In this increasingly digital age, it’s more difficult than ever for employees to make strong ties and feel invested in their company. But it doesn’t have to be impossible.
Kim Shepherd, CEO of Decision Toolbox, has proven that the Internet can bring together even the most scattered workforce.
Shepherd and her crew run a virtual company – which relies entirely on e-mail, Skype and instant messaging to communicate with each other.
To unite the team, Shepherd created a “tribal speak,” referring to words employees use often. Problems are called “cockroaches,” as in, “We’re here to kill the cockroaches!” And when an employee makes a big sale, it’s not uncommon to see an e-mail with the words, “Just landed a huge chunky monkey!”
It’s created a language unique to the company that everyone from Shepherd to the newest employee uses in regular communications.
Employees also look forward to being the subject of a “green flag” missive – an e-mail bearing an actual green flag sign that lists a recent success or accomplishment.
On the flip side, Shepherd also instituted a “Boo-boo Applause” e-mail. Every time employees make mistakes – whether alone or in front of others – they send an e-mail detailing where they’d goofed, and what they learned from the error.
Now, Shepherd says, there’s no need for discipline – since employees readily own up to their blunders and use them as guidelines for the future.
Even if your company isn’t virtual, you can put Decision Toolbox’s creative methods to work with your own staff. Here’s how:
- Use regular e-mails as a chance to praise efforts, point out areas for improvement, and connect with staff.
- Look for your company’s own unique “glue.” Shepherd used tribal speak – how can you encourage workers to bond?