TRIBE TRIVIA: Employee Feedback For 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. 

Whose job is it to make the culture more collaborative?

Who is responsible for driving collaboration in your company? In this interview by Gloria Lombardi of Simply Communicate discusses that question with Emanuele Quintarelli, EY’s Director of Social Business and Future of Work.

Everybody, according to Quintarelli. In the past, he says, it tended to be IT launching collaborative software, or internal comms, primarily in their management of senior leader communciations to employees.

“What we have seen over the years is that none of these owners can play a very effective role alone,” he says. “Best practice is to make social business a multi stakeholder project – IT, HR, IC, Legal but also the rest of the business, from Customer Service, to Sales, Marketing and Innovation.

“It is a transition that should be owned by the entire organisation. The organisational culture and processes have to be championed by the top management together with the senior stakeholders representing core areas.”

In Tribe’s research, collaboration is either modeled by managers or doomed by them. In our national study with employees on collaboration across functional silos, we heard comments like these:

“Managers are at times at odds and discourage (or at least don’t encourage) personnel to expend the time required for collaboration.”

“My boss’ boss discourages collaboration in some areas and would rather have the upper hand with some groups”

“I don’t know how to change the culture, but I know it starts with the leaders.”

“Lead by example.”

Our answer to Lombardi’s question would be that top leadership drives collaboration by making it a priority for the organization — and by modeling it. That intent and behavior can then flow down through the many layers of management, potentially all the way to the frontline.

Internal communications can help by making collaborative success more visible. HR can help by including some element of collaboration as an element of performance reviews. Training and development can support managers and employees in learning to collaborate more easily. IT can offer software to make collaboration easier, or just supporting the rogue software employees are adopting on their own, like Slack and Flow.

So yes, everybody. Everybody in the organization can help drive collaboration.

Want to support collaboration in your company? Tribe can help.

PS: If you’re interested in the deck summarizing our white paper on collaboration across functional silos, shoot me an email.

 

Aligning your company’s internal communications with your business goals

Odds are, your company started out with a mission in mind. This is the reason you set out. It defines what makes you unique, what separates you from the competition and it gives you a purpose for your work. Your business as a whole needs an end goal in order to be successful. It’s crucial for you and your employees to be on the same path with their eyes on the same prize. Internal communications is what helps this initiative come together.

Your mission is your destination, but it’s also your foundation. A business goal is not something that one day you’ll achieve and your quest will be over. A business goal is the way that you’ve chosen to define your journey. It’s also the basis on which you should communicate with your team. How and when you reach out to your team should reflect the goals you’re trying to achieve.

Here are three benefits to starting with the end in mind:

1) You need a road map to know where you’re going. The strategic communications plan helps to keep everyone moving in the same direction. It’s what provides the structure on which you can build employee engagement in reaching those business objectives. As an example, let’s say one of your company’s business objectives is to increase innovation through collaboration. When you know that’s a focus, you can choose channels that support that goal, like an idea-vetting site or collaborative features on your intranet. Even before you start developing your messaging, you’ve begun to pave the way for changing employee behavior.

2) It allows you to be more proactive. There will always be late breaking news or changes that require turning on a dime, but with a plan in place, you’ll minimize your need to be reactive or tactical. A clear plan provides you with the luxury of being proactive. For instance, perhaps somewhere in the company’s future, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll be bought by another company. Well before you reach that juncture, you can lay the groundwork for smoother change by building employee trust in management. You might decide to add a weekly CEO blog to your mix, to provide two-way communication channels or even to find opportunities for leadership to share some bad news as well as the good, to assure employees that management communicates honestly and transparently.

3) It helps you create synergy. A well-developed plan helps your communications become larger than the sum of their parts. You can use some channels to build traffic to other channels, or look for places you can weave in underlying messages. Perhaps you’ll realize your recognition communications are a good place to include messaging on the company vision and values. There are any number of ways your communications can support or build on each other.

TRIBE TRIVIA: Believability of Corporate Communications

Q: True or false: Non-desk employees, such as those on the manufacturing line or in the retail stores, generally believe the information they get through corporate communications.

A: False, for a significant percentage, according to Tribe’s national research with non-desk employees. 38% of respondents said they take all corporate communications “with a grain of salt.”

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. 

Fostering collaboration by building respect for other expertise

If collaboration is a priority at your company, start by building respect across functional silos. For employees to value ideas contributed by someone from another discipline or with a different expertise, they first need to respect what others bring to the table.

We’ve seen this connection between respect and collaboration with a couple of clients recently. Each of these two companies depend on innovation and bringing new ideas to market in order to remain competitive. Both involve manufacturing and technology. Both are incredibly impressive in the way they collaborate across silos to create better solutions for customers in their industries.

When interviewing high-level engineers at both companies, they speak with great excitement about their collaborative efforts. They heap praise on the expertise of partners from other business units or functions and stress how lucky they are to be able to work with the collaborative team they’ve formed.

How does that happen? These two companies have developed their shared admiration for differing expertise organically. But if that’s not already the climate at your company, you can use communications strategies and tactics to sow the seeds of respect.

Providing visibility is the catalyst. Employees can’t respect each other’s expertise if they don’t know about each other. One of the most important elements of collaboration is awareness of the work being done in other areas of the company.

Develop a channel a two that provide windows into other silos. There are numerous ways you can do this, including your intranet. One of the tactics Tribe often recommends is an employee culture magazine that features the work of individuals and teams across the range of functional divisions or business units or geographical locations.

A magazine can turn employees into celebrities. A feature article can explore a project or initiative in some depth, quoting several of the employees involved and sharing their successes and solutions. A spread of employee spotlights can showcase the work of three or four or even more employees in various functional areas. A roundtable article that includes management from several different silos can share their perspectives on topics like innovation or team building or leadership.

Shining the limelight on employees supports a culture of respect. A magazine or another channel with the same intention of showcasing the talent in your company communicates to all employees the value that each individual can bring to the company’s success. And a culture of respect helps create a work environment that fosters collaboration.

Interested in increasing collaboration in your organization? Tribe can help.

 

 

“Consistency is underrated”

First, I have to attribute the titular quote to a friend who was talking about Mr. Richard StarkeyThe Beatles’ drummer is often regarded as the least talented member of the group (which is actually a compliment if directed at any other musician). Though it is hard to stand out amongst three of the most talented musicians to ever to be recorded, Ringo gets a bad rap. He certainly isn’t the flashiest drummer. But he was innovative, and the backbone of arguably the best band in the world. George Harrison noted that Starr almost never needed a second take in the studio, and when the band broke up, Harrison and Lennon both called upon the drummer to play on their solo records. 1973’s “Ringo” was also the only solo Beatle record to feature all four members of the band.

So why is poor Ringo overlooked when most people think of Rock n’ Roll’s great drummers? Exactly as my friend said. Consistency isn’t necessarily a marquee-worthy attribute, but it is something that people on rely on, whether they realize it or not. Just as Ringo’s steady tom-roll rhythm makes “Come Together” the standout classic tune that it is, steady, consistent leadership and communication can make or break your business.

Consistency allows the same message to reach everyone’s ears. The effectiveness of your company’s communications depends on information traveling from leaders to managers to staff to new staff and so on. If the message is inconsistent, if details are left out and visions are miscommunicated, the boat starts to change course, if only slightly. But a subtle variation in the beginning yields a vastly different direction over time. To ensure that the message is consistent, be it the company’s values, purpose, vision or anything else, leaders need to communicate clearly and often. The message can then disperse throughout the company successfully.

Consistency is necessary for a purpose and strategy. Everyone in your company needs to be on board the same ship, working toward the same goal. They also need a defined battle plan. At the risk of mixing in a fourth metaphor, I’ll just come right out and say it: employees can’t guess what those things are. And they shouldn’t have to. Your business goals, and the things that support those goals, need to play a part in your everyday communications, so that people can be reminded of what drives the business.

Don’t let your company’s communications turn into a game of “Telephone.” If the people you work with know the pillars of your company from day one, they’ll better understand how they work in your company, and that will allow them to work smarter for your company. Being consistent in leadership and communication helps employees to really get behind your business and play active roles in the evolution of your company.

 

TRIBE TRIVIA: Generational Communication Preferences

Q: Which generation cares the least about face-to-face communication?

A: Gen Y, according to Tribe’s national research on employees’ preferences in internal communications. Over half the Boomer and Gen X respondents said that face-to-face is their preferred mode of communication, while only 43 percent of Gen Y or Millennial agreed with that statement.

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. 

The most important element of the EVP and engagement: the work itself

One of the key questions Tribe asks when measuring employee engagement is, “How do you feel when you’re on your way to work?” With most companies, the answers are mixed. In organizations like foundations fighting social injustice or world poverty, we tend to see more excitement and passion than we might in some other industries like retail or manufacturing.

You might not expect people to love going to work in a paper mill or box factory. Yet that’s exactly what we’ve been hearing in recent weeks, through countless interviews for a manufacturing company’s internal magazine.

How is that possible? Why are employees ranging from engineers to salespeople to mill managers so excited about getting to work in the morning?

There are a couple of interesting factors that may be clues. This company places a premium on innovation. They have several active projects that involve collaboration and sharing expertise across disciplines and functions. And the leadership seems to give people the autonomy to create solutions without a ton of interference from the top.

Engineers are not usually an emotionally effusive group. And true, when these guys say things like, “It’s really exciting work,” they may be speaking in a fairly flat monotone. But when they describe the challenges and puzzles and the freedom they’re provided to figure them out, it’s clear they are highly engaged in what they do.

Across the course of these interviews, I’ve been reminded over and over of the most powerful source of high employee engagement. Regardless of anything a company can do to create a great work environment, offer work-life balance, rewards, recognition and even generous benefits and competitive salaries, the most important factor is the work itself. And there is nothing more engaging than loving the actual work that you do.

Interested in raising employee engagement in your company? Tribe can help.

 

Communicating your vision to employees

True success as a company comes when you can align your employees with your vision. When employees feel connected to the direction of your company, they become ambassadors. They better understand their role in the structure of the company, and the merits of large company shifts. 

Employees need a common goal. When everyone is engaged and working in the same direction, the company works smarter and better. Your vision is that goal, that direction, and it’s up to you to communicate it to employees and continue those communications as the company that evolves.

Here are four ways that Tribe recommends sharing your vision with your company:

1) A vision book to put a stake in the ground. Tribe has created vision books as large as a paperback novel and as small as a passport. The goal of such a publication is to clearly articulate the vision, often along with the values that support that vision. We recommend vision books at the launch of a major cultural transformation or immediately following a large-scale change, such as a major acquisition or a new CEO.

2) Leadership communications to make it relevant. Before employees can walk the walk, they need to hear their top management talk the talk. In town halls and presentations, in blogs and intranet articles, the vision can anchor executive announcements of change, progress, challenges and successes. When those in the C-suite can tie difficult decisions back to the vision, it helps increase employee confidence in the company and trust in its management.

3) Manager communications to relate the vision to day-to-day work. Although leadership communication is important to set the bar for the vision, employees will look to their direct managers to understand how the vision impacts their individual jobs. Sometimes managers need help in knowing how to communicate that. Tools like discussion guides, talking points and other communication materials can make it easier for them to work vision into the conversation.

4) A culture magazine to share progress toward that vision. If the vision book puts the stake in the ground, a digital or print culture magazine sustains the relevance of the vision. Keep vision top of mind with articles on teams that have achieved important milestones or individuals that have contributed in some significant way to the company’s ability to realize that vision. Employees appreciate reading about the roles coworkers are playing in achieving the vision, whether those coworkers are in positions like to their own, or in completely different functional silos

TRIBE TRIVIA: Most-Requested Intranet Feature

Q: What is the most-requested feature that employees would like to have on their intranet?

A: An employee directory, according to Tribe’s national research on employees’ preferences in internal communications. This was the top request for 81 percent of respondents, followed by 48 percent who wanted collaboration space and 32 percent desiring innovative idea sharing.

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.