By Amita Baheti
Start-ups generally assume that good internal communication is a natural product of a small, young, vibrant team. Often communicating and sharing information with colleagues is overlooked as most of us work hard to build beautiful products and wonderful services. The focus is on warding off challenges, striking off numbers and fire fighting with situations; and more often than not, the more subtle (yet essential) messages get missed.
Interacting with your team facilitates:
- Trust within.
- The communication that needs to flow out.
- Absorption of ideas which are vital.
Good internal communication is not just about town halls and major company announcements but it’s an ongoing, open dialogue (formal or informal) between all those who ‘need to know’. I bring to you 7 easy ways for start-ups to connect with their teams.
1) Create a Blog. Enhance it to a V-Blog.
Create animated characters or tell a story via videos. You may record fun interviews with your team member and deliver a subtle message or ask your Finance team to teach a life hack to save taxes! Share these videos internally or on the blog; and make it interactive by letting employees (or regular readers) comment, like and share.
2) Knock down office walls
Drop a colleague home who is going the same way or call for an impromptu dinner to the resto-bar in the next lane. Join gym together or how about some soccer time on weekends? Be present out there. Engaging in activities beyond work fosters relationship and builds trust.
3) Conduct stand-ups!
A 10 minute stand up meeting at the commencement of day or at the beginning of a shift goes a long way in keeping communication an ongoing process. A brief meeting with your team, providing just key updates and a to-do list is effective in reinforcing values, purpose and targets – individual and organizational.
4) Organise a book-a-thon
The team-lead or the CEO can let out a book to 5 people. Each one prepares a review of a chapter and conducts a joint session to be talked about over a cup of coffee. This exercise will enable the team to learn the business concepts, language, management skills and strategy which you would want them to emulate. Read outside the emails to think outside the box!
5) Write personal notes!
Why don’t you stop coding over that MAC and write a personal note to a team member? It can be a simple, whacky one liner or a genuine “How exciting those numbers looked in your presentation!” Indira Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, went to the extent of writing letters to employees’ parents thanking them for the beautiful gift of their child! This gesture is bound to create ripples of emotions and tons of loyalty.
May be you can simply have a message board in the centre of the office. Anyone can put up anything they like once in a while, to add a bit of humor, crack an internal office joke or may be to compliment someone.
Creates a great vibe in the office. It’s known!
6) Generate warmth
John Neffinger, the author of Compelling People, writes, “Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you.” Foster warmth. Warmth is not easy to fake and a polite smile fools no one. Even a few small nonverbal signals—a nod or a smile, can show people that you’re pleased to be in their company and attentive to their concerns.
Works well when you are trying to foster team-work as second nature amongst your team.
7) Weekly updates over lunch
Meet weekly to share updates and progress as an organisation. Club it with a lunch (or preferably a lot of desserts) or may be mocktails! Celebrate wins and acknowledge losses. It’s a great way to recap the week and set the stage for the week to follow.
Leaving you with a video that Saurabh shared with all of us at the beginning of this week. This blogpost was the result of the inspiration I gathered by watching this video! You see, it works!
About Amita Baheti
Amita is a potato-lover and works at Holachef. You can follow her on Twitter at @AmitaBaheti