Brittany Walker

3 Tips for a Successful Culture Magazine

Culture magazines are a great resource for communicating across a multitude of functions and geography. Internal magazines are opportunities to bridge silos, create shared pride and boost recognition, all of which contribute to higher employee engagement.

At Tribe, we’ve created culture magazines for clients across industries ranging from consumer products to aviation to fashion. Especially in manufacturing, retail and other non-desk populations, magazines enable the company to make these frontline employees visible and even recognized as heroes throughout the organization.

Often produced as a quarterly publication, culture magazines don’t have to be a daunting or budget-busting. Here are three simple tips to keep your magazine on track.

  1. Develop an editorial plan. Establishing reoccurring topics and themes for each issue will take a load off the planning process at the beginning of each issue. Think through your messaging and communication goals for the publication, and be sure to work each of them into the plan. Allow for flexibility by including a feature story, but we would recommend at least three basics, like employee spotlights, leadership Q&A or wellness and volunteerism updates.
  1. Appoint an editorial board. This simple task has been a life-saver in ongoing magazines Tribe has produced in the past. At the start of each new issue, gather your established team composed of people from across different segments of the organization. All it takes is one organized conference call to discuss potential stories and features for the upcoming issue. By the time the call ends, you should have your identified editorial plan for the next issue, and the correct contacts to start producing the content.
  1. Keep revisions to a minimum. For best, and most efficient results, collaborate on the front end of the magazine, not the back end. A large part of this helpful hint is cutting down on the number of reviewers themselves. Once the articles are written and the issue is put into design, keep the circle as tight as possible. Multiple rounds of revisions can do damage to your timeline, and as a result, impact the budget.

Interested in developing a culture magazine? Tribe can help.

Brittany Walker

Three easy ways to improve your intranet

Your company’s intranet should be a reflection of its culture. Culture is not only about your mission, vision, values, logo and formal rituals, but it also includes employee beliefs about the company, myths and ancillary symbols that develop over time. Reviewing your intranet should shed some light on the intangible areas of your company’s culture. Analyzing your site doesn’t need to be a formal process, but by taking some time and reviewing a few basic elements, you will also gain a better understanding of your culture.

1. Site design should be reflective of your external brand and your desired internal culture.  Look at the design element of your internet and intranet.  Are they of the same quality? Do they look similar?  Does it appear that the company invested in both? Does your intranet reflect your desired culture in terms of being fun or potentially a more formal culture? If the answer to some of these questions is no, it may be a good time to improve the design.

2. If work/life balance is something your company values, give employees the opportunity to share information about their personality on the site. Rich employee profiles are a great way for employees to connect on a more personal level and improve their working relationships with co-workers. The underlying message that employees will receive is that the company cares about them as individuals, not just for the skill set they bring to the company.

3. Review your values, culture attributes and other brand elements to see if they are reflected in the site. Your intranet is a great tool to communicate and sustain elements of your brand, which in turn help develop your culture.  Look for interactive ways such as spotlighting employees that live your values or promoting events on the site that help build camaraderie.

Do you have other ideas of how to analyze your intranet for insights on your culture?  Tribe can help.

Brittany Walker

4 Ways to Increase Engagement Through Employee Recognition

HiResEngaged employees are more likely to know that their role contributes to the overall success of the organization. When it comes to instilling that message throughout the company, Tribe often recommends a rewards and recognition program. From dedicated website portals, to a verbal “thank you,” there are many effective methods to increase confidence and morale through acknowledgment. Sometimes the smallest thing someone does can make the biggest difference for someone else.

  1. Verbally recognize standout employees during a regular meeting. Rewarding employees in front of their peers puts a little extra oomph in fostering pride. Schedule a few minutes into the agenda of your weekly or monthly meeting to spotlight an individual who deserves it.
  1. Establish a recognition item that can be passed on to others. The actual item can be determined by your culture – at Tribe we use a large jar – but the concept stays the same. Starting with the team leader, give it to someone who’s gone above and beyond. That person will keep the item for a month or quarter, and then pass it on to someone else on the team that deserves the spotlight for their accomplishments. It is important to let them know why they’re receiving the item, to set a standard for a job well done.
  1. Provide a sought-after treat to recognize employees’ contributions. This could be as simple as a quarterly breakfast with leadership, or a small gift or collectable token. The ability to attend an exclusive event or receive a keepsake can go a long way to make employees feel appreciated.
  1. Spotlight outstanding employees with a story of their accomplishments. Consider establishing an “employee of the month” program or a spotlight section in your newsletter or internal publication. Not only will it make that employee feel recognized for their contributions, but it will allow other employees to read why that person was selected and set their sights on how to be nominated in the future. It was also serve as a great reminder of your organization’s best practices.

Interested in developing a rewards and recognition program? Tribe can help.

Brittany Walker

3 Tips to Balance Print vs. Digital Communications

Many communicators have an option on high vs. low-tech solutions. Should we print? Or should we go digital? Tribe often recommends a mix of both. Especially within the same campaign. Providing messaging through multiple channels can increase the opportunity for engagement while reinforcing the communication at the same time.

Don’t always be so quick to rule out print. At Tribe, we often include print publications in our communication plans for clients, partly because employees receive so much digital communication. Print now breaks through just by being a different medium. Additionally, for communications intended to inspire company pride, communicate vision and share values, there’s something powerful about the relative permanence of print. People like to be able to hold the physical piece.

Digital has its advantages as well. A huge majority of employees technology daily in their everyday lives, even while they’re away from the office. Embedding printed pieces into a website, app or even on the company intranet gives employees the opportunity to reference materials whenever they want. Aside from convenience, there are many other benefits like analytic reports, adding music and photo galleries, embedding videos and more.

Reach different employee demographics. Millennials may be more likely to access an internal magazine from iPads and smartphones. Generation X and Boomers might prefer to view on their laptops or reach for a printed piece. Giving your employees flexibility and increasing convenience shows respect for them as individuals.

Interested in finding a balance of print and digital for your internal communications? Tribe can help.

Brittany Walker

What’s in it for Me: 3 Ways to Incentivize Employee Engagement

67857321_thumbnailThink you can’t buy employee engagement? Think again. Even while being cost-conscious there are plenty of ways to increase engagement by enticing your employees. Bringing the WIIFM factor to light, here are three ways to increase engagement through incentives.

1.  Hook them with a prize they actually want. Bringing an enter-to-win activation to an employee request can have a big result without a lot of cost. Prizes can range from a free lunch, to gift cards, to high-end electronics, to all-inclusive trips, all while having a big impact. When asking an employee to take time out of their busy day to pay attention to corporate communications, it helps to have a hook.

2.  Make them work for it. Scavenger hunts are a popular engagement method activated by Tribe, particularly when launching new intranets. Sounds elementary, but the concept of having employees find the information we’re communicating on their own is a great method for comprehension. It’s also a great way to build habits of using specific communication tools to find information. Getting them there is often half the battle, and when getting them there has a potential return, it’s a win-win.

3.  The way to the heart is through the stomach. Or at least food gives them a reason to show up at an event. Using food as an incentive is one of the oldest tricks in the book and absolutely applies when it comes to employee engagement. Especially while encouraging social activity, as food tends to do.

Building the groundwork doesn’t have to come at a huge price. Whether it be an employee survey, intranet launch or new initiative rollout, Tribe often promotes using bait to get them there. “If we build it, they will come” only applies in the movies. It’s up to us as communicators to get them there.

Interesting in improving your employee engagement activation? Tribe can help.

Brittany Walker

Four tips to launch a successful ambassador program

You’ve got a great new communications channel, now what? In most cases the next step is to start producing news and information to keep employees informed. Establishing a successful internal communications platform like a well-rounded intranet, newsletter or digital signage is great, but the content shared through these channels is what keeps employees coming back for more.

Tribe recommends an ambassador program. Gathering, sorting and editing content from all segments of a company is a seemingly impossible feat, but we’ve got a solution. Here are four of our suggested tips for a successful ambassador program launch:

  1. Recruit the right team. A program of ambassadors positioned throughout the company can be a natural source of news across functional silos, business units or geographically scattered locations. However, the right employee is key. A successful ambassador is often a more junior employee eager to make a name for themselves. Energy level is more important than experience.
  1. Spread the word. Tribe usually recommends an announcement from management to reveal their team’s new ambassador(s). Communicating the news of the new ambassadors will have two purposes: letting employees know who they should go to with their news, and giving the ambassador the recognition they deserve.
  1. Provide the tools they need to be successful. Before ambassadors can become content managers they will need some guidance. Introducing training tools such as ways to find news, how to connect with newsmakers and what makes information newsworthy will go a long way in the successful launch of your program.
  1. Emphasize the WIIFM factor. The role of ambassador adds to the workload, so clearly outlining what’s in it for them is important. Good news for you, becoming an ambassador is a great opportunity for employees. Not only will they have the chance to stretch beyond their current job descriptions, they will be able to connect and learn from some of the people doing the most important work in the company.

Need help getting your ambassador program off the ground? Tribe would love to help.


Brittany Walker

3 Ways to Improve Internal Comms for “Free”

Custom communications solutions for free? You heard it right. In an industry where new technologies and services are sprouting up daily, and the options for subscriptions and add-ons seem endless, it can be difficult to navigate which solution is right for your team and your budget. Here are three Tribe-approved recommendations when going in free.

1.  Take a strategic approach. Before investing time in researching platforms, first determine the strategy behind why it’s needed. Whether it be reaching non-desk employees through a non-traditional channel, or grabbing the attention of employees in their already-overloaded inbox, it’s important to be clear on your goal. Different solutions are available to serve a multitude of needs, so defining the strategic plan is typically a great place to start.

2.  Invest in great design and development. When it comes to most basic, entry-level plans, custom design can take almost any resource from ordinary to engaging. And even more importantly, become cohesive with your brand. Tribe recommends resources like MailChimp and WordPress, which enable complete design freedom as part of their free subscriptions. With options like “code your own” and custom templates, you’ll be able to achieve the look, feel and functionality you’re after, all within the trusted portals of these established programs.

3.  Customize a template for future use and consistency. Measurement and analysis are important elements in communications strategy. Especially when it comes to capturing and quantifying employee engagement. Free surveying tools like those offered by SurveyMonkey can be a great resource for surveying employees, but can be a hassle when it comes to analyzing your results. Tribe recommends building custom spreadsheets and graphics to filter, analyze and showcase your results, based on your individual goals.

Know when to settle and when to splurge. Sometimes free options really are too good to be true, so it’s important to know where to draw the line. It’s all about knowing your need, and a lot of the time there are great, affordable options out there.

Need help navigating, sourcing and producing your communications tools? Tribe can help.

Brittany Walker

3 simple ways to refresh your HR site

As the HR technology market continues to boom, the way we communicate with employees continues to evolve. We’ve seen HR websites become an increasingly popular communications channel, and for good reason. While a full site build or redesign is sometimes needed, starting from the ground up can be quite an undertaking. For a more a la cart approach, here are a few ways tips to upgrade your HR site.

  1. Open the lines of two-way communication. Whether it’s an open Q&A or as simple as a dedicated email address for feedback, two-way communication is extremely important in all segments of a company, especially HR. From suggestions, to questions, to concerns, to plain old venting, your employees can provide valuable feedback on what’s working and what’s not. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback. These negatives give you the opportunity to address things other employees might be feeling as well.
  1. Make it easier for them. Employees are visiting your site for a few different reasons, most of which come back to the need for information. Whether it’s forms or performance review updates, if it’s hard for them to get what they need, they’ll give up and take another approach. Informational hierarchy can be critical to a successful website. Take a look at your site with a fresh perspective. If you can’t find what you need in less than three clicks, it’s time for a refresh.
  1. Centralize calendars to keep employees in the loop. Consider revamping your site to include a one-stop shop for upcoming events, deadlines and renewals. Providing employees with easy access to HR happenings will ease the stress of what’s coming up next. As long as your resources and details are frequently updated, employees will form a habit of going to the site for the details they need. Let’s not forget, well-informed employees lead to higher engagement and a more productive HR team.

Tribe works with a wide range of companies on HR communication tools and would love to help your team stay connected. Contact us for information on how to get started.

Brittany Walker

4 tips for keeping employees engaged in your intranet

Launching a new or updated intranet is a great start for improving internal communications. It is however just that, a start. The real challenges usually come in the following weeks, months, even years. A well thought out sustaining plan can be the key to keeping engagement high. Here are four tips to keep employees coming back to your intranet.

  1. Keep content fresh. When used properly, a successful intranet goes beyond the function of a virtual filing cabinet. Fresh, relevant content updated daily or weekly will keep employees coming back. To make every-day content creation more manageable, Tribe recommends establishing a content manager program. By empowering content managers across geography and work functions, you can build an army of ambassadors who keep news refreshed on an ongoing basis.
  1. Create a welcoming collaboration space. Breaking down silos through collaboration is a common goal, but often difficult to achieve. Providing employees with a collaboration platform in an environment where they already regularly visit is a big step towards making it easier. When choosing a collaboration tool for your organization it’s important to include employees in the discussion to really determine what tool will work best for your culture.
  1. Offer two-way communication. Leadership visibility is a frequent request of employees from all types of organizations. Providing an area on your intranet where employees can ask questions, give feedback or voice concerns to leadership is a great way to give them the outlet they need. Completing the loop of two-way communication is essential to employees feeling that their input is respected by their top executives.
  1. Provide a positive user experience. One of the easiest ways to lose engagement in your intranet is to make it difficult to use properly. If employees aren’t getting what they need in an intuitive and productive way, it’s harder to keep them coming back. When possible, Tribe recommends asking employees what attributes they would like in an intranet. Following launch, it’s also important to keep tabs on the functionality for the best possible experience.

At Tribe we like to think of the launch of an intranet as the starting line, not the finish line. Need help increasing engagement in your intranet? Tribe would love to help.


Brittany Walker

Three ways to get the most out of your employee survey

Employee surveys can become a source of invaluable information for your company. Obtaining honest employee feedback is an essential step to improving engagement and productivity. However, a lot of the legwork is necessary after the survey is complete. Tribe has developed a list of our top three tips to always keep in mind.

1. Slice and dice your findings. Asking demographical questions at the beginning of your survey like age, gender, tenure, work function, etc., will allow you to take your analysis to the next level. Knowing that 20 percent of your employees are unhappy with their work-life balance is good to know, but being able to pin point a specific department or office location where the problem is occurring could help solve the issue even faster.

2. Keep your word on the survey’s anonymity. If the survey was advertised to employees as anonymous, it’s important that it is treated that way. Employees are much more likely to respond candidly and honestly if they know you won’t be able to trace their answers back to them. Working with a third-party vendor like Tribe can also contribute to employees feeling more secure in their responses.

3. Deliver on your promise. One of the worst things you can do after delivering a survey is not following up. Communicating that your survey will affect change will empower your employees and managers to speak openly about their challenges and suggestions. Think of the reasons you are administering the survey and be prepared to take action on what you uncover. If nothing else, you can share the survey results with your employees.

Tribe specializes in crafting, executing and analyzing employee surveys. If you need help with your next survey, Tribe would love to help.