TRIBE TRIVIA: Reimbursing employees for using their personal mobile devices

Question: When employees send internal communications to employees’ personal phones, do they somehow pay for that usage?

Answer: In Tribe’s global research with companies using mobile for internal communications, only 10 percent said they provide financial compensation for the use of employees’ personal phones. Most, at 78 percent, simply offer mobile as an option for receiving company communications.

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.

TRIBE TRIVIA: Texting employees for internal communications

Question: How many companies text their employees?

Answer: Of the companies using employees’ personal mobile devices for internal communications, 56 percent of them are sending texts, according to Tribe’s global research.

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.

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: Using personal mobile devices for employee communications

Question: Are employees open to having their companies send internal communications to their personals smartphones?

Answer: Only 6 percent of companies who queried their workforce about the possibility of sending internal communications to employees’ personal mobile devices said their employees were “vehemently opposed to it,” in Tribe’s global research. In contrast, about 14 percent said their employees were “overwhelmingly open to it.” About 42 percent of the companies said they received a mixed response, and 38 percent said employees were open to the possibility, as long as they were able to opt in and out of the communications they wanted to receive.

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.

Boosting attendance for the leadership’s all-company conference calls

I told this woman I was going to steal her idea — and now I’d like to share it with you. I spoke last week to Atlanta’s IABC on the topic of the Horizontal Silos: How to Bridge the Disconnect Between the C-Suite and the Rest of the Company. During the Q&A that followed, she stood up and offered this suggestion, which I think ranks right up there in the category of best practices.

The company she worked for was struggling through an acquisition with the customary discomforts associated with combining two cultures. To help unite the combined workforce and engage employees in the vision moving forward, the CEO gave regular conference calls to which employees of both legacy companies were invited.

Engagement in (and attendence of) these calls soared when the CEO began ending each call with a joke. Apparently, the first time the joke was his own.

Then employees starting suggesting jokes for him. Each week, people from both former companies would hang on until the end of the conference call, just to hear the joke.

If I have the story right, he would identify the contributor and their legacy company. That would give employees from both camps an opportunity to relate to each other as humans, and to feel a connection that was a little more personal, and more fun, than just work.

Then the communications department made the competition more interesting by awarding restaurant gift cards for the best jokes. That drove even more participation, of course.

Pretty brilliant. And the best part is that it happened organically at first, as one of the first collaborative efforts of the post-acquisition combined workforces.

Want more internal communications ideas? Tribe can help.



4 tips to make Podcasts your employees can actually use

Tribe has always been a big proponent of Podcasts. And they’ve never been been a more effective communication tool. We covered the benefits of having a conversational tone with employees, and how Podcasts can help you make that connection and deliver pertinent information to large employee populations in a way that is easy and accessible. But simply having a Podcast does not equal more engagement. It’s a communication channel that needs to be used effectively in order to get results.

Here are a few tips to make your Podcast top notch:

1) Know your audience’s interests. What do your employees want to know about? It might help to send out a survey with possible topics, so you can see what people want to hear and create an editorial calendar. This can also act as an awareness campaign, and employees will feel more attached to the project if they feel they have had input. Above all, this is an employee resource. They don’t want to hear an executive pontificate in corporate platitudes. They want to hear about specific issues, the direction of the company and things that matter to them personally.

2) Have a plan. This tip is two-fold. First, have a subject itinerary for each show, so you don’t have “dead air”, inconsistent timing, or someone searching for what to say (umm, uhhh) on your recording. You can edit the content in post production, but if you have to go in and cut a lot, it can be time consuming. Outline what topics you want to cover and make it solid.

Second, have a plan for when you want to release the Podcast. One of the reasons the top Podcasts are so popular is because they put shows out regularly, usually on the same day every week, bi-weekly or monthly. The audience knows when a new one is coming out and will check back on their own volition. It’s helpful for you too to develop a rhythm to have that push to continue making content. But you also need to be prepared to stick to your plan if you make one.

3) Let the authority speak. It might be good to have a “host” for the company Podcast, someone who does it regularly and becomes a familiar voice, but it’s crucial for engagement for employees to hear the information straight from the horse’s mouth. If there is a financial Podcast, try and have the CFO speak about it; if it’s a marketing theme, have the CMO. You get the idea. This channel allows employees unique insight into the subjects that you cover, and having someone they don’t normally converse with speaking on such an intimate platform will make it seem like more of an insider’s view. The information will be more pertinent and valuable to employees.

4) Make it listenable. A good quality recording can make all the difference in how the Podcast is perceived and received. Loud background noises, hums, pops and breathing all detract from the content. They’re distracting, even on a subconscious level. Invest in a nice microphone, a pop filter and maybe even a shock mount to make your recordings sound as nice as possible. As we outlined in the aforementioned blog, a few companies are making USB microphones specifically for Podcasters and this would be a good, inexpensive way for you to make your recording sound as professional as possible.

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.

Two great reasons to use podcasts for internal communications

In the new-uses-for-something-old department, may I suggest podcasts for internal communications? I remember talking about the potential for podcasts with a client back in 2003 or so. At the time, podcasts seemed very cool. Although my interest in them lasted about five minutes and then I promptly forgot about them.

Podcasts have been steadily gaining listeners ever since. According to the Pew Research Center, a third of Americans have listened to at least one podcast. And 15 percent of Americans have listened to one in the past month. The surge in podcast popularity was helped along by the huge fan base of Serial, the podcast that narrated the reinvestigation of a 1999 murder. Also, by the prevalence of smartphones. One of the big commercial podcast hosting companies reported to Pew that 63 percent of their 2.6 billion downloads in 2014 were requested from a mobile device.

There are two reasons I think podcasts could be powerful for internal communications. The first is that it gives us a way to connect with one of the most difficult-to-reach employee segments: those without dedicated computers at work. In Tribe’s experience, those non-desk workers are more likely to own a smartphone than a home computer. If we can create compelling podcast content that employees will actually download, that could be huge.

The second reason is that it can be a great channel for leadership communications. Many top executives are absolutely fantastic in front of a crowd but get uncomfortably awkward on video. With podcasts, there are no lights, no cameras and no one fussing around trying to talk the CEO into “just a little powder.” Bad hair days go unnoticed on podcasts. The production can be as easy as sitting in front of a computer talking into a decent microphone.

Podcasts can help employees feel the human connection they crave with their top managment. First, think about reading a CEO blog that’s clearly ghostwritten and has had every breath of life beaten out of it through a lengthy review process. Now imagine hearing that CEO talking directly into your ear — about the vision he or she has for the company, or a new product roll out, or even the reasons behind a major change inititiative. It’s authentic, it’s personal, and at its best, unscripted.

Interested in using podcasts for your internal communications? Tribe can help.

Note: If you’re interested in podcasts, that will be one channel addressed in my presentation for IABC Atlanta titled “The Horizontal Silo: How to bridge the disconnect between the C-suite and the rest of the company.” Find details here for the lunch meeting, which is tomorrow, October 27.