their trajectory in unpredictable ways. Your values need consistency, but they shouldn’t be written in stone.

Not all big changes in the company warrant a shift in values. There are a few times, though, when you may need to reexamine your company values and tailor them along the way. Here are a few questions Tribe recommends asking yourself if you’re considering a change in values:

Is there a new company vision?

Many companies reinvented themselves during the recession. Market conditions forced some reevaluation and that closer look often revealed new opportunities to redefine the business model — and a new vision for the future.

Do the employees understand the new vision and the role they play in reaching it? Do they know how they’re expected to change their behavior to meet this new vision? Values will be an important part of that equation. A new company vision may require slightly different values from the ones that were appropriate for the old way of doing business.

Has there been a change in leadership?

A new CEO will also generally mean a new vision for the company. A change in top leadership is a prime time to take a close look at the values and how they align with management’s vision for the future.

Has there been a merger or acquisition?

Since values are at the core of the company culture, merging two cultures will usually require some revamping of values. Occasionally, the acquiring company’s values will prevail, but it’s sometimes easier to create a cohesive culture if both companies are becoming part of something new. Evolving your values is a process that begins with defining and articulating what those values are and then moves to actually launching those values company-wide. But the job’s not done once the values are launched. In fact, it’s never done. For values to truly become guidelines for how business is done at your company, they have to be made relevant and meaningful to employees at all levels. Employees will need to see examples of their management putting the values into action. And those values must be communicated with sustaining efforts over a long period of time.

You’ll know you’ve succeeded when you see employees using the company values as the basis for the decisions they make in their work, day after day.

Want more insight? Whether you’re trying to call more attention to your current values or rewriting them completely, give Tribe a call. We would love to help your company communicate.