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Beekeeper Product Release Notes March 2018

Beekeeper Employee App Product Release Notes March 2018

This month the Beekeeper Product Team is excited to share a multitude of brand new features and exciting improvements to the Beekeeper employee app. Our March 2018 product release notes cover updates and additions that benefit team communication for your workplace, such as mobile content stream moderation, group messaging typing notifications, and chronological post ordering. We also worked on some major system architecture changes to accommodate the complexities of larger workforces.

March 2018 Employee App Highlights

  • Content Moderator Role (Web App) – Looking to distribute content management responsibilities without giving up too many security permissions? The content moderator is a new role to manage stream content and monitor the moderation inbox. In a stream, content moderators can pin and unpin posts, schedule posts, and edit post labels. In the dashboard, they can access the stream analytics and the moderation inbox.
  • content moderator feature

  • Stream Admin Action on Mobile (Android, iOS) – We’re excited to share that the stream admin actions are now available on your mobile device. Click on a post or a comment from the mobile app to access the admin actions: pin it and unpin it, remove it, or disable comments. These admin actions are available to global admins, stream admins, and content moderators.
  • stream admin actions

  • Typing Notifications (Web App, Android, iOS) – Have you ever found yourself typing over a co-worker in a group messaging conversation? You have already moved onto the next topic, while a colleague is busy typing an in-depth response. With the new typing notification functionality, your workforce can easily see who is typing during group messaging. Whether it’s one person or multiple people typing, typing notifications decrease redundancy and improve team communication.
  • typing notifications feature

  • Mark Chats as Unread (Web App, iOS, Android) – You can now mark your one-on-one or group messaging chats as unread, even after opening and reviewing them. From the Chat Inbox, view or select the chat and choose to archive or mark the chat as “unread.” Use this functionality to keep a to-do list of conversations you want to follow up on later.
  • mark chats as unread feature

  • Organization Management (Backend, Dashboard) – The scalability of our employee app for large enterprises is a priority for Beekeeper. That’s why we have been investing in building a new structure so you have the option to manage the units, locations, or teams independently. If you are interested in hearing more about our new enterprise infrastructure, please contact your Customer Success Manager.
  • Integration SDK (API, Developers’ Portal) – Our new integration SDK enables you to easily and effectively connect the Beekeeper employee app to your existing operational tools. The integration currently supports user synchronization.
  • Import Scalability (API) – In order to accommodate large enterprises, we improved our current user import capability to support large-scale imports.

More Capabilities


iOS:

  • Inline language translation is now available in Polish

Android:

  • “Set as Avatar” feature that allows users to pick an image from the gallery and set it as their avatar directly
  • Context menu on chat messages through long-press (Message info, copy)
  • Files in Navigation extensions offer better UX for downloading and files open automatically after downloading
  • Group messaging details page updates in real time when added or removed as an admin
  • Screen stays on while video is playing
  • Inline language translation is now available in Polish
  • “Likes” on posts and comments show in chronological rather than alphabetical order for better employee engagement
  • Our number one goal is to make sure our customers are happy and using the Beekeeper employee app with their workforce to its full extent. If you would like to see a new feature, communication tool, or app integration added, contact your Customer Success Manager. For more information Beekeeper’s and specific features and use cases, check out our Help Center.

    Haven’t seen Beekeeper in action yet? Fill out the form below for a free demo.




Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018

Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018

If you thought your digital workplace was at the peak of innovation, 2018 will deliver plenty of surprises. As you’ll soon find out, digital transformation is an ongoing process that moves swiftly as new technology emerges. Surprisingly, 47% of companies haven’t even begun their digital transformation process. By keeping up with the trends, you’re already at an advantage.

These top 5 digital transformation trends offer your manufacturing business not just insight, but tangible means of transforming your business in more ways than one. From handheld tools to improve employee productivity to means of streamlining processes along the assembly line, the transformation goes beyond digital.

Integrated Workflows

In today’s competitive global economy, integration is key to ensuring efficient workflows. While each component or department of the business can function independently, you can optimize those functions by integrating tasks and information. Sticking with conventional communication methods like email or voice calls limits the amount of data you can share and the means through which you can send it.

By connecting every employee through an internal communication system, preferably platforms that allow for sharing of information via not just text, but media as well, teams share their skills and knowledge with their peers. Research shows that connectivity helps reduce turnover and increase employee satisfaction, and active internal communication helps.

Ensuring that groups of employees on the production line know what’s happening on the information technology side, or keeping marketing teams in the loop when it comes to software changes in customer-facing settings are only two examples of how integrating workflows benefits business.

Mobile Collaboration

The majority of manufacturing employees don’t work at a desk or don’t even have a corporate email address. Ergo, the bulk of collaboration can’t happen on a desktop device. Technology can have a significant effect on non-desk employee productivity, so making that tech accessible should be a priority for businesses. Mobile collaboration apps give employees more ways to connect, keeping information current and ideas flowing.

Because most employees already have personal devices with internet connectivity, you may avoid substantial rollout costs by allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices. Even for large companies that require corporate devices across multiple departments, investing in the technology now keeps you a step ahead as the digital transformation forces other companies to follow suit.

Internal communications improve efficiency by making peers accessible to one another, but mobile collaboration apps also promote safety. Disseminating critical information to employees via mass message campaigns guarantees employees receive the details they need when they need it.

Machine Learning & AI

From robots piecing together components on the assembly line to machines that scan parts for defects, technology has come a long way from rudimentary programming concepts. Today’s robots have Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, meaning they’re learning right alongside your teams.

Strides in programming abilities translate into more accessible user experiences with advanced technology, allowing you internal control and review of data. Incorporating machine learning into your business even reduces the need for outsourcing, since bots can complete many tasks that human workers can.

Adding chatbots to your processes can alleviate strain on human staffers responding to customer inquiries. Precision scanning machines allow staff to focus on other tasks while bots manage quality control. Freeing up your skilled employees to perform more complicated tasks heightens productivity as bots take care of the behind-the-scenes details.

Plus, with advancements in today’s tech, consumers either won’t notice the automation or the faster route to resolution will cancel out potential frustration at conversing with a computer.

HR chatbot

Analytics

Between production statistics and sales figures, you’re already dealing with a lot of numbers. But tracking all matter of analytics from employee behavior to manufacturing output will highlight ways to improve processes and training across the company.

When you incorporate integrated workflows, mobile collaboration, and analytics in your digital workplace, a mountain of data gives insight on how well things are running. By evaluating those figures, you’re able to streamline the steps in your manufacturing process to increase profits and reduce costs.

Employee analytics can spotlight production opportunities you may have missed. Noting times when employee productivity is at its peak may influence changes in daily scheduling, and lags in productivity may indicate potential for diverting resources to other projects. Overall, the more information the better, both in terms of profit and your people.

IoT

The Internet of Things, or IoT, defines the intricate network of computers, machines, objects, and people that transfer data digitally. Beyond the Web, interconnectivity extends to handheld devices, wearables, sensors, and more.

In the manufacturing industry, your production robots may have sensors or software that send information to remote teams. Employee apps might track who’s working and when. There are endless ways the IoT transmits information and promotes efficiency company-wide.
Beyond chatting machine-to-machine, the IoT lets employees contribute data to organizational compilations through both personal feedback and workflow-based analytics. While current figures peg IoT devices around 20.35 billion currently, projections for 2025 indicate that IoT connected devices will exceed 75.44 billion worldwide.

That means your digital workplace will only keep expanding, and keeping up-to-date with advances has the potential to transform your workflow and put your company on the path toward higher profits and lower costs.

To see how Beekeeper’s internal communication and employee app digitally transformed manufacturing company Seaboard Foods, download the case study.



How to Get Internal Buy-in for New Company-wide Technology

How to Get Internal Buy-in for New Company-wide Technology

When you discover an exciting new technology and know it would suit your company’s needs, is everyone on board from the beginning, or does the approval process require some finesse? For most companies, ensuring internal buy-in for proposed technology is not as simple as one would hope.

While the value may be clear to one department or another, appealing to higher-level management requires setting the groundwork first. Here’s how to get internal buy-in when adding new tech tools to your organization’s arsenal.

Highlight the Importance of Technology

Whether your target is an employee communication platform, online customer portal, or a software overhaul that has been years in the making, pointing out the benefits of adapting to modern technology is a good place to start.

Thriving in a Digital Age

According to Forbes, a study of over 2,000 companies noted that digital technology supports over half of their business processes. From online retailers to app-based service companies, consumer demand drives the need for technology adaptations.

But innovations in technology haven’t stopped at customer-facing solutions. Most companies are comfortable digitalizing because they use automated processes, computers, and more secure information storage. Still, companies are often hesitant to consider digital solutions outside what they know and use daily.

To get internal buy-in, highlighting your organization’s position as a modern and forward-thinking industry leader should earn support from people who are more comfortable with current systems. Change might not come easily, but when productivity, and therefore future profits, rely on it, it’s easier to get everyone on board.

Demonstrate Value

When it comes to showing your team (or upper management) why new company-wide technology is vital to your organization, addressing its intrinsic value is essential. Giving specific examples of benefits to your organization, as well as focusing on industry-wide indicators of progress, will help turn naysayers into optimists.

Profitability as the Bottom Line

If your goal is to implement a new employee communication platform, upper management may not see the need. For those unfamiliar with the day-to-day games of email tag and multiple methods of exchanging information, the investment doesn’t predict a huge return.

However, those who manage frontline employees recognize that efficiency and clarity are essential to day-to-day operations. That means that their potential for increased productivity via a more straightforward and user-friendly communication platform translates into higher profits for the whole organization.

Connecting different perspectives with baseline measurements like productivity and profitability keep everyone on the same page when it comes down to making a decision.

Six Degrees of Innovation

A study from Cambridge Judge Business School interviewed the senior executives of international companies across a range of industries and found six patterns that indicate successful technology transformation.

The Six Degrees of Innovation define the value of technology based on market demand and include:

  • Custom products and services that meet consumers’ unique needs
  • Sustainable practices such as recycling and reducing energy costs
  • Utilizing peer-to-peer sharing to lower costs
  • Only paying for necessary and timely services
  • Monitoring supply chains effectively
  • Tracking data to adapt to customer needs

According to Cambridge Judge’s evaluation process, a technology that fulfills any one of these “degree” items is a mark of innovation and forward movement. For example, monitoring the supply chain of an organization via consistent updates through internal communication is a step toward accuracy in inventory. That’s a tangible benefit in any business and a perk that technology helps achieve.

Don’t Stop Working

Once you have secured support for the digital innovations you’ve been preparing for, you might think it’s time to rest. However, earning company-wide approval for technology solutions is only the first step.

Allow for an Adjustment Period

Transitioning to unfamiliar methods and digital platforms isn’t always easy, particularly if your team has been using alternative technologies for a long time. If at all possible, aim for a slow introduction of programs or processes so employees have time to adjust.

Track Results

Tracking results is one way to maintain support for a new program or solution rollout. Reminding team members they made the right decision through concrete figures and examples may not stop criticisms from coming in, but they will surely help justify the switch.

Celebrate Milestones

To frontline employees, along with supervisors and lower-level managers, the roll-out of new programs or processes can feel frustrating. The people who use these digital solutions will not only be the first to criticize them, but also the first to praise what works. Use this to your advantage, and make sure that team members acknowledge what new technology allows them versus how previous means limited them.

Optimize

Once employees adapt to unfamiliar technology, don’t let them stagnate! Solicit feedback, generate interest in features and updates, and encourage team growth along with digital growth. Making sure that all team members have appropriate training helps avoid technology fatigue, and a slow rollout can help alleviate stresses before significant transitions.

If you’re in search of a mobile platform to improve internal communication and employee engagement while simultaneously tracking results, fill out out the form below for a free trial of Beekeeper.



In 3 Schritten vom überflüssigen zum leistungsstarken Intranet

Using Beekeeper to Make Your Intranet More Powerful, Not Obsolete

As the adoption of mobile workplace technologies continues to skyrocket, there is one question that operations, HR, and IT professionals face across many global industries: “When we optimize our workplace correspondence for mobile, what will become of our on-network company intranet?”

It’s a completely fair point of inquiry—and one we’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about as we continue to develop and expand the Beekeeper feature set. There’s no doubt we’re in a mobile content boom, which marks a lot of changes for your legacy content management system.

In the spirit of getting to the bottom of this mystery, let’s talk about the state of intranets now, as well as where they may be heading.

Intranet Recon 101: It’s Like Flipping a Car for Parts

After your employees start using dynamic, interactive, real-time mobile correspondence tools, the fact is that a static web-based intranet hub will begin to look a little stale. There are many reasons why your intranet may feel outdated, a few of which we have outlined on our blog in the past. TL;DR (“too long; didn’t read”) intranets are often full of content made irrelevant due to the passage of time, they are technologically clunky, lack a clean, simple user interface, and are often far more expensive to maintain than they are worth to your organization’s overall productivity levels.

The fixed nature of intranets also make them less social, less engaging, and, most importantly, less collaborative. For dispersed workforces who rely on digital checkpoints to provide feedback and execute projects, lacking the ability to connect directly with coworkers on the intranet becomes especially problematic. In other words, while intranets do a decent job of connecting people to information, they fail miserably at connecting people to other people.

Despite these shortcomings, when we look at the lack of utilization of legacy intranet hubs, we see nothing but an ocean of potential ways to optimize to meet the fast-paced demands of today’s workplaces. In order to salvage the best parts of the hub, it can be useful to look at your intranet like an aging car. When you lift up the hood, determine the pieces of content that your employees still engage with regularly, either by mandate or choice. You can determine this in two different ways:

  1. If you have access to them, look at your backend analytics to see which portals and knowledge base articles your employees engage with the most.
  2. If you do not have access to your intranet engagement analytics or would simply prefer more anecdotal feedback from your employees, send out a pulse survey to gauge which aspects of the current CMS hub they still use and/or find helpful in their everyday workflow.

Once you’ve identified the parts of your intranet worth saving, it’s time dig deeper into what the next generation of company content sharing could look like. This begins with exploring ways to reconfigure your current CMS with tools like ours that were built specifically for a mobile-first world. When we look at legacy intranet hubs becoming less useful and more of a headache (like the depths of a library archive), we see vast potential for optimizations. Below, we outline three easy steps that will help you successfully converge your aging CMS with your new mobile-first workplace platform.

Integrate

Our Beekeeper Marketplace is a great place to start brainstorming ways in which your legacy intranet can be updated for mobile and real-time use. For instance, if analytics or anecdotal feedback suggests that employees find the intranet’s company personnel directory useful to keep tabs on team members, you might consider a Bamboo HR integration. This would allow employees to upload photos, fun facts, and critical contact information for colleagues to quickly access to get in touch or get to know their teammates better.

Beekeeper Marketplace

Another prime example of this would be implementing a Box integration, which would allow you to upload and maintain all frequently trafficked knowledge base articles and training materials to a centralized digital hub within Beekeeper. This allows employees to quickly look up and access files without having to dig through a graveyard of poorly managed documents that may or may not be up to date with the latest content.

Personalize

Company content hubs should feel like a warm and lively gathering, not a ghost town. Carrying strong visual brand assets throughout your internal communications hub is a great way to encourage employee engagement and collaboration. Whereas a traditional intranet can feel as sterile and stark as a windowless chamber, the Beekeeper digital workplace suite can be customized entirely without robust assistance from IT or technical leaders in your organization.

In addition, the Beekeeper interface allows individual employees to customize things like push notifications and workflows, giving a more personalized feel to the workplace experience. In addition to increasing productivity, these interactive features and notifications also encourage higher levels of participation within the company culture, leading to higher levels of overall workforce satisfaction.

Automate

While we have touched on a couple of these features already, it is worth mentioning that automated workflows, communication streams, and content updates allow for a more dynamic version of your legacy intranet system to emerge. A common pain point among traditional intranet users is that that legacy hubs are resource-intensive to maintain, with technical ownership of the site frequently remaining murky or unassigned. With no one to steer the ship, documents and modules become quickly outdated and useless.

Beekeeper, on the other hand, was specifically designed to self-regulate as much as possible, including workflows, newsletters, and survey dispatches. While it may seem counter-intuitive that automation makes Beekeeper more dynamic and human, it’s touches like these that help your employees integrate the digital work hub into their everyday routines, making life less about logistics and more about productivity. For dispersed teams who may be scattered around a warehouse, kitchen, or retail floor, having check-ins automated becomes a true sanity preserver.

employee satisfaction survey

Why Folding Your Intranet into Beekeeper Will Set You on the Path to Success

At the end of the day, the goal of Beekeeper is to seamlessly augment and integrate with the tools that your employees already use and love, while replacing the tools that may be stuck in the past. Given that mobile apps are the primary method of communication for the modern workforce, our platform was built specifically for mobile rather than adapted for it.

Beekeeper enables employees to engage with their employer in the same way that they engage with their friends and family— on the go and on their own terms. While simply serving up content on a static hub falls radically short of this goal, building a digital space for employees to connect to one another and discover their purpose within their organization encourages all team members to find their purpose at work.

Want to hear more about how to bring your intranet back to life with a mobile, collaborative platform? Fill out the form below for a free demo with an app expert.
Bee School Leadership and Followership QA

Bee School Session 6: “Leadership and Followership” Q&A

Class is dismissed! Sadly, Bee School has ended with Dr. Herkenhoff’s lecture on “Leadership and Followership,” but we have a few more insights to share. This educational series has been a great success and we couldn’t have done it without your participation!

Leadership

In the final session titled “Leadership and Followership,” Dr. Herkenhoff explains the qualities of each, why they are essential, and how to improve in both areas. First, she dives into leadership—the act of guiding and directing others. She explains the differences between formal and informal leadership, and identifies the four types of leaders with examples, pros, and cons of each.

Leadership Styles

leadership styles

Expanding on her last lecture on “Emotional Intelligence,” she reveals her research findings that good leaders have the technical know-how and high IQ, but great leaders have those and a high EQ. That is the ultimate differentiator, along with knowing how to build communities.

Below are what she deems as the most important leadership skills:

  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • Frazzle factor (stress)
  • Risk-taking
  • Feedback
  • Remember: People join companies, but leave managers. Be a great manager and you will retain your people.

    Followership

    On the flip side of leadership, followership is the process of being guided and directed. Many people consider the term “follower” as negative, but that it simply not the case. Effective followers have the power to improve organizations and influence their leaders. We are all followers at some point, so these skills are essential for each and every one of us.

    The professor outlines the four types of followers and pros and cons of each to prove her case.

    Type of Followers
    Types of Followers

    There were two great questions asked during the presentation and below are Dr. Herkenhoff’s responses. If you have any further questions or feedback about Bee School, or want us to send you the recording, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

    Q&A with the Professor

    1. Do good leaders need to be good followers?

    Absolutely. Being a good follower doesn’t make you a sheep. There are many traits learned as a follower that make better leaders.

    Collaboration is the key to success. Leaders who have learned how to work with people and bring out the best in them will create a strong culture and have an easier time motivating teams to accomplish goals. Similar to collaboration, diplomacy means knowing how to get along with those who have differences while not ignoring those differences. Leaders can’t afford to be oblivious to the attitudes surrounding them.

    It is this awareness that is learned while being a follower that allows leaders to take into account their various audiences including colleagues, board members, customers, and coworkers. A good leader knows each of their stakeholder groups well enough to know what it will take to bring them along for the ride.

    Collaboration, diplomacy, and awareness are great, but critical thinking and knowing when to stand up to their leaders is an admirable trait learned as a follower. It is this motivation, intelligence, and competence that inspires followership.

    Standing up to your leaders at every point in your career when you think things are heading in the wrong direction takes courage. This requires critical thinking and awareness of the situation to get your point across with the conviction and energy needed to change what is wrong, as well as support a leader or manager who is doing things well.

    2. What is the best process for delivering and receiving feedback?

    Delivering feedback is one of the most difficult things for people to do, so when you receive feedback, the first thing you should say is “thank you.” The courage that it takes to give any feedback is significant. The fact someone took the time and effort to make you better deserves to be treated with appreciation.

    After receiving feedback and thanking the person, take a minute to reflect and do your best to remove your personal emotions from any response. If you need more time to digest the feedback, let the person know you would like to sleep on their comments before responding.

    Giving feedback can be accomplished in three simple statements:

    1. Deliver the data – not your opinions.
    2. Let the person know how this made you feel.
    3. State your wish for how you would like to see things changed for the future. If this is a manager giving performance feedback, this is the time to also deliver a fitting consequence if the situation is not resolved.

    Here is an example:

    1. Mary, last week in our team meeting I requested you submit your TPS report by this Monday. It is Wednesday and I still haven’t seen your report.
    2. I am frustrated that I wasn’t heard asking for the report or informed about a delay in the process of delivering it to me.
    3. My wish for the future is that you meet deadlines that are asked of you or you communicate in advance why you can’t meet the deadline. I would like this report submitted by noon tomorrow. If I do not receive your reports on time, I will not approve your future requests to leave a few minutes early.

    You can finish by thanking the person for accepting your feedback and be willing for it to work the other way around (minus the consequences part).

    Bee School may be over, but we have another webinar around the corner! Sign up for the next one with employee engagement expert, Jill Christensen, who will share her four-step strategy to immediately engage employees.



Bee School Session 5: “Emotional Intelligence” Q&A

Bee School Session 5: “Emotional Intelligence” Q&A

Everyone knows what an IQ is, but not many know what an EQ (emotional quotient) is and why it’s critical for successful leadership. This week’s Bee School lecture focused on “Emotional Intelligence” which determines your EQ. This concept is defined as the ability to recognize and regulate your emotions and those of others around you. Emotional intelligence (EI) includes the following:
emotional intelligence chart

Although the term is relatively new, the concept has been around for a long time. MBA professor and host of the Bee School educational series has conducted a significant amount of research on the topic. She found most managers have roughly the same amount of technical skills, and what sets good managers apart from exceptional ones is a high EQ.

Results consistently showed this was the main differentiator and, by having these skills, managers could be miles ahead of the average manager. By honing these skills, you can relate to people of different backgrounds and bring out the best out in yourself and colleagues by being aware of behaviors and how they impact others.

Dr. Herkenhoff shared some of her own examples of how she used emotional intelligence to solve complex challenges at global organizations. Her findings showed there is a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and job satisfaction. It’s directly responsible for increased retention, productivity, confidence, innovation, and lower stress levels. Alternatively, a low EQ can result in a lack of commitment, loyalty, organizational values, safety, and poor customer service.

During the seminar, there were two questions for the professor and you’ll see her responses below. If you have any further questions about the class content or Bee School in general, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

Q&A with the Professor

1. What do I do when I discover emotional destructive behavior from an employee? How do I address this issue in a dialogue?

This is a tricky question to answer without any background or context, but I’ll do my best. If the issues being brought into the workplace are personal in nature or have escalated to the point of potential physical threats, I would advise consulting your HR department or someone else within the organization to discuss a plan of action that would result in the best outcome for all parties.

I would also advise against getting into a deeply personal conversation with the person. You are a manager, not a therapist. Your goal is to help your employee find the resources they need to be happy and whole so they can successfully perform their job.

If the destructive behavior impacts others within the organization, it must be addressed before it becomes a spiral of negative or toxic energy within the organization. Focus on the merits of the issues and seek a win-win solution first.

If it’s not as serious in nature, take a step back and try to recognize where your colleague is coming from and understand their pain. You can look at the factors in Hofstede’s model to help fine-tune your response and determine the way that particular person would like to communicate.

Address these during in-person meetings as they have the richest context. Before the first meeting, I would document the performance issues you’ve noticed that are related to the destructive behavior and review each within the context of job performance. List dates and times of specific job issues followed by your wish for how these issues would be handled in the future.

Once you have the meetings, make it clear you understand their side and also articulate how negative emotions affect company operations as a whole. Maybe they didn’t realize the impact they’re having and how much you genuinely care about their happiness at work. Ask the employee if there is anything he or she needs to accomplish your wishes.

Be careful that you are not asking what you as a manager can do to get them there. It is up to the individual to make the decision to change and it is up to you to provide the resources, if possible, to help accomplish your wishes as well as theirs. It is not up to you to fix or take on the emotional burden of an employee. It is your job to identify the problem within the context of the workplace and work on a collaborative solution where you are supporting the employee, but not fixing the issue for them.

Once the issue has been discussed and the employee has expressed what they need to adjust their behavior, make a plan to revisit the conversation weekly to check in on progress.

Your goal should be to avoid:

  • Lost productivity
  • Theft
  • Sabotage
  • Lack of commitment
  • Lack of loyalty
  • Low personal safety
  • Perception bias- pessimistic outlook
  • Poor customer service
  • Toxic work environment

2. Does EQ take precedence over normal intelligence?

Depending on the job duties, a healthy mix of both should be there. When it comes to normal intelligence, employees should be able to adequately perform all of their job functions and have the ability to extend their scope to adjacent functions with ease. If the person can accomplish their role, the level of EQ can make the difference between a C player and an A player.

A players are a must on every team. Their self-awareness, empathy, adaptability, and self-confidence can be motivating and contagious for your B players striving to be A players. To excel as a leader, both are important. From my research, I’ve found managers are generally the same technically, but it’s the emotional intelligence that sets them apart and makes them the best leader.

First time hearing about Bee School? It’s not too late to sign up for the last class! Reserve your spot below for this free educational series and we can email you the sessions you missed.
bee school sessions 3&4 QA

Bee School Sessions 3&4: “Professional Culture” and “Organizational Culture” Q&A

We had to skip a Q&A post for Thanksgiving, but we are back on track! The last two Tuesdays we hosted the third and fourth sessions of our educational series, Bee School. Thank you to those of you who joined or plan on joining us for the final two classes.

The topics for the last two lectures were “Professional Culture” and “Organizational Culture” where Dr. Linda Herkenhoff discussed the differences between the two, how to measure them, and ways to ensure your organization is strong in both. She delved into how these cultural values increase commitment and provide a sense of identity for employees, allowing for a more productive workplace.

You had some great questions and we appreciate you taking the time to send them to us. Below are the questions from other managers and you can read Dr. Herkenhoff’s responses. If you have any further questions about the class content or Bee School in general, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

Q&A with the Professor

1. What are the main differences between professional and organizational culture? Should the emphasis be placed more on one than the other?

Organizational culture is a pattern of basic assumptions that are considered valid and are taught to new members as the way to perceive, think, and feel in an organization. Organizational cultures are learned over short periods of time since people have to adapt to the new organization they’re entering quickly.

Alternatively, professional cultures are learned over long periods and are more inherent. In fact, most professional culture is learned even before employees start a new job. Since organizational culture is more difficult to learn, the focus for a manager should primarily be placed in this arena. That’s how you’ll get new hires to become familiar with the team and corporate culture so they feel comfortable and aligned. Those qualities poise them to be a more successful contributing member.

2. What are some immediate steps I can take to start enhancing our organizational culture?

Through role modeling, teaching, and coaching, leaders can reinforce the values that support organizational culture. Here are six guidelines to help establish corporate culture:

  1. Create a clear and simple mission statement.
  2. Create systems that ensure an effective flow of information.
  3. Create “matrix minds” among managers. In other words, broaden their minds to allow them to think globally.
  4. Develop career paths that allow employees to rotate between offices.
  5. Use cultural differences as a major asset.
  6. Implement management education and team development programs.

Since every company is different, you’ll need to tailor each one of these to fit your business needs. Start by assessing your current status in these areas and finding where there’s room for improvement.

3. How should culture be a part of the onboarding process?

Newcomers learn culture through organizational socialization. This is the process by which newcomers are transformed from outsiders to participating, effective members of the organization. There are three stages of socialization:

1) Anticipatory socialization
This first stage encompasses all of the learnings that take place on the first day on the job. On the first day, storytelling is a great way to set the right tone.

Here are a few ideas of different stories to weave into the content of your first day:

  • Tell new employees something about how their bosses are human and espoused one of your corporate values during a stressful time.
  • Everyone is worried about not making the grade on the first day.
  • Recounting a story about the company’s hiring and firing history will be better coming from you and put your newcomer’s concerns to rest about job security.
  • If applicable, you can tell stories about how the company deals with relocation or other major life changes that happen in an employee’s personal life.
  • Stories about how lower level employees rise to the top are always motivating.
  • Explaining how leadership dealt with a crisis situation will often speak volumes about that company’s culture. It starts at the top!
  • Stories about how status considerations work when rules are broken. For example, when one of the former CEO’s of IBM wasn’t wearing his badge, a dutiful security guard confronted him and required the correct credentials before allowing him to pass!

2) Encounter
The second stage of socialization is when newcomers learn the tasks associated with the job, clarity in their roles, and establish new relationships at work. In this stage, be sure to set firm expectations to avoid ambiguity for the newcomer and, possibly more importantly, existing employees.

3) Change and Acquisition
Here, newcomers that are successfully socialized begin to master their domain and should be exhibiting good performance, high job satisfaction, and intend to stay with the organization.

Don’t miss Tuesday’s lecture, “Emotional Intelligence,” where you’ll find out how to look beyond basic emotional intelligence and fine-tune your approach by taking all three types of culture into account.

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.
Technology's Impact on Non-Desk Employee Productivity

Technology’s Impact on Non-Desk Employee Productivity

Non-desk employees, also referred to as frontline employees, significantly impact a company’s success. Especially since they are the people that interact with your customers most frequently.

At many companies, however, these employees are often recognized or prioritized less than their office counterparts. Even if not intentional, non-desk employees can feel out of the loop when not at least somewhat integrated with the rest of the company.

Luckily, there are ways to efficiently integrate non-desk employees with the rest of the workforce, and this is how things should be. Not only is this more respectful for everyone involved, but we’ve also found that integration improves employee productivity, due to improvements in communication, employee satisfaction, and overall efficiency.

Improvements in Communication

Communication should encompass more than “email threads” and one-on-one meetings. For one, neither of these forms of communication prove all that useful for non-desk employees. Often out and about or otherwise distanced from other workers, these employees can be more difficult to reach with traditional forms of workplace communication.

This “distance” between employees in the same company can be significantly reduced with peer-to-peer and group messaging with the proper internal communication platform.

Peer-to-Peer Communication

Peer-to-peer communication — which conveniently doesn’t require exchanging details or phone number swapping — gives all of your employees the ability to quickly and easily message anyone in the company. In addition to text-based messages, employees can also share links, documents, images, and videos.

Quicker response times and increased availability directly translate to improved efficiency (and fewer headaches).

Group Messaging

When it comes to group messaging, you have the option to create dedicated channels. This enables you to engage and share information with specific groups of employees in a way that is more specific and personal than other forms of communication.

Say goodbye to the days of annoying email chains which never fail to include either too many or too few relevant employees. Instead, messages and updates can be shared with only those who need them.

You can also engage with the company as a whole and include non-desk employees in the sharing of company updates, news, and events. This isn’t only good for keeping everyone on the same page — it’s also good for morale.

Improvements in Employee Satisfaction

Working at a company that doesn’t communicate with you very often, or that doesn’t communicate on a somewhat personal level, can cause feelings of exclusion. Nothing says “you aren’t a vital member of this team” like receiving zero communication from the rest of the organization.

Include all your employees with the utilization of company-wide notifications regarding policy changes, workplace incidents, and anything else that could benefit all employees.

Plus, giving your non-desk employees access to the same sources of information and avenues of communication as other employees can keep them feeling respected and included. Providing all employees with the same platform works towards creating the team atmosphere that leads to a company’s success.

It goes without saying that most employees also want to have a voice. Instant incident reporting and safety feedback give everyone the ability to voice concerns and ask questions effortlessly and at their own convenience.

Naturally, employees that feel like valuable members of a company will be more productive than employees that feel excluded or inferior.

Improvements in Efficiency

With improvements to communication and employee satisfaction, an improvement in efficiency will naturally result.

Employees will be able to contact anyone they need to instantly, which can, in turn, make all the difference between a satisfied and unsatisfied customer, or between a job done well and a poorly done job.

Improvements to communication and morale reach further than your employees. After all, your employees interact with other employees, as well as customers, in many instances. A satisfied, well-connected employee is better equipped to positively interact with customers and other employees than an unsatisfied, disconnected employee.

Non-desk employees can have a significant impression on others (and especially on customers), so it only makes sense to consider their productivity and well-being as being as important as that of other employees. Doing so gives your company an advantage, compared to competitors content on using outdated, fragmented technology.

To find out more about integrating your non-desk employees with the rest of the organization to improve employee productivity, fill out the form below for a free personal demo of Beekeeper’s mobile-first internal communication app.
BYOD - how to manage employee demands and cybersecurity

BYOD – How to Manage Employee Demands and Cybersecurity

Allowing your employees to BYOD – “bring your own device” – is a cybersecurity concern, but you don’t have to let it keep your company from a secure cyberenvironment. Once you understand the benefits of implementing BYOD, you’ll be less hesitant to let your employees use their hardware to run company software.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to smooth over the tension between your employees’ BYOD desires like unrestricted access and your company’s cybersecurity needs, which are typically at odds with free-roaming device usage.

The two biggest factors we’ll discuss are employee education and smart policymaking, both of which rely on your tier of the company to do what you do best: take the lead.

Teach Your Employees About Cybersecurity

If we’re talking BYOD, we’re typically talking about smartphones. Your employees take their smartphones with them everywhere they go, and they’re amenable to mixing business with pleasure so long as the business portion doesn’t interfere with the operations of the device’s other uses. Therein lies the problem.

Smartphones, while the primary target of most BYOD initiatives, are also the biggest vectors for data leakage or loss, representing almost 70% of cases according to a cybersecurity trends report. If you want to prevent your organization from leaking data through every personal device’s sieve, you’ll need to control certain aspects of your employee’s devices.

Imposing control on employee devices is bound to make your employees unhappy, so you’ll have to use a lighter touch than a software-based lockdown. We’ll explain how to develop and implement a formal BYOD policy a bit later in the article, but first, we want you to realize the importance of changing your employees’ perspectives if you’re going to have a successful BYOD policy while maintaining security.

Your employees are more likely to implement reasonable BYOD practices if they understand the consequences of cybersecurity on the rest of the organization. BYOD can carry a risk to your employees, which you should be forthcoming about during your educational discussions.

The trick to BYOD is educating your employees that BYOD is a way for their device to peek into the larger corporate system upon which the entire organization relies. The scope of the peek—be it a keyhole or a cinema-screen—is directly linked to their ability to get the things done efficiently, while maintaining the security of the company’s data and the integrity of their device.

Depending on your industry, your educational regimen may be more technical, or more oriented toward non-specialists. Try not to throw the tech talk at the people who aren’t going to be interested in hearing about the technical detail. Instead, offer a few examples of good BYOD practices, a few examples of bad BYOD practices, and then showcase your company’s BYOD policy.

When showing examples, it’s important to link user behaviors to larger consequences. People respond best to realistic examples, so avoid scare tactics. Not every data breach caused by a BYOD-centric mishap is going to bring down the entire company, but be sure that everyone knows it’s a remote possibility.

By creating a workforce of informally savvy cybersecurity employees, you’ll be adding value to your employees’ skill set and providing them with tools to be vigilant while using their devices.

Create A Smart BYOD Policy

Now that we know the solution to BYOD issues is an explicit BYOD policy and an informal, yet detailed educational program for your employees, what are the concrete steps your company can take to put the wheels in motion?

First, resolve to follow through on making an explicit BYOD policy and talking through it with your employees who need it most. Don’t be like the majority of companies who leave BYOD policies to the realm of the informal or the socially-enforced, yet unencoded. You should pair good BYOD practices by your employees with rewards, and poor practices with mild consequences.

The better you craft your company’s BYOD policy, the more likely your employees are to follow it, and the more likely your company is to retain a strong cybersecurity perimeter. Remember, a policy is only effective if people are motivated and capable of following.

Draconian BYOD policies, while perhaps appealing to larger organizations, will result in more unhappy employees and higher turnover, hurting your bottom line. There’s no reason to let something that’s supposed to be a money-saver like BYOD become a point of loss.

Software as a Cybersecurity Solution

There are some ways that you can incorporate useful software into your BYOD policy for the betterment of your company. Software that can act as a soft barrier between your user’s device and your company’s important data, without getting in the way of the user’s job, is exactly what you should be looking for.

It may seem foolish to introduce an additional step in the already-complicated cybersecurity process, but using an app that’s designed to smooth the BYOD cybersecurity dilemma as part of your BYOD policy is a large step forward relative to trying to go at it alone.

By introducing a layer of protection, your employees can rest assured their device will stay safe and also stay useful in the course of their work. Even more importantly, you won’t have to worry about data breaches or malware infections slipping into your corporate network as a result of a permissive BYOD policy.

The trick is that an intermediary between your employees and your data lets your employees retain full control of their devices, while allowing your company to maintain full control of its internal perimeter. Your IT team will thank you, as will your BYOD users.

Download our “How to Minimize BYOA Risks When Rolling Out Your BYOD Policy” white paper for more information or request a demo with one of our app experts.
how retailers can conquer black friday with a digital workplace app

How Retailers Can Conquer Black Friday with a Digital Workplace App

Retailers large and small prepare all year for the most important weekend in November—Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Simply put, just a few days out of the whole year can make or break a business. While retailers want to utilize every competitive edge, the high stakes often mean many retailers are also unwilling to experiment with new ideas.

This reluctance makes sense on the surface. What if a retailer embraces a new technology, marketing strategy or other trend – only for it to backfire during the busiest shopping weekend of the year? Many retailers prefer to stick with the safety of tried-and-true methods.

Unfortunately, an unwillingness to adapt to “the new” can result in a significant drop in sales and traffic. Customers are eager to embrace new technologies and methods when shopping both online and off. Retailers who are able to respond to their customers changing shopping preferences will be able to stand out from the competition.

The Black Friday weekend is all about big crowds. Embracing new technology in the form of a digital workplace app can help you draw those crowds towards your space and away from the competition. Using a digital workplace app can open doors, both metaphorically and literally, for a wide range of new customers during the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

What is a Digital Workplace App?

Although the under-the-hood technology is incredibly sophisticated, the purpose of a digital workplace app is actually very simple. In a retail environment, a workplace app connects all employees in a natural, systematic way.

Corporate offices can connect with frontline employees. Colleagues can share information throughout the organization. Specific team-based communication channels can be created.

The information shared extends well beyond messaging. Predefined communication channels allow for product updates, inventory arrivals, and real-time insights from the sales floor. This allows for always-current management and analysis, even during the busiest shopping periods of the year.

Beyond day-to-day operations, digital workplace apps can help motivate and excite employers. A dynamic, engaging corporate culture doesn’t just increase retention of current employees, but also helps attract a top-tier workforce for the future. Digital workplace apps help facilitate sales competitions, team building exercises, and other methods of boosting employee morale.

Empowering Employees During Black Friday

Black Friday advertising and promotions will drive customers towards your store. But once inside, everything depends on the actions of your employees. Unfortunately, Black Friday crowds can be large and notoriously difficult. Employee morale needs to be carefully monitored and managed.

A digital workplace app can help boost morale even during periods of great workplace stress. Because the app can be accessed from anywhere using a mobile device, employees can be given more freedom both at work and during off hours. For instance, employees of a store can create a group chat to discuss schedule changes or even coordinate off-hours morale building get-togethers.

The ability to use an app to connect with a supervisor or manager quickly helps increase employee confidence and autonomy. This is especially useful in appliance and electronic retail where employee knowledge is likely wide, but relatively shallow since there is so much technical information to remember. An app allows employees to quickly seek out the answers to any technical questions asked by a potential customer without having to leave the sales floor.

How Mobile Apps Help Prepare Employees for Black Friday Promotions

On a corporate level, promotions for Black Friday weekend may need to be changed quickly and often. Retail competitors will be trying to out-maneuver one another right until the last minute with constantly changing prices, price matching bonuses, and other customer engagements.

Keeping employees up-to-date on the changes is easy with a digital workplace app. Changes can be instantly sent to all employees within a designated channel. Plus, training updates can also be quickly communicated. A digital workplace app lets employees read training manuals and other instructions at their earliest convenience, which tends to promote information retention.

Mobile communication helps promote employee autonomy. When an employee feels trusted and valued enough to operate without constant supervision, they’re far more likely to enjoy and remain engaged with their work.

Digital Workplace Apps are Quick and Easy to Implement

While a workplace app can greatly enhance the customer experience, customers don’t directly engage with the app. This means most, if not all, of your customer-facing practices can remain unchanged. Instead, the digital workplace app is intended for use by every employee within the retail environment from the sales floor to corporate.

The digital app revitalizes your entire employee structure, allowing for faster and more efficient communication. Plus, digital workplace apps help empower your employees, which boosts morale and promotes retention.

The Black Friday weekend is important, dynamic, and stressful for retailers. A digital workplace app can be an important tool in improving the experience for both customers and employees. Turn this Black Friday into the biggest retail success yet!

Ready to conquer Black Friday with your own digital workplace app? Fill out the form below to speak with one of our retail experts to find out how.