bee school Q&A

Bee School Session 2: “National Culture” Q&A

On Tuesday we hosted the second session of our new educational series, Bee School. Thank you to those of you who joined or plan on joining us in the upcoming weeks!

The topic of this week’s lecture was “National Culture” where Dr. Linda Herkenhoff discussed why understanding national culture is so important and how ignoring it can negatively impact your bottom line. As a manager, recognizing cultural differences can help you redesign motivation systems for a more satisfying and productive work environment. She also described the power of taking the qualitative concept of culture and building it out as a more quantitative variable. Something tangible that can be measured and used in the workplace.

Some of you had some questions for Dr. Herkenhoff and you can read her responses below. Your questions are not only helpful for us so we can get to know your needs and challenges better, they also enrich the learning process for everyone in the program. So keep them coming!

Hopefully these answers help you apply these theories to your own team.

Q&A with the Professor

1. How can you apply this knowledge to the differences in national cultures when communicating about benefits?

No matter where your company is located, paying your employees fair wages and benefit packages is always in style. I would recommend speaking with similar companies to yours to get a better understanding of salary ranges and benefits offered in your city or region as a benchmark to work form. Then you can consider cultural values to determine if your employees place a higher value on things like time off versus larger bonuses or higher pay.


In a global organization, creating a pay and benefit structure that motivates all nationalities can be difficult. Since I’ve been working with Beekeeper, let’s use them as an example. Their employee base includes people from 22 countries and one of their core values is Bee Open which allows employees to give and receive feedback in a constructive manner.  When there are major changes that happen within the company,  employees care enough to give honest and direct feedback on the initiatives rolled out. This feedback is discussed within the executive meeting and action is quickly taken.

There are so many types of benefits to consider that extend beyond the standard ones we think of. For example, some cultures have dietary restrictions so benefits can even be in the form of providing free snacks that are aligned with their values. Many cultures place a high value on continuing education so you can provide internal workshops where everyone is invited to share knowledge and aid in professional development. Assess the varying national cultures and find out what benefits are important and survey your team to craft and communicate the best benefits plan.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s lecture, “Professional Culture,” to learn the importance of a professional culture and what steps you can take to ensure yours is sustainable.

First time hearing about Bee School? It’s not too late to sign up! Reserve your spot below for this free educational series and we can email you the sessions you missed.
seaboard foods

Seaboard Foods Wins PRISM Award for Employee Communication App

Seaboard Foods was recently awarded two PRISM Awards from the Public Relations Society of America of Greater Kansas City for their employee communication app. They won the “Smartphone Apps” and “Infographic” categories showing the lifecycle of pork production.

Seaboard Foods is one of America’s top ten pork producers and processors and a Beekeeper customer. Their 5,000+ employees are spread over six states, including more than 500 pig farms, a pork processing plant, two biodiesel plants, feed mills, and a full logistics infrastructure consisting of 170 heavy-duty trucks and 400 light-duty vehicles.

At Beekeeper, we focus on connecting people through technology and the success of our customers mean everything. We are very proud of how our clients use Beekeeper to make everyone feel like an equal part of their organizations. So, we are always thrilled when they are recognized for their hard work and accomplishments for creating a better workplace!

About SBF Connect

With more than 5,000 employees dispersed in hundreds of locations, Seaboard Foods’ human resources and communications departments sought a way to communicate with employees and share information throughout the connected food system.

SBF Connect, powered by Beekeeper, received accolades for the way it assists in two-way communication between employees, managers, corporate communications, and executive leadership. It also received recognition for the way the mobile app helps employees feel connected to what they do, fostering a more productive and informed workforce.

“Employee engagement numbers made this a strong entry,” says one of the 2017 PRISM Awards judges. “Great write-up and analysis of the campaign, really enjoyed reading it.”

With SBF Connect, employees get notifications, can easily access information, and ask questions on their smartphone, anywhere at any time. Since the app’s implementation, employees have shared and learned about business and HR information, safety tips, weather updates, and use it for employee recognition.

“Content is great on SBF Connect. I love reading it and knowing what else is going on in the company,” said one employee in a recent communications survey requesting feedback to improve SBF Connect.

Huge congratulations to the entire Seaboard Foods staff for winning these awards! The organization’s commitment to building such a strong, transparent workplace and listening to employees’ and customers’ needs is truly inspirational.

To learn more about how Beekeeper transformed Seaboard Foods’ employee communication, download the case study.

6 Ways to Give Thanks to Your Hotel Employees

6 Ways to Give Thanks to Your Hotel Employees

As the holidays loom near, most of the workforce is preparing for a well-deserved break from the workplace. For hotel employees, though, even holidays don’t guarantee a day off. What can employers do to ease the pain of the holiday work schedule? Recognizing hard-working employees goes a long way in ensuring continued productivity.

Here are six ways to give thanks to your hotel employees this holiday season.

1. Create a Thank You Wall

Whether you have limited space behind-the-scenes or you have a whole wall to dedicate to thanking employees, a “thank you wall” is an inexpensive way to show them how much they matter. Print photos of each employee or create name tags and write down a positive quality for each person.

Better yet, invite employees to write thank you notes to one another, highlighting each person’s abilities and unique contributions to the team. Be sure to include comments from team leaders, supervisors, and as many higher-up staff as possible.

One study showed that “managers focusing on employee strengths are 30 times more likely to manage actively engaged workers compared with managers denying feedback.” Giving employees positive feedback feeds the cycle of engaged and productive workers.

2. Post on Internal Communications Platforms

If an in-person thank you isn’t feasible, consider using your organization’s internal communications platform to send tailored messages. This may be as simple as typing up a quick note to each employee, acknowledging their contributions to their respective departments over the past year.

Alternatively, create a group discussion calling out each person for his or her talents. This is a positive way to build up your team using only digital resources. It also doesn’t require that you take time away from employees’ regular duties during the holiday rush, so they can check messages and join in when time permits.

3. Automate a Personalized Campaign

Today’s version of the greeting card arrives digitally, and with your organization’s communication platform it’s easy to send a personalized campaign to each employee. Keep it simple with a holiday greeting, or add a reward within the body of the message.

A digital gift card or online credit sweetens the message of any online greeting, but the greeting could also include an invitation to an employee party or announce a holiday giveaway or other perk. Should you choose to give out gift cards, maintaining the same denomination for all employees helps avoid perceived favoritism.

4. Plan a Potluck (or Order In)

While the holidays are a busy time for all hospitality staff, making sure that employees receive their breaks and have a holiday meal helps express your thanks for their hard work. Announce a potluck-style meal for the holidays or order in with catering or delivery to take the pressure off of hotel employees.

This is especially thoughtful when employees are away from their families for a holiday, or if the timing of their shift doesn’t allow for an early or late meal at home. If your property includes banquet or restaurant facilities, consider setting aside time for employees to utilize the space for their meals.

5. Offer Holiday Pay or PTO

Many businesses offer holiday pay when employee shifts fall on national holidays. If your facility doesn’t already offer this perk, consider adding it for designated holidays. Or, offer incentives to employees who volunteer to work rather than assigning regularly scheduled employees their same schedules.

Giving all employees a set number of PTO hours is an altruistic way to approach holiday perks since they’re free to use the time during any part of the year.

6. Make Time for Chitchat

According to a study from the University of Warwick, when employees are happy, they become roughly 12% more productive. But what makes employees happy? The only way to get to know your employees is to spend time talking with them, or working alongside them if the opportunity presents itself.

Getting to know your team shows them you have an interest in not only their performance, but their interests and concerns as well. Make time during your regular workday or during the holiday rush if time permits. Often, supervisors and managers need to help out during busy periods, so this is an ideal time to converse with employees.

Encourage hotel employees to make suggestions for improvements in their departments. Service staff in customer-facing departments know better than anyone else what works and what doesn’t. This is one reason why recognizing their contributions makes for a more positive and engaging work environment.

To give thanks to your hotel employees, why not try an employee engagement and internal communications app that caters to the hospitality industry? Fill out the form below for a free demo with an app expert.
The Honor Foundation

How The Honor Foundation Lowered My Golf Score and Assisted this SOF Veteran

The Honor Foundation (THF) is a unique transition institute created exclusively for Navy SEALs and the U.S. Special Operations community. They’re dedicated to preparing these outstanding men and women to continue to realize their maximum potential during and after their service career. As part of their efforts to ease the transition into civilian positions in the workforce, they do a tour of small, midsize, and large companies to expose members to different career opportunities.

THF Meets the Beekeeper Team

This year we invited 35 of these Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel to take a tour of Beekeeper. At first we were excited to teach them about our product, company, how we operate, and open positions, but we quickly realized that we were the ones that had so much to learn from this esteemed group.

They’re not only highly skilled in combat, they are also brilliantly business savvy and know how to run successful teams like clockwork. From engineers, to data scientists, to marketing professionals, to entrepreneurs—their backgrounds cover it all. During our presentation, each member asked insightful questions and gave valuable feedback. Needless to say, we were incredibly impressed by everyone and humbled by the experience. Not to mention they are just a fun group to get to know on a personal level!

Beekeeper and the honor foundation

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we want to share a story directly from Dan Hathorn, one of the incredible people we met that day. He shares his honest journey about finding his way into civilian life after exiting the military. We’re so grateful he shared his story with us and is willing to share with all of you, as it’s a unique perspective most of us don’t get to see.

Transitioning Into Civilian Life

I’ll never forget that time. I was lying in a hospital bed pondering my next life choices when I came face to face with an unexpected transition. I was injured while on deployment overseas, and the extent of my injuries left me wondering if I would be re-writing most of my activities of daily living, let alone staying in the military until the desired retirement date of 20 years.

I clawed, scraped, and fought my way back to active duty, sticking around for another four years before I was medically retired. After my departure from the military, I wasn’t unhappy with myself. I was unsure, unprepared, and woefully ignorant of exactly how much I didn’t know about life outside of Special Operations.

Dan Hathorn

I landed a comfortable job with a local area sports store, managing a small business before leaving abruptly due to feelings of low self-worth and lack of purpose. I didn’t stick around lamenting for too long before I landed a job within a four-star veterans non-profit dedicated to assisting wounded, ill, or injured service members reintegrate back into society—with structured programs taking all branches of service members from the hospital bed, to living on their own, or with their families.

It wasn’t long before I left that organization as well, still feeling a substantial lack of purpose in my life, and overall comfort that people wanted me for what I brought to the table, not some “quick fix” veterans hire to boost a statistic on a bottom line somewhere. I was adrift in a sea of melancholy. I didn’t feel at home. I knew I had skills that were in demand, but lacked the ability to articulate those skills clearly, cleanly, and in a manner that resonated with my personality.

A quick Internet search will reveal a plethora of military transition services all catering to the service member’s desire to reintegrate into society. I reached out to some of these services and found a lot of the same things, resume writers, tutorials and quick classes, and people interested in “teaching” many of us veterans’ necessary skills needed to find the success that we may or may not have known within the military. I used a couple of these organizations with almost zero results. I paid $700 for a resume that, when complete, was touted as a 98% success at landing me a job. I used it a handful of times with no success.

One day while browsing around on LinkedIn for various opportunities and connections I noticed a friend had loaded a new picture of himself into his profile. I clicked over and started to read his very professional and well-written profile. Imagine my surprise, after asking him; when I found out he’d done it himself!

He told me about The Honor Foundation (THF), their fellowship program, and their desire to take Special Operations Forces (SOF) through an MBA-level training curriculum designed by some of the best minds and professionals in the education industry. How were they different? What separates them from the crowd, besides clientele? At the end of the day the results should speak for themselves, right? I submitted an application and was granted a face-to-face interview to gauge my level of commitment and accountability to the terms of the fellowship. I was captivated with what I found on the inside.

SOF personnel, like golf, spend a lot of time learning to crawl first, then walk, and then run. All of the high-speed stuff you read about in the news didn’t happen instantly. These individuals, like myself, were groomed over weeks and months of training. Repetition in one area meant success in another.

Dan Hathorn

Post retirement, I found myself feeling like a Formula 1 race car driver on a track filled with wind-up toys. I had a skilled, honed mind, ready to tackle diverse problems, in any environment and succeed no matter what. I was floundering around trying not to run into everyone while leaving a path of destruction in my wake for lack of societal, and cultural understanding. The Honor Foundation took that ability to learn in any environment, at any pace, and challenged us fellows with the task of going back through training again.

Having spent the better portion of our lives learning the slow backswing of SOF practices, we were now the pros at the long accurate drives that generated huge success for our countries various initiatives. While those skills can certainly translate into the private sector, we needed to hit the range again and start taking lessons. This forum was an entirely new game.

From having classes on challenging communications, learning how to present in 30 seconds or less, writing drills, business simulations, and a hefty reading list, this Fellowship was certainly not for the weak of heart. For the transitioning SOF individual, this course represents the spirit of Special Operations personnel. We all know how to train for the win, but we’ve all also been granted the autonomy to create that success on our own, within the overarching structure of Special Operations.

What happens when you leave the military? Your transition is now handed over to someone who “knows” resumes and you rely on them to tell your story. This is akin to buying a golf lesson and then watching the instructor hit accurate drives wearing a mask with your likeness. It’s not authentic. It’s not you. The name of the game for The Honor Foundation, in my opinion, is authenticity, and credibility. The game of golf can be a quick game when the foundation for success is there. Without this foundation you find yourself striking inaccurately and inefficiently and without purpose.

As I approach the graduation of The Honor Foundation Group 10 cohort in Virginia Beach, I sit back and reflect on where I was, and where I am now. I arrived as a man, devoid of purpose, unsure of himself, and not entirely certain where I fit into this new life I was staring down. I now stride confidently and with a clear purpose on my direction.

They say, “A rising tide lifts all boats” right? If SOF individuals are in such high demand, then all industry executives should be standing by patiently waiting for each cohort to graduate. This SOF finishing school provides a C-suite level workforce that only deepens the value of all veterans, SOF and conventional forces alike.

To learn more about The Honor Foundation or thank these veterans for their service, contact them at
Bee School Session 1: “Motivation at Work” Q&A

Bee School Session 1: “Motivation at Work” Q&A

On Tuesday we held the first session of our new educational series, Bee School. And, because of you, it was a success! We had a great turnout, so thank you to all of those who joined and we hope to see you in the next five sessions.

The topic of this week’s discussion was “Motivation at Work” where Dr. Linda Herkenhoff discussed the true definition of motivation, the three groups of theories associated with it, details and examples, and how to apply these theories globally.

Some of you had some questions for Dr. Herkenhoff and you know we would never leave you hanging! Many of you had similar questions which was encouraging to see lots of managers face the same challenges, but are eager to find innovative ways to motivate their teams. Hopefully these answers will help guide you on your quest for engagement and alignment.

Q&A with the Professor

1. As I’m from the Information Technology domain, it would be interesting to know how different domains are using motivation frameworks to keep their knowledge workers engaged and excited.

People are people—these frameworks can be used for knowledge and non-desk workers alike. The core principles of engagement and motivation are great communication on all levels. Following Theory Y, we can assume that knowledge workers fall into a different level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Where a non-desk worker might have their Safety and Security needs met before reaching a level of engagement, a knowledge worker will need help reaching self-actualization.

A good question to ask your team is what their vision for themselves is in the next five years. Whether or not that vision has a path within your company, help give them the tools they need to grow within their existing position and beyond.

Any good manager will tell you that it is a proud moment when the people working for them grow out of their positions and progress within their careers. You can create a tremendous amount of goodwill within your team if you are helping them achieve their life goals or self-actualization. For the organization, it is always best to have your employees operating at the highest level of Maslow’s pyramid.

If we consider your question from the Hygiene Theory perspective, the principles are universal. You need to make sure your hygiene factors are always in check. This is always a good baseline to work from. As a refresher, here they are:

Hygiene Factors

1. Company policy & administration
2. Supervision
3. Interpersonal relations
4. Working conditions
5. Salary
6. Status
7. Security

Once you have a good foundation in place, you can focus on the motivation factors. We usually see that after the first year of employment, growth and advancement become more important to pay attention to. (In the first year, there is much to be done while mastering a position.)

While advancement and growth aren’t options, make sure you are recognizing individual contributions and team wins. Communicating these to the team, in addition to your 1:1 praise, will go a long way to show appreciation. It will also shape your team’s expectation of rewarded behavior and make them strive for their own recognition. As a refresher, here are the motivation factors:

Motivation Factors

1. Achievement recognition
2. Work itself
3. Responsibility
4. Advancement
5. Growth
6. Salary

2. I’m going to take over a team that currently finds itself in a reorganization process. It would be great to learn some skills, how to approach them as their new boss, and how to keep their motivation high.

Uncertainty breeds fear. If we take a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, engagement can only happen after the first few levels are satisfied.

To get your team to a place of engagement and motivation, I would recommend approaching your team with open communication and transparency. Schedule a series of 1:1 meetings with each of your new reports to get to know them. Listen to their concerns and get to know the lay of the land. Then show them you’ve listened through your actions. Lay out your vision in a clear and transparent way that is shared with everyone in 1:1 meetings and again in a team session.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s lecture, “National Culture,” where you’ll gain the knowledge and tools for working with varied cultures around the world.

First time hearing about Bee School? It’s not too late to sign up! Reserve your spot below for this free educational series and we can email you the sessions you missed.
beeekeeper product release notes november 2017

Beekeeper Product Release Notes November 2017

We’ve made some big changes since the last product release updates! Here’s what you can start using this month and some you can look forward to in upcoming months.

Release Highlights

    • Android navigation redesign (Android) – This week we released a new interface for the Android version of the Beekeeper app. The stream, chats, and notification tabs moved to the bottom of the screen. The app menu, also known as the “More” tab, is also at the bottom of the screen (similar to the iOS app) and the stream switcher is now at the top left. Click here for more details about the new Android interface and why we made these changes.
    • New android interface

    • Navigation extensions interface (Dashboard) – To streamline access to Navigation Extensions, we’ve finished the interface that enables you to create and edit extensions from your Dashboard. To access the Navigation Extensions interface, look under the “Extensions” tab in the Dashboard.
    • Navigation extension UI

    • Start a new campaign or survey by cloning an existing one – To help you save time reaching your colleagues, this new feature allows you to clone existing surveys and campaigns from the Dashboard. You can easily make modifications to fit the context of your next communications.
    • clone survey

    • Dashboard in German and English (Dashboard) – To serve our growing base of international system administrators, this month we implemented the necessary changes to translate our Dashboard in multiple languages. We currently support English and German. More languages will be added according to demand.
    • Database encryption in all data centers (Hosting Infrastructure) – All our data centers are now running fully encrypted databases. This completes the encryption of our system and is a step towards the privacy and legal requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Everything Else

    • Message Receipts (web, Android, API) – The team has built the API and Android and web app components of our upcoming Message Receipts feature. We are still working on the iOS components, so look out for the feature release in January!
    • To accommodate our expanding user base, we’ve translated the web and mobile apps in Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish, and Romanian.
    • The app now warns users about unsaved content when navigating away from the compose box in Streams.
    • User’s “last seen” time, which is the last time they used Beekeeper, is now available in the profile view on the web and iOS apps. It will be on Android soon.
    • To open chat details, you can simply click a group chat’s avatar (Android).
    • Link previews in chats show two lines of text instead of one (Android).
    • When an image is loading, a placeholder appears instead of just a gray background (Android).

    The Beekeeper product team is always fine-tuning the platform to create a better experience for our customers. Hopefully these will make your app experience more enjoyable and you saw some features coming up that you requested!

    For more information about Beekeeper and specific features, check out our Help Center or contact us. Or let us know what features you would like enhanced or added in future releases!
bee school is in session

Bee School is in Session!

Today marks the launch our first educational series, Bee School, designed to help managers lead their teams and operate successful companies. This initiative is our spin on business school, taught by renowned MBA professor and senior management expert, Dr. Linda Herkenhoff.

Although classes start today, it’s not too late to enroll for free. If you missed today’s session you can still sign up and we will email you the recording. This is your chance to receive a postgraduate education without the cost!

Our mission to pave the future of work for non-desk workers and those who manage them is at the core of why we started Bee School. Over the span of six weeks, course participants will gain valuable insights on how to keep employees motivated and engaged at work, as well as how to build and navigate inclusive work cultures.

See the full details, including the schedule and curriculum.

Are you ready to take the next step in becoming a proactive, organized, and motivational leader? Reserve your spot below for this free educational series.
Beekeeper "Future of the Non-Desk Workforce" Panel Featured in Huffington Post

Beekeeper “Future of the Non-Desk Workforce” Panel Featured in Huffington Post

On October 10th we hosted a “Future of the Non-Desk Workforce” panel discussion to accompany our big announcement of the Beekeeper Marketplace and custom integrations. The three panelists included two Beekeeper customers, Jennifer Pappas, Internal Communications Manager at Wireless Vision and Anja Luthje, Group Director of Rooms and Quality at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and experience design expert Sarah Deane at EffectUX.

marketplace panelists

From big data to organizational culture, these industry leaders shared their insights on where they see the future of non-desk workers in the next five years and what they are doing now to arm their employees with tools that will help their business maintain a competitive edge as we move into a new era. They discussed the real value of big data, AI, cybersecurity, nextgen internal communications, and the operational impact of the digital workplace.

Following the event, Sarah Deane expanded on key topics from the panel discussion in an article for the Huffington Post called “Culture, A.I., and the Non-Desk Workforce.”

About the Author

As the Founder of EffectUX, Sarah Deane is a thought leader in the space of Experience, having written a UX primer and how-to in 2014, presented at SXSW on the topic of Workplace Experience: UX, Technology, and Humans, as well as frequently writing on the Huffington Post and Business Value Exchange. At EffectUX, Sarah guides and creates Index algorithms and success models, a process which has been recognized by IDG (2016) for the process of measuring experience.

Before founding EffectUX, Sarah served in Experience Design Leadership roles and has grown and managed CX and UX teams. She built the first Global IT 360 Experience Lab during her tenure at HP. She has a Masters in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence with a concentration on algorithm design, data modeling, and computer vision.

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I was recently honored to participate in a panel at Beekeeper’s announcement of their integrated workplace feature, alongside Jennifer Pappas (Internal Communications Manager at Wireless Vision), Anja Luthje (Group Director Rooms and Quality for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group), and facilitated by Beekeepers VP Corey McCarthy.

The theme was all about the hot-topic of culture, A.I and especially how they impacted the non-desk workforce. There were lots of great food-for-thought, so we wanted to share a summary of a few of them as they may be helpful for those that are working on digitizing or engaging their non-desk workforce.

Four Action Items to Increase Productivity in Manufacturing

Four Action Items to Increase Productivity in Manufacturing

Employee productivity has always been a major concern among businesses across virtually every industry, including manufacturing. Lower levels of efficiency and less productive outputs from employees can affect any manufacturer, and even put its survival at risk. It’s vital for an organization to look for ways to increase productivity in manufacturing to survive this competitive market.

However, it’s important to note that low levels of productivity can’t be blamed entirely on employees. Often, it has something to do with the workplace environment and work conditions, along with a variety of factors that define the culture of the organization. Employee talent is a critical asset for any company, and it has to be maximized by ensuring employees are motivated to work and deliver great results they are capable of and qualified for.

Therefore, employers and companies must implement some changes in the setup and integrate some tools to enhance the productivity and efficiency of their workforce.

A very successful plant manager once stated that one of the keys to a thriving manufacturing is to do simple things remarkably well. This means that great results can actually come from mastering simple techniques and applying them consistently.

Here are four powerful ways to use this idea to increase productivity in manufacturing:

1. Give employees easy access to systems they need to do their job well

As a company leader in your manufacturing business, you are often faced with difficult choices. When it comes to improving your off-site or non-desk workers, you can either just watch your competitors become more efficient or give your staff the means to work effectively from any location.

Giving your workers access to systems they need to perform well is one of the secrets to increase productivity in manufacturing. This can be done by integrating cloud services or mobile solutions to enhance their efficiency from outside the workplace. This makes information remotely accessible for them, enhancing their work-life balance.

The most successful manufacturing companies across all industries leverage technology to give their workers easy access to communications, collaboration, and information even when they are off-site. This leads to higher outputs, while arming employees with resources they need to do their job well.

Remote workers can update information in real time. This gives them mobility, which empowers them to get more done in a shorter amount of time. This will also ease workload, reduce time-wasting actions, and amplify productivity. See how Seaboard Foods manufacturing did it.

2. Have a mobile internal communication strategy in place

Internal mobile communication can do more than just managing and distributing information. Quality internal communication strategies can cultivate the development of a community between the workers and employers that will foster a relationship of trust, which is vital to a team working towards achieving a goal.

As the manufacturing industry enters a period of rapid growth in technological advancement, businesses in the industry must embrace a digital approach. With the integration of a mobile internal communication strategy, organizations can streamline workflows, improving their overall productivity and efficiency.

Internal communication strategies are a vital component of any business, especially for employees on the frontlines. Just as mobile devices transformed the way we operate in our personal lives, business mobility can also be revolutionary. Rather than carrying overflowing folders, any system can be made accessible through a simple app. Workers can communicate off-site with similar levels of efficiency they get inside the office. This also allows team members, departments, and production workers to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

Therefore, the use of internal communications and employee engagement app is something that manufacturing companies should consider. There are products that also integrate with existing operational systems, so employees can have all their tools in one simple interface. Since most don’t non-desk workers don’t have access to email, these apps provide a solution for them to keep in regular contact with the whole company.

3. Invest in continued worker education

Workers appreciate the opportunity to enhance their skills and get access to professional advancement provided by the employer. The machining, cutting, and manufacturing industries are constantly changing. New technologies arise, promising these industries to become more efficient than ever. Advancements in technology also require change or development of skills needed for a particular task. With this, workers will need access to education and regular trainings to keep up with what the industry needs and with more advanced skills.

Manufacturing is also a unique industry where employees can just be as efficient and productive as their tools. To get ahead, it is also important for businesses to invest in smarter tools that employees can take full advantage of.

4. Always encourage collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration are vital for a manufacturing business, especially since there are so many safety hazards. The company becomes more safe and productive when everyone works together towards achieving a similar goal with minimal conflict and confusion which are substantial time wasters. While it is important to focus on the work being accomplished, it is also crucial to make sure that every worker feels comfortable as part of the team.

Indeed, effective collaboration is easy when you share a work location or office. However, with non-desk employees working on different production lines, encouraging collaboration may be a challenge.

This is where the implementation of a quality mobile solution comes in. Effective collaboration results in greater growth and innovation without incurring additional expenses. Your manufacturing company can integrate a system that features collaborative elements that will change the way teams work together.

Just increasing your workers’ salary will not always make them truly satisfied. It is important to keep them motivated by integrating innovative tools and implementing strategies and systems that will create meaning and keep them motivated. By giving them access to systems they need to function and perform well, having a mobile internal communication strategy in place, investing in continued worker education, and always encouraging collaboration, you can effectively increase productivity in manufacturing and have a satisfied workforce.

To learn how Beekeeper’s mobile communication app can increase productivity on your manufacturing company, fill out the form to schedule a demo with one of our app experts.
How to Empower Frontline Employees in this Digital Age

How to Empower Frontline Employees in this Digital Age

For companies to thrive in the 21st century, they must be able to adapt to the demands of the digital age. Part of that evolutionary process means empowering frontline employees. After all, frontline employees are a business’s first point of contact with a customer—hence the name “frontline.”

And that frontline is being taken over by a fairly new generation that has entered the workforce.

They’re the millennials, a mix of twenty-somethings and young thirty-somethings that have grown up alongside the eruption in digital technologies. Having been raised on a diet of smartphones and the internet, millennials almost epitomize the term “digital age.”

They are the trendsetters of our era, at the forefront of the latest technologies, and companies can learn from millennials the habits needed to empower frontline employees.

Turn Your Company Into a Village

Long gone are the days when working at a company meant only being on a first-name basis with your cubicle neighbors and managers. This is the digital age—the age of social media—and the entire world is connected by a tangled net of signals.

For better or worse, nearly every single person is a simple Google search away. And companies that haven’t internalized this “digital world is a village” lesson are going to stutter and spurt until they finally crash.

How do we take the lessons of an interconnected world to the office to empower frontline employees?

Companies using the right app or software can turn their vast employee roster into a small village, where everybody knows everybody else’s names. Or at least has access to them.

With the right app or software, workers can send a message to any other employee through a simple click. After all, nobody knows everything—not yet at least. To compensate, traditional companies relied on specialists or experts, leaving some frontline employees at the whims of others to guide their decisions.

But in the digital age, frontline employees don’t need to wait for a message to make its way through labyrinth of communication channels before getting to the right person. They can directly contact the staff member they need to speak to. That means no hold-up, employee independence, and better customer service.

Don’t forget, management and leaders are also privileged to this network. Both they and frontline employees have a diversity of opinions and perceptions to guide decision making.

Encourage Recognition

That interconnected network also makes it easier for employers to commend their frontline employees, to say “Thank you,” an overlooked two syllable phrase that makes all the difference.

Research by One4all Rewards found that “71% of respondents would forgo a higher salary to work for an employer that regularly says thank you.” It’s not clear where the financial cutoff is, but the finding is still significant. It went on to reveal that one in five workers have never received a “Thank you” at all from their employers.

There’s no excuse in the digital age for lacking P’s and Q’s when an entire office has an internal communication solution. A simple salutation makes any employee—especially frontline employees who represent a business—feel valued as a cherished member of a team, even if it’s in the form of a computerized message.

Personal Leadership

Jim Collins’ now classic book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t discovered similarities between every successful business: employees that are empowered to act on their own.

That means a manager isn’t breathing down a frontline employee’s neck, asking them what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. That doesn’t create a positive work environment for anyone.

As Collins explores in his book, “The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake.” A sense of trust and personal responsibility is the push that takes companies from being simply good to exceptionally great.

It’s a way to empower frontline employees. They don’t need to constantly call up a manager and ask whether or not action X or Y or Z is the appropriate response. And giving employees the ability to act independently has never been easier than today.

Freedom to Choose

We all know the saying “knowledge is power.” Essentially, the more information you have the more freedom you have to make decisions.

Where are we going with this? People these days are saturated with information, and companies are too.

Empowering frontline employees means giving them the information they need to make decisions, because businesses that thrive in the digital age give employees the information they need to be autonomous individuals.

Today, there are solutions that do exactly this. Workstream collaboration and internal communication tools enable two-way communication between managers and frontline employees and give everyone access to important information without the use of email. There are other solutions such as Qminder – a queue management system that provides data to frontline employees so they can focus on improving customer experience metrics.

These innovative solutions give frontline employees the means to make informed decisions on their own, while staying connected to information. It goes over particularly well with millennials, who tend to value freedom even more than money. So, give them freedom.

“If people are free, they will be drawn to what they really like as opposed to being pushed toward what they have been told to like,” said Chris Rufer, CEO of Morning Star Company, in an interview with Harvard Business Review. “So they will personally do better; they’ll be more enthused to do things.”

Overcome Hierarchies

As Pew Research rightly points out, millennials are the “best-educated cohort of young adults in American history.” That makes them suspicious of traditional hierarchies and imbued with a keenness for democracy.

Traditionally, decisions are locked behind a hodgepodge bureaucracy. Not only is it inefficient, but it’s demoralizing. In the traditional system, frontline employees feel like a cog in a machine whose voice is barely heard, as if they’re not allowed to deviate from a pre-approved script.

“The problem isn’t the occasional control freak; it’s the hierarchical structure that systematically disempowers lower-level employees,” the Harvard Business Review points out.

The article goes on to say, “Narrow an individual’s scope of authority, and you shrink the incentive to dream, imagine, and contribute.” Overcoming this system means managers must become better leaders and overcome these hierarchical boundaries.

Companies that change their culture today will get ahead tomorrow.

Adaptation is not easy: the rate of technological change makes it seem nearly impossible to implement a strategy that incorporates the latest trends from the digital age. But don’t worry!

“Cultural changes within corporate institutions will always be slower and more complex than the technological changes that necessitate them,” writes McKinsey Quarterly. Recognizing the need to keep on top of the latest digital trends is the first step in a long journey.

Once frontline employees feel the first slivers of empowerment from managers, the necessary changes to continue the trend will naturally flow. It’s the first step that’s hardest. But recognizing it has to be taken is an empowering act in itself.

To empower your frontline employees with the digital technology they need to perform their jobs at the highest level, fill out the form below for a free demo.