by | Jun 11, 2019

During my annual checkup, one of the fun things the nurse does is hook me up to a bunch of electrodes to check to how well my heart is working and how blood is circulating around my body. The report shows the main pulse. But what’s really important is making sure that circulation is happening all the way out to the arms, legs, fingers and toes. Like most things in life, this makes me think of internal communications.

With the body, there are signs when the circulation isn’t happening effectively all the way out to the fingers and toes. You feel a numbness. A tingling. A general feeling that something isn’t quite right.

With internal communications, it’s very similar. One can sense when things aren’t clicking the way they should be. But it’s easy to brush that feeling off. Communications are good at headquarters. Everybody in the hallways seems to get it. Therefore, it must be the same all over the company.

When Tribe does communications audits for our clients, one of the things that we’re checking on is to make sure that communications are getting all the way out to the figurative fingers and toes. Generally, the main pulse – at headquarters – is very strong. Communications are good. The vision is understood. People are pretty clear about what’s going on. But as we talk to folks in outlying offices – and around the world – the pulse often loses some of its strength.

The problem with this kind of weak circulation at the corporate extremities is that employees quickly replace the narrative of leadership communications with assumptions and rumors. The bigwigs at HQ don’t care about us. They’re outsourcing our jobs. All this change is nothing more than throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. They don’t value my contributions. I don’t know how what I’m doing contributes to success of the company. And like fingers and toes, if the circulation is poor, you risk losing them.

In almost every company Tribe works with, employees at headquarters make up a small percent of the total population. Importantly, those extremities – regional offices, retail stores, factories, remote workers – are very often the frontline employees who are either making the product or interfacing with the customers. And because they tend to be untethered from computers and desks, communicating consistently is trickier.

Communicating effectively with front line and remote employees requires a few things. Understanding their channel preferences for communications. Understanding the physical reality of their environment. And understanding the gap – if one exists – between what leadership wants and their current mindset.

Want some help figuring out how to communicate with remote offices and non-desk employees? Tribe can help.

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