Tried and true: Engaging non-desk employees with print material

At Tribe, we’re always looking for the best ways to engage the non-desk employee population. In some of our recent client work, we’ve been dealing with some of the most innovative and exciting ways to interact with this employee demographic that is notoriously challenging to reach. While there are plenty of awesome new technologies out there that have made the process easier, one of the oldest methods is still one of top choices: print material.

From magazines to break room posters, print is an effective and time-tested solution to relay company information to employees that don’t have a computer in front of them all day. Very often, non-desk workers don’t even have a company email address, let alone enough down time during the day to peruse the company intranet. Print pieces allow these employees to absorb the information on their own time. Posters, for example can convey refreshers of company values or announce team building events in a concise and digestible way. Company magazines can be picked up, taken home and read when employees have the time to invest in reading them.

How else can print materials help build employee engagement? Here are a few ways this timeless medium can help reach your employee population.

They make executive leaders visible – and human. In Tribe’s national research, we found that employees want to know their top management team as people rather than just titles. A regular magazine feature based on a CEO interview or even a series of profiles of everyone on the executive team can help employees feel that human connection.

They help align employees with the company vision. A magazine is an excellent venue for sharing the company vision with employees and helping them see how their individual roles contribute to that vision. This is a natural topic for articles involving executive leaders.

They provide a showcase for modeling values. Company values aren’t real to employees until they see them in action. In the magazine we developed for a hotel brand, we included three employee spotlights in each issue. This did three important things: made heroes of employees, gave real-life examples of applying the values, and shared some best practices in tackling common issues in the hotel business.

They can open windows into other silos. Magazines can help employees put faces on co-workers in other business units or locations, building the sense of being part of something larger than just their specific work groups. For a global parent company owning numerous apparel brands, we highlighted one of their brands in each issue. To counteract the feeling that the company was too U.S.-centric, we featured a different global location each quarter so employees could see behind the scenes at other offices.

They help non-desk employees feel in the loop. Although many companies have opted to reduce printing costs by distributing their magazines as digital publications via email or intranet, there are numerous companies still printing magazines and even mailing them to each employee’s home. For frontline, field, manufacturing and other employees who don’t work in front of a computer, these magazines can be their only substantial communication directly from corporate – and an important element of engaging them in the company vision and the desired customer experience.

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