Communicating culture starts with the hiring process – even with the applicants you reject

SquareMost onboarding programs place an emphasis on sharing the company culture from the very first day an employee shows up for work. But that’s not where the process begins.

Exposure to the company culture begins with the hiring process. Whether you’re doing it intentionally or not, you’re communicating the culture to every single applicant, even those you don’t pursue.

How you treat the candidates you don’t end up hiring is just as important as the ones you do. No matter what the specifics of your culture may be, being rude is probably not a value you promote. Yet that’s what many companies are communicating, rejected applicant after rejected applicant.

In Tribe’s research on hiring practices, many companies let rejected job candidates fall into a black hole. Respondents reported that even after several interviews, they often received no notice that the job was filled with another applicant. Their calls and emails to their hiring contacts went unanswered. Understandably, this made a poor impression on job seekers.

Why should you care? Because of those who had a negative experience in the hiring process with any particular company, 78 percent of respondents said they would be “likely to discourage others from applying to that company in the future.” Just as your company places a high value on word of mouth amongst consumers, it should take what job hunters say seriously as well.

Here’s the kicker though. Treating rejected applicants well can turn them into ambassadors for you company as a workplace. Over 87 percent of respondents said that in situations where they were not hired, but had a positive experience such as very personal or courteous treatment, they would be “likely to encourage others to apply to that company in the future.”

This is low hanging fruit. By simply establishing hiring processes that treat all job applicants like they matter, you can potentially improve your ability to recruit top talent.

For instance, incorporating this one small step into your process can make a difference: If a candidate has taken the time to have an interview, even a phone interview, make sure you close the loop when you give the job to someone else.

Don’t worry so much about being the bearer of bad news. In our research, respondents overwhelmingly preferred knowing they didn’t get the job to being left hanging.

Interested in improving your hiring practices? Tribe can help.




What does leadership mean to Millenials?

It seems the Millenial generation of workers are redefining the term. In Tribe’s research with Fortune 100-company employees under age 35, we found that these younger workers consider building a strong team and good relationships to be high indicators of leadership.

To Gen X and Gen Y employees, being a leader means:

• Inspiring others to do their best (76%)
• Helping to develop other members of the team (63%)
• Building strong relationships above and below in the company (59%)

What does that mean for your company? According to Forbes, “[The] ability to attract, develop, and retain young leaders will make or break your company in the coming years.” Moving forward, think about where the strengths of Millenials lie: in technology, network building and diversity. Creating an environment centered on these ideals is key to investing in the next generation of the workforce.

How can you use this changing mindset to your advantage? The type of leadership Millenials crave is one that is rooted in transparency, open-door policies and, perhaps most importantly, building an office that thrives on teamwork. In Tribe’s research, we’ve found that these are things that most employee, regardless of generation, can identify with.

The days of “climbing the corporate ladder” are coming to an end. Corporate vernacular is moving away from the image of a “ladder”, in terms of success, instead using the lattice as a representation of the ideal. We’re no longer clambering to get to the top as individuals, we’re supporting each other and finding success together.

Need help reaching Millenials or bridging the generational gaps in your office? Give Tribe a call. We’d love to help.

TRIBE TRIVIA: The difference in importance of benefits between Millennials and Gen X

Question: If 35 percent of both Millennials and Gen X employees say salary is the most important consideration in deciding to accept a job, do they also care equally about benefits?

Answer: No, perhaps because Gen X employees are more likely to have families. While benefits like healthcare and a 401K were a top consideration for 39 pecent of Gen X respondents in Tribe’s national employee survey, only 23 percent of Millennials ranked benefits as the most important factor.

For more information on this study, see Tribe’s white papers and other resources on the expertise page of, or shoot me an email.

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.

Five ideas for engaging employees with wellness programs

HiResCompanies often launch employee wellness programs because of the health benefits, but these programs also can increase employee engagement. By activating the programs with initiatives that focus not just on the individual but help employees connect with their co-workers, build departmental and cross-departmental relationships and feel part of a group, wellness can foster a much higher level of employee engagement. Here are five ideas for how to make that happen:

1. Start a competition: This could be an annual fitness competition, based on sticking to individual exercise goals; it could be a weight loss challenge; it could be collecting miles walked or run to reach a collective mileage goal. 

2. Use your intranet to add a social element: Let your employee intranet make individual wellness efforts visible and create both a competitive spirit and a venue for support. Employees can establish individual fitness profiles with goals and report their progress against those goal; they can post their planned workout for the day; they can track their mileage or time,; or they could even find tennis partners or running buddies from the ranks of their colleagues.

3. Create a partner program: Whether employees are working on weight management or smoking cessation or just general fitness, studies show having a partner can increase success rates. That could mean pairing two people both working on the same sort of goals, or assigning a mentor who’s had success in that area to someone just beginning to make a change in their life. For instance, you might have an experienced runner mentor a co-worker just beginning to train for their first 5K. Or you might pair two people trying to quit smoking as support for each other. These partnerships can be established and maintained via the intranet.

4. Launch a virtual competition across locations: This can be a particularly strong program for companies with locations spread across the country or around the world. Competing against other locations helps employees realize they’re part of something bigger than just their own office, and can build great awareness of and engagement with far-flung business units and colleagues. 

5. Host a healthy lunch contest online: People love to post shots of whatever they’re eating online. Why not harness that same impulse for an employee competition? Employees snap a picture of what they brought for lunch, post it on the intranet, and then other employees can vote for it or simply “like” it. This could also include a recipe element, but doesn’t need to. Shots of hummus and raw vegetables or a healthy chili or big salad need little explanation for others to emulate — and could prompt some spontaneous online conversation as well, which can connect employees who might otherwise never have had any reason to interact.

Interested in more ideas for employee engagement? Tribe can help.

TRIBE TRIVIA: Word-of-mouth impact of courtesy in the hiring process

Question: How does the level of courtesy afforded job candidates impact the company reputation?

Answer: In Tribe’s national research with job candidates, 78 percent of respondents said that if they experienced poor treatment or lack of courtesy in the hiring process, they would discourage others from applying to that company in the future. In contrast, even if they were rejected for the job but were treated with courtesy during the hiring process, 87 percent would encourage others to apply for positions at the company.

For more information about this and other studies, see Tribe’s white papers and internal communications resources on the expertise page of, or shoot us an email.

Who wants what: Life stages and the EVP

The employee value proposition helps employees see beyond compensation and benefits to the larger picture. Although there are other elements of the EVP that attract top talent and keep your best employees in place, it’s safe to say all employees care about their pay and insurance.

Beyond that, many elements of the EVP will be different for each individual. Some people are looking for a company where they can enjoy a better work-life balance.  Other employees might secretly enjoy racking up air miles and staying in hotels all over the world. Some folks want to be able to wear T-shirts and flip flops to the office. Hourly workers in positions that don’t promise much career advancement might appreciate tuition assistance to get that college degree.

Although we can’t assume that diverse personalities will want the same things, people in certain life stages often want similar perks. New parents might particularly value the options of flex time or working from home. Those in the early stages of their careers will likely be looking for a company with a great deal of opportunity for growth. Although Gen Y employees often rank meaningful work high on their lists, that factor can also be a big deal to many Boomers.

The EVP provides answers to the employee’s question, “What’s in it for me?” It’s wise to remember, however, that the right answers will be different according to what any individual employee values most in life.

Ready to explore your employee value proposition? Tribe can help.

After the interview: Building relationships through rejection

Whether you’re the one hiring or the one seeking a job, there can be an up side to rejection. Following job interviews, many companies don’t bother to communicate with the candidates who won’t be moving forward in the process. Often, this same lack of courtesy is seen in the behavior of job candidates.

Treat job candidates poorly and you risk damaging the company’s reputation. In Tribe’s national research on hiring practices, 78 percent of respondents said they would discourage others from applying to a company that had treated them with a lack of courtesy during the hiring process.

But exercise a little common courtesy, and the company will enjoy powerful positive word of mouth. In the same study, an even larger number — 87 percent — said that if they were rejected for a job, yet had been treated with courtesy during the process, they would be likely to encourage others to apply to that company in the future.

Candidates want to know the outcome of an interview, even if it’s bad news. It’s interesting – and disheartening – to see how often companies fail to send any further communication to those interviewees they reject. In the Tribe study, respondents said things like:

“I realize companies get many applicants to positions, but it would be appreciated if they let those not selected for a position after an interview know, rather than leaving them hanging.”

“Contact people one way or the other, instead of just ignoring them.”

“Nothing’s worse than not hearing anything at all.”

Now some free advice for job candidates: Even if you’re rejected for this job, there may be another job down the road, so keep in touch. Every person who interviews you is a new business contact you’ve made, with the potential to connect you with another opportunity in the future. Maybe another job will come up that’s a better fit for you. Possibly that contact will move to another company that needs someone just like you. Or they might hear about a job from a friend and pass your name along.

When a company actually lets you know you’ve been rejected for a job, respond with an email or even a handwritten note. Thank them for the opportunity to interview, tell them you enjoyed meeting them and express an interest in keeping in touch. That sort of courtesy is also too rare in the hiring process.

Interested in improving your recruiting efforts or hiring communications? Tribe can help.



Millenials: Generational labels are not your identity

I’ve always thought that lumping everyone from a generation together under one archetype was a bit like Astrology. Everyone born around the same time has a similar personality and will succumb to the same fate as a result. Sure, there are coincidental truths and perhaps even some overarching trends that can be subscribed to, but it’s far and away from a definitive science. It certainly doesn’t define the individuals that make up that generation.

The etymology of “Millenial” is different from any of the preceding generational labels. The term “Baby Boomer,” describing the generation of children post-WWII wasn’t coined until 1977. And it was self-described. Gen X was a term coined and appropriated by the generation itself, the X being a symbol of not wanting to be labeled (they also called themselves the Blank Generation). With that precedent in place, it would seem shortsighted to label a generation still in the incubation stages of adulthood. The term Millenial was coined in 1991 in the name of market research. That was the year I was born. I didn’t even have a chance.

That’s why I tend to buck whenever I hear the word “Millenial” to describe me and my generation. Because already it has a stigma attached. Long before I entered the workforce, I was seen as an irreverent, tech-savvy know-it-all who expects the world and doesn’t want to put in the hours to earn it. In many professional settings, I have been talked down to because, I’m told, I don’t respect the way things are. My opinions are devalued from the moment my age becomes apparent even if, funnily enough, the topic is about reaching out to younger generations. I’m not saying that Millenials are the first generation to experience this, but it’s frustrating to individuals and it tends to push people away.

Millenials, we can’t get bogged by this label. Instead, we have to rep the good qualities. Millenials are known for valuing “craft, authenticity and strong values.” These are things that every company is looking for. Can we multi-task? Yep. Tech savvy? You bet. These are our advantages. And the negative attributes? Prove them wrong. Be the exception. Your prejudices are no better than their’s, and respect is a two-way street.

Employers, ignoring the nuances of a generation of employees will come back to bite you. Already, people are assigning attributes to Gen Z or, as they’re being called, the “iGeneration” (seriously). Now, don’t get me wrong. There is real, useful knowledge to be taken from identifying generational trends. But don’t confuse that with how you should interact with everyone from that generation. Regardless of age, people want to treated as individuals. Let them speak for themselves instead of allowing these labels speak for them. Only then will you be able to tap into the true value these upcoming generations have to offer.



TRIBE TRIVIA: The Importance of Benefits to Gen X and Millennials

Question: If 35 percent of both Millennials and Gen X employees say salary is the most important consideration in deciding to accept a job, do they also care equally about benefits?

Answer: No, perhaps because Gen X employees are more likely to have families. While benefits like healthcare and a 401K were a top consideration for 39 pecent of Gen X respondents in Tribe’s national employee survey, only 23 percent of Millennials ranked benefits as the most important factor.

For more information on this study, see Tribe’s white papers and other resources on the expertise page of, or shoot me an email.