Brittany Walker

Work Smarter, Not Harder: How to Make Digital Signage Easier

Digital signage is a go-to internal communications channel, and there are plenty of reasons why. Whether your employees work in a corporate office, manufacturing plant or distribution center, digital signage gives companies of all sizes the ability to communicate consistently and interactively.

When it comes to engagement, thinking strategically and creatively will make all the difference, but it doesn’t have to be a drain on time or budget. Here are three tips to thoughtfully increase engagement through digital signage, while keeping it easy.

  1. Develop and execute an editorial calendar. Yes, it’s important to take advantage of the timeliness of communicating the latest news, but planning and creating content for evergreen messaging will keep your content fresh and engaging. Calendarizing your communications goals can help keep your messaging consistent throughout the year, driving home the ultimate goal of connecting employees’ day-to-day jobs to the vision of the company.
  2. Repurpose existing communications to drive home your message. We’re believers that all communications channels should work in concert to get the best possible reach. When the latest version of the newsletter is distributed, or an employee recognition announcement is sent out, tease it on the digital screens and drive employees to where they can learn more.
  3. Invest in a platform that makes communicating easier. There are now plenty of options available to make customizing digital signage more accessible than ever. Features range from tools as simple as setting the order and length of each slide, to more complex qualities like customized news to every location. For success in long-term engagement, be sure to select a provider with the winning combination of great technology and backend simplicity.

Interested in creating engaging content for digital signage? Tribe can help.

Brittany Walker

Tribe’s Take on France’s “Right to Disconnect” from Email

Will corporate culture trump the law? Earlier this week, a new law went into effect in France giving employees the legal right to unplug. The law requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when employees are not required to answer email. As we get more and more attached to our smartphones, tablets, and even our watches, the lines of business hours and expected availability will only continue to get blurrier. Below is Tribe’s take on the new regulation. Similar to non-exempt laws in the US restricting off-the-clock work for some types of employees, this law could be a launching pad for tighter restrictions across the board.

We’re curious to see if the law will actually work. It will take some time to determine significant impacts, but acceptance of these behaviors will rely heavily on individual company culture and direct manager-to-employee relationships. Instituting change in an established culture can be a daunting task, but certainly doable with the right communication and executive buy-in. It will be interesting to see if legal action accelerates these changes in behaviors.

A less stressed workforce can result in lower healthcare costs. Email overload, whether received day or night, has been reported as a significant source of workplace stress. As NPR highlighted, a group of Stanford business professors have estimated that work-related stress added between $125 and $190 billion dollars per year to America’s healthcare costs, amounting to between five and eight percent of total costs. Overwork accounted for $48 billion of that.

Decreased burnout can equate to higher engagement. With hopes of being more than just a ban on after-hours emails, the law anticipates making a real impact on work-life balance. The ability to unplug and detach from work-related responsibility could positively impact morale, engagement and productivity. Time will tell if other countries will join the movement, or if France will remain a lone trailblazer.

Interested in improving your culture’s work-life balance? Tribe can help.

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.

Keys for a successful Content Manager program

Between your company’s intranet, ESN, blog, Twitter, Facebook and website, a lot of content needs to be generated. Your company has a lot to say, and it’s smart to take advantage of the wealth of channels out there to communicate with employees and consumers alike. But gone are the days where duplicate content was an acceptable route. In fact, duplicate content can really damage your SEO. Today, each page, each feed needs to be unique to reap the benefits of these channels and the exposure and communication that comes with them.

You could hire someone full-time or get a contractor to help generate content. But unless you have the budget to get someone good and dedicated enough to learning your company’s voice, history and vision, your content will feel flimsy and the messaging will be diluted. If employees don’t care about the content and people can’t invest themselves in the message, it’s just white noise.

A lot of Tribe’s clients have been charging employees with creating content. This is a fantastic solution. This way, you get unique perspectives of your company from multiple employees; you break down silos by sharing an insider’s view from other departments; you create opportunities for employees to connect, and above all else you’re giving employees the chance to promote work initiatives that they’re proud of.

That also means you need someone to manage that content. If your employees are helping you create content, you need someone else to corral it all, get it in the correct format and into the proper channel. For most companies, communications aren’t frequent enough to be a full time job. With the right training, any employee can become a successful content manager.

Here are four tips from the Tribe vault to create your company’s content manager network:

1) Recruit the right team. A successful content manager is often a more junior employee eager to prove themselves. Energy level is more important than experience.

2) Train the team. Content managers will need some education on where to find news, how to connect with newsmakers and what makes information newsworthy, as well as how to write an attention-grabbing headline and the classic journalistic inverted pyramid.

3) Build the team. In-person meetings or regular conference calls can help content managers feel part of a team rather than isolated, build accountability to the company and to each other and leverage the power of friendly competition.

4) Have them play inside the fence. This is about content, not clip art. You’ll need to limit the creative freedom available to this group in order to maintain the intranet’s branding and professionalism. Established web parts and clear branded templates for design and layout help nix the urges of amateur art directors.

Need more help? Give Tribe a call. We have a lot of experience creating these programs, and we would love to help you find a solution.

Start communicating efficiently with Pie

Do employees at your company complain about too much internal email? A new app called Pie could help reduce that email traffic.

Pie is a growing enterprise chat app that allows employees to chat in groups or in one-on-one chats. You can also send pictures and other visual content that can be easily viewed and referenced at a later time with Pie’s search function. It seamlessly integrates with existing technologies like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and iCloud Drive so there is less time spent adapting to a specific software’s format.

Simply-Communicate recently published an article about Havas Creative Group’s implementation of Pie. After just a few months it has had an impact, in terms of employee communication. One employee stated, “It has already replaced an enormous amount of unnecessary emails between our teams. Everything happens much faster and in a more efficient way. Plus, all our knowledge stays safely stored.”

In HCG’s case this app played a big part in improving collaboration and brainstorming efforts with employees in different geographic locations. For example, say employees in Singapore need to give feedback on an upcoming pitch with their colleagues in Bangkok and Jakarta. Pie helps bridge that geographic gap so that all necessary employees can easily join in and add to the conversation.

This is just one organization’s story though. Maybe your IT department has been having trouble staying on the same page. They can set up their own IT Pie chat group so that employees in other departments aren’t bogged down by communications that are irrelevant to them. This makes communication more efficient and less spammy which in turn can save your company time and money.

Pie is quickly evolving. Currently they offer their service for free but have reported even more powerful paid features are coming soon. Thinking implementing or revamping the way your employees communicate? Tribe can help.

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

Four productivity-increasing ways to take a break

Everyone is busy. But if your organization has stepped into a routine of being too busy to break, you could potentially break your attempt at increasing productivity. Taking short breaks regularly throughout the workday not only helps employees to feel more focused, but can also decrease stress, improve engagement and ultimately increase productivity. Here are four productive ways to take a break:

1. Engage in a few minutes of light exercise. Whether it’s taking a five-minute walk around the office or standing up and doing a couple sets of 30-second calf raises, when employees get their blood pumping, it can instantly increase energy and attentiveness.

2. Rest your mind with meditation. One of the most powerful ways to relax in a short amount of time is through meditation. Meditating is known to lower stress levels and improve overall health as well as creativity. Even just five minutes of tranquility a day could give employees the peace of mind they crave.

3. Prepare and enjoy an undistracted healthy snack. Breaking from work while eating seems like a no-brainer, but undistracted eating can commonly take a back seat to a busy day. Encourage employees to head to the break room or café to eat. Concentrating on food (instead of work) while eating will benefit both body and mind.

4. Engage is some friendly competition. Here at Tribe, we love to retreat to our newly established game room for a quick break. We’ve found that rewarding completed tasks with a game of basketball or putt putt is a great motivator. Incorporating games with a little competition or teamwork is also a great way to encourage collaboration and team building. Check out Tribe’s game room in action here.

Finding productivity through taking breaks is all about balance. If employees think they’ll be reprimanding for “not working,” they’re less likely to take the breaks they need. It all starts with creating a culture conducive to breaking.

Need help communicating the importance of balance? Tribe would love to 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 seamless 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

Three easy ways to increase visibility across silos

Breaking down silos is a hot topic right now, and with good reason. Reducing silos within companies can have numerous perks including increasing efficiencies, collaboration and innovation, to name a few. Beyond business improvements, the simple benefit of human connection among employees can go a long way in improving employee engagement as a whole. The game of silos can be a tough one to tackle, but certainly not an impossible feat. Here are three simple steps to take towards breaking down silos.

  1. Provide insight on the work being done in other silos. Through our recent national study with employees of large companies, we’ve found that employees want a way to see into silos. If employees aren’t aware of the great work being done by their peers outside of their department/location/business unit, its much more confortable to remain in their bubbles. One Tribe-recommended method for showcasing work across silos is through an internal employee magazine. As a great source for showcasing peer work and employee spotlights, internal magazines are a great tool for building connections across silos.
  1. Give employees the tools they need to identify the right collaboration partners. Through our research we also found that respondents said it’s not easy getting past the first step of figuring out who to contact as potential collaborative partners. Providing a means for determining the thought leaders and experts are in different divisions, locations and job functions are could be the fundamental first step needed for collaboration.
  1. Make access to their contact info simple and reliable. The resolution to this issue can be as simple as an easy-to-access employee directory.As found in another Tribe study “Employee Preferences in Internal Communications,” 81 percent of respondents selected an employee directory as one of the features they would like to see in a company intranet. Without the deterrent of searching for contact information, visibility across silos can become a little clearer.

Need help breaking down silos or want to learn more about our recent employee silo research? We would love to help. Contact Tribe here.