Concept: Create tribes within your office or company – 20 to 25 people per tribe – one leader per tribe who may or may not rotate – the job of the tribe is to care about and take care of the other members. Know when it is their birthday or when the kids are sick or when their son is graduating High School or College and take action.
An executive at Southwest Airlines once told us a wonderful story. He was sitting next to a flight attendant on a trip back from a company meeting and she could not stop talking about how excited she was to work for the company and how much loyalty she felt. The exec asked if she had been to any of the company meetings? She said no. How about the company picnics? She said no. How about participating in any of the special employee programs? She said no. So he asked, why did she feel so much loyalty? Her answer, “when my dad was in the hospital, the executives all called or emailed to check on me. One even came by the hospital. They care about me and my family.”
The best way to create loyal employees is not to pay them more, give them bonuses, or even sponsor happy hours and keg parties. The best way is to show how much you care about them personally.
Although it is possible through technology and process, it is difficult for the executive team to personally touch and know what is going on with each employee. One solution is Tribes. We constantly hear that smaller companies care more about their employees than larger companies. Although that might be true on average it doesn’t have to be true. What happens in smaller companies is that everyone including the executives know when someone’s dad is in the hospital, they are having a baby, or when their birthday or anniversary is. Small companies are basically tribes of people that take care of each other.
A simple way to systematize caring about your employees is instituting tribes. Identify groups of 5 to 25 employees and ask them to take care of each other and bubble up any challenges you might help with or that you need to be aware of. The tribes of employees can check on each other, be aware of illness or family challenges and cover or offer support when the employee needs it.
By appointing Tribe leaders, you also offer the opportunity to build leadership skills at all levels of the organization.
Building tribes has minimal costs and can be systematized. It does not have to be over complicated and does wonders for the company morale.
The tribes can also create friendly competition to drive performance and camaraderie.
You care about your employees but eventually there are too many to reach out and touch each one as often as you would like. Tribes is a scalable methodology that will help you create a company that truly cares about and takes care of its employees.