What You Need to Foster Your Workplace Tribe

We all know that employee communication and engagement is important, but why?

What is it about the direct interaction between an individual employee and the organization she belongs to that makes or breaks employee productivity, satisfaction, belonging, and in effect, retention?

As we’ve learned, it’s all about the tribe. Let’s explore…

Why Are Workplace Communications so Important?

They Educate

Effective, individualized communications educate employees so they can participate in professional and personal decision-making with greater success and far less confusion. This increases productivity for both employees and HR personnel. When employees have the information they need to make effective decisions, everyone benefits.

They Build Relationships

Internal communications promote transparency, creating a culture of open, honest dialogue that helps build positive relationships between employees, management and the company at large. As we have all learned one time or another, no relationship can survive without effective communication — even a professional one.

They Build Community (the Tribe)

Employee communications build community and help employees feel like they belong to something important, satisfying and mutually beneficial.

Entrepreneur and bestselling author Seth Godin’s definition of a tribe is consistent with this concept:

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.
Seth Godin,
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Communication is one of the foundational elements of any tribe; if it fails, the tribe will crumble. Similarly, people want to be piloted by a leader who listens — someone who cultivates open channels of communication and understands the value inherent in a unified tribe. This is more important in today’s workplace than ever before.

They Foster Empowerment

Employee communications foster employee empowerment, creating an environment in which a workforce can share ideas, advocate opinions and feel heard. This is the kind of tribe every employee wants to be a part of, and a critical factor in overall employee satisfaction.

Why Focus Communication on the Individual, not “the Workforce?”

We referenced “individualized communications” earlier in this post, and this idea is very important.

Internal communications aim at reaching the maximum number of people possible, but in order for a workplace tribe to be truly successful, a communications strategy must account for the needs of each and every individual. It must provide a direct channel for the individual employee to communicate with his organization, and vice versa. Each individual must feel uniquely valued or she will not be an advocate for your company tribe.

While broadcast communications (think mass emails and office posters meant to push out information to the workforce at large) are still an important tool in your communications arsenal, they will not help build and sustain your tribe.


Communication is the cornerstone of any relationship, and as we’ve learned, every tribe.

An investment in communications, particularly those focused on the individual, is an investment in the tribe.

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