Bridging the Horizontal Divide between Leadership and Your Frontline
An interview with Elizabeth Baskin, Founder of Tribe, an internal communications consultancy in advance of her presentation to IABC Atlanta’s monthly luncheon chapter.
Silos occur in every organization, from the small start-up to large, global corporations.
“You read a lot about vertical silos in companies, meaning the disconnect between employees in different departments, business units or geographic locations,” explained Elizabeth Baskin, CEO and executive creative director for Tribe, Inc., an internal communications and branding agency focused entirely on developing internal brands.
“In Tribe’s national research on functional silos, employees often talked about what we call the horizontal silo, the chasm between the top company management and everybody else.”
According to Baskin, these silos are very common in companies with a large number of non-desk employees, and “manufacturing and retail, have a harder time with this because it’s more difficult to create communication channels between corporate and those employees without dedicated computers,” she said.
However, it can be just as big of a divide within companies with “deskbound” employees, too. “The culture of the company also is a factor, as well as the communication style of the leadership,” Baskin added.
And if bridging the gap between the C-suite and the rest of the company were an easy task, communications professionals would not be having this conversation.
“It is a daunting task, but that doesn’t make a very good excuse for not doing it,” Baskin added. “Tribe recommends spending some time in the actual work environment of those front-line employees to identify possible touch points, like where are they physically when they’re working? Is it noisy? Are they sitting or standing? Are they outside? Driving a truck? Where do they go when they take their breaks?”
“You have to be creative in thinking of communication channels for this group,” she said.
More about Elizabeth and Tribe
Elizabeth Baskin founded Tribe in 2002, an internal communications agency focused in developing strategic plans to build employee engagement and the internal brand. She founded Tribe in 2002 as a branding boutique and quickly grew the business to a $5 million company. In 2009, she launched Starter Cards LLC, a division of Tribe, to create content such as the Start Your Own Company iPhone application and the Social Media for Old Folks webinars.