Nick Miller

Employee Engagement: Training & Development can lead to higher employee retention

Professional development programs can be a key element in employee retention. From a company perspective, training and development programs are meant to improve overall performance. But a well-designed program can do just as much for the employee. By providing employees an avenue through which to build upon their skills, it shows them the company has a vested interest in them as individuals, decreasing the likelihood that they’ll take those talents elsewhere.

The type of individual to partake in career development programs is one who welcomes more engagement. Take advantage of this desire to learn. By engaging this group in a meaningful way, they are likely to communicate these opportunities to employees that may not seek them out on their own. It’s a win-win situation for both the company and the employee base by increasing engagement levels. An engaged workforce is a happy workforce, and this too decreases the turnover rate.

Of course, it’s also important to ensure that training programs themselves are engaging. It will be hard for an employee to see the benefits of training if the material isn’t meaningful, or if the presentation is boring or poorly organized. The first step is to make the training materials and format appealing and motivating, while not coming across as cheesy or self-serving.

Communicate the “why.” Employees need to know that the time taken away from their regularly scheduled jobs is for a purpose. If they know up front what the training will entail and how it will improve their day-to-day operation or advance their career, they will be much more likely to see it as an opportunity rather than an obligation.

Bake in your corporate vision and values. The opportunity to get your brightest workers in one room with the hunger for learning doesn’t happen every day. Take advantage by reinforcing what is most important to your organization. By illustrating their role in the big picture, you are creating internal brand ambassadors, whether they know it or not. This too will increase engagement, and thus increase retention.

Structure your program to create a feedback loop. These are the leaders in your workforce, and they are a valuable source of information. Tap into this wealth by providing them a channel to express their opinions, not just on the development program, but the operations of your company. Show them that their voices are important and act on their suggestions. If they understand that their perspectives are valued, it will only benefit the organization.

Need help developing an engaging training program? Tribe can help.

Steve Baskin

Communicating Vision and Values: Give Your Employees Something to Do

Businessman opening hands

Tribe does a great deal of work communicating corporate vision and values. Quite often, the vision includes a grand statement about becoming the biggest, the best, the safest, the broadest, the fastest, the most caring company in the business. And while we’re becoming the “est”, let’s have integrity, passion and be innovative. That’s all fine. We all want to be the best at what we do and exude expected values while we’re doing it.

The problem with these broad goals and statements is that it doesn’t tell your employees what it has to do with them. If we’re communicating with employees and want them to engage in the conversation, we have to give them something to do.

Employee communications should provide instructions on what employees can do to contribute to the goal. When we talk about becoming the best in our industry, we take the ball out of employees’ hands since they can’t control what the competition is doing. When we can’t control or change the outcome with our actions, we’ll tend to ignore the communication and assume that it’s someone else’s responsibility.

Achieving broader company goals – or the company vision – doesn’t magically happen. It’s typically the result of the successful execution of internal business strategies. So when we’re communicating with employees, it’s important to be as specific as possible about what they’re supposed to do. They should be able to internalize the communication to understand how their actions should change after seeing/reading the communication.

Therefore, when we’re communicating corporate vision and values, it’s not enough to print a poster with the vision or send an email from the CEO that states the values. It’s a start, but we also have to provide context of how we’re going to achieve the vision or examples of how the values show up within the company.

Need help communicating Vision and Values inside your organization? Tribe can help.

Nick Miller

TRIBE TRIVIA: Communication and Growth

Success business concept: arrows hitting the center of Blue Email target on wall background, 3d render

Question: Does a lack of corporate communication correlate with a disconnect between employees and the company’s vision for growth?

Answer: Yes. According to Tribe’s national survey of associates of companies with more than 1,000 employees, there is a very strong correlation between how often a company sends out corporate communications and whether or not employees feel like they know the executive leadership’s vision for growth. When asked if they knew the company’s vision, only 22% of respondents said they did and that they understood the importance of their role as an element of that vision, whereas 32% did not know the vision and felt that it did not concern them.

Of those who felt they had a good idea of the company’s vision for growth and the role their own job played in that vision, 45% worked for companies that sent out corporate communications on a daily or weekly basis, whereas 13% rarely received communications. For employees who had no concept of the company’s vision, 39% could not remember the last time they received any sort of corporate communication, whereas only 6% received frequent communications.

While communications that are too frequent can render negative results, well-channeled and precise messages are a mandate for an informed and included workforce. These results demonstrate how important corporate communications can be in including employees in the company’s vision, a crucial element of success and a unified brand experience for customers.

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

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Making Your Vision and Values Actionable for Employees

iStock_000056231554_MediumIf your company has communicated its vision and values to employees, you’re way ahead of the game. Outlining what the company is trying to achieve and articulating the values intended to guide the business is a huge step.

But just because you’ve shared the words doesn’t mean you’ve finished the job. To truly create alignment between employees actions and the company vision, you need to go further.

The next step is to help employees understand how they, as individuals, can help make that vision a reality. Do they know what part they play? Do they see the connection between what they do every day and the business goals of the company? Do the values seem relevant to them?

One of the best ways to achieve this is through concrete examples. Instead of telling employees what they should do, try showing them what it looks like to live the values and support the vision.

For instance, if you have an internal magazine, incorporate several employee spotlights in each issue. Take three or four real employees and interview them about how they see their job supporting the vision, and how they put the company values to work in their day-to-day work. Include photography, so other employees get to see people like them, in roles like their own, being treated like heroes.

One benefit of this sort of communication is giving recognition. Employees who approach their work with an eye to how it contributes to the overall success of the company certainly deserve all the recognition they can get.

The other benefit, and perhaps the more important one, is modeling the desired behavior for employees throughout the company. When you let employees tell their stories, giving specific examples of times they’ve applied the values in their work, or explaining in down-to-earth terms how they see their work contributing to the vision, it helps other employees get it. It enables them to take the lofty language that is common to company visions and values and apply it to real-world situations.

That’s when the magic happens. When employees make that connection between what they do at work and something bigger than themselves, that’s when you get alignment. When you’ve got alignment between how employees are working and where the company wants to go, you improve on measures that really count. Engagement, productivity, retention, profitability and of course, the bottom line.

Interested in building your alignment? Tribe can help.

 

 

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Who determines the company values: management or employees?

This is a question we don’t hear often enough at Tribe. For most clients we’ve worked with, the assumption is that leadership will decide what the values are and then communicate them to employees.

What we prefer to do is start by talking with employees about what they feel the company stands for. As we often say, these are the people who live and breathe the brand every day, so it’s  useful to understand what they believe they represent. If they’re the face of the company, what do they think that looks like?

Often, we find an interesting consensus across a wide cross-section of employees.In our Discovery work, we include employees in various locations and business units, a range of job functions, and a mix of generations and seniority in the company.

For a manufacturing company, we had employee after employee tell us the company’s most consistent value was to “do the right thing.” In a financial services company, the golden rule came up again and again. For a company in the automotive industry, it was about providing solutions.

Values feel most relevant to employees when they’re truly indigenous to the company. Although an agency can help articulate and refine those values, it’s best not to just make them up out of thin air.

That’s not to say that leadership can’t help drive the company values. Management may choose to emphasize certain existing values that have been identified by the employees, and to downplay others. Generally, Tribe will recommend including one or two values that support the company vision, but may be aspirational at the moment. If you want to shift the culture, adding the appropriate values is a good place to start.

 

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

For Retention, Loving the Work Itself Trumps Anything Else in the EVP

The Employee Value Proposition is a logical focus of retention strategies. At Tribe, we counsel clients to include not only the basics benefits, but also what we call Shiny Hooks. These are unusual benefits that capture the imagination and improve the quality of life for employees, such as allowing dogs in the office, offering on-site childcare or providing year-long sabbaticals after so many years of service.

But there’s no substitute for employees being truly engaged in the actual work they do. All the perks in the world can’t equal the power of being excited to get to the office in the morning, eager to dive into work that matters. That’s easy for an organization working to cure cancer or end world hunger, but what about those run-of-the-mill companies just selling an everyday product or service?

That’s where the company vision comes in. Any company can engage employees in their day-to-day work when company leadership communicates a powerful vision and the important roles individual employees play in achieving that vision.

Vision is different from a business goal. Objectives like “being more profitable each quarter than the one before” or “increasing our market share” are useful messages to communicate, but they don’t have the emotional power of a vision.

An inspiring vision is not achievable in one quarter or even one year. It generally involves some human benefit, some way that the company can improve lives.

Let’s say your company manufactures mattresses. Your vision might be to help more people get a good night’s sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation is a major issue for many people, impacting their work productivity, their family relationships, even their enjoyment of daily life. Better sleep improves lives in meaningful ways.

Every person in that mattress company can then play a role in improving lives. The research and development people are coming up with better products, the marketing people are helping more people find the right mattress, the people on the manufacturing line are building better lives one pillow-top after another.

This level of engagement, however, depends on management making two things a priority: developing a clear vision and communicating that vision. Not just once or twice, but through a comprehensive communication program involving multiple channels and long-range sustaining strategies.