What do you see when you look at your workforce? Do you see discontent and apathy, or a unified unit working together to reach a common goal? Dependent on what you see will determine the strength of your tribe.
But why should you care about tribes? Well a strong tribe can result in substantial increases in productivity and the retainment of the best people within your business.
Tribes have been formed throughout the ages to increase the survival rate within a society. This is now translated into business. A naturally occurring group within your company with shared values and ambitions can have powerful repercussions on success.
But how do you build a tribe?
This isn’t something that will happen overnight, this can take months, even years to develop.
Create a brand
It is imperative to build a brand that your employees buy into and are proud to be a part of. Beyond making profits, what is the purpose of the brand? What are the wider effects of your work? If employees feel they have an influence on a wider cause they believe in, this will help them feel part of a tribe.
Create an employee manifesto document. This will act as your bible that can cover your core values, aims, audience and tone. If this is done correctly you can live by everything in there. This is a great tool to share with prospective candidates, new hires and your current workforce, to give them a point of reference for everything they do.
When was the last time you truly acknowledged someone’s work? Appreciation can be so powerful in retaining an engaged workforce. Your employees will respond positively to reassurance and acknowledgement. Whether it be buying their lunch, or just a simple pat on the back to show they are appreciated. Make them feel like they are integral to your business.
Stay true to yourself
So, you’ve created your manifesto, you have listed your core values. Now stay true to them. Your staff need to see the real you. Your staff will run through walls for you if they feel you genuinely care for them and their progress. On a profitability note, customers will buy into a company that has a genuine brand, there have been great examples during the Covid-19 pandemic how companies have positively and negatively affected themselves with their actions and values.
A tribe needs a leader
This starts with you, but a subliminal leader may emerge within your workforce. It isn’t easy managing a team whilst juggling all the plates that come with running a business. A common theme when trying to build a tribe is standing by your values, this doesn’t change here. A workforce want consistency from you, this isn’t easy when you have stress coming from every direction! If your message to them changes on a daily basis this can confuse the tribe, and lead to a disjointed mindset within your workforce.
One of the most important factors when building your tribe is getting the right people to join. A bad hire can have catastrophic effects on the group. You need people who share similar values to the business and the tribe. This is where your employee manifesto can really help you. Ask a prospective candidate to study it before starting the interview process, then question their thoughts on it, how would they implement the values into their work? Also, involve the rest of the team in the process, even if it is just a drink after work to seek their approval.
One common mistake people make with hiring for their tribe is trying to bring people in with exactly the same interests, hobbies and personalities as the rest of the group. To help diversify the workforce you need to avoid doing this as you can limit the new ideas and opinions coming into the business.