Strong communication practices have always been important but now that we’re all working remotely, they can be the make-or-break factor for successful team dynamics. To help you keep your managers and teammates up to speed with your organization’s communication culture, we put together a fun A-Z list of best practices for good communication.
A is for actions
Words are good, but actions are better. Make sure your people understand the value (and impact) of their actions and non-actions. None of us are working on an island; to succeed, we need everyone to show up and give their all.
B is for benefits
Especially in these lean times, with many of us needing to cut budgets, benefits are a great way to recruit and retain top talent. The best benefits packages are the ones that suit your employees’ wants and needs—to figure those out, check out our guide to what your employees really want.
C is for culture
Communication practices are a small part of your organization’s culture—the “it” factor that makes your company special. Building a communication-focused culture will help your people and managers develop strong bonds and connections so they can speak openly and candidly, and collaborate as effectively as possible.
D is for diversity
Companies with diverse teams perform better. By prioritizing diverse hiring, you’ll introduce a wide variety of opinions and experiences into your meeting rooms. By prioritizing diverse communication, you’ll make sure that all of your people are heard.
E is for engagement
Employees who feel heard by management and HR are more likely to be engaged and productive—so invest in listening! Take the time to get to know the people on your teams and hear their thoughts and concerns. By investing time in developing engagement-forward communication practices, you’ll show your employees how important they are and help them do their best work.
F is for feedback
If you want your employees to keep learning and growing, invest in thoughtful feedback. Encourage managers to regularly meet with employees to discuss performance and growth, so employees can stay on track towards personal goals and teams can aim for the stars.
G is for gratitude
If you value your people, tell them! Don’t wait until they’re gone (or leaving) to let them know how you feel. Promote employee recognition among managers and leadership to keep your people feeling valued and engaged.
H is for health and safety
In this strange pandemic reality, HR needs to be more on top of health and safety practices than ever. From Clorox wipes to temperature checks, workplace health and safety has changed forever, and you’re in charge. To keep your people feeling safe and secure, keep them updated on changing standards and regulations—both in and out of the office. (Want to learn more about back-to-the-office healthy and safety? Check out our guide to returning to the office after lockdown.)
I is for inclusion
Office communication only works when everyone is heard. Inclusive cultures elevate every voice in the office, regardless of title or identity. If you want to foster empathic communication at your organization, make sure you’re building an inclusive culture where everyone is encouraged to speak.
J is for job description
If you want to retain your top talent, start with the job description. Writing accurate job descriptions will help you recruit the best people for the job, build stronger teams, and encourage healthy collaboration and communication.
K is for knowledge exchange
Celebrate your employees’ unique skills by inviting them to give talks and run workshops about the things they’re passionate about! Promoting knowledge exchange will help your people grow to trust each other and develop not-just-work-related bonds.
L is for listening
Communicating is not just about talking—sometimes, it’s more about listening. Encourage managers and employees to take some quiet time in their meetings and listen to others.
M is for meetings
Especially while working remotely, meetings can be the basis of inter-team communication. Building a healthy meeting culture will help you develop the building blocks of strong organization-wide communication practices that value every employee.
N is for nonverbal communication
Non-verbal communication a universal language. If someone is trying to speak with you, whether you’re an HR person, a manager, or an employee, please always stop what you’re doing, look away from the computer, and absorb what this person is telling you beyond the words coming out of their mouths.
O is for onboarding
Company culture starts with onboarding. By baking healthy communication practices into your onboarding process, you’ll make sure that the culture your new hire meets is built on healthy communication.
P is for performance management
Performance reviews can be scary for some employees, so honest, transparent communication is key. Make sure you tell the employee the key things that you’re going to bring up and give them a chance to come up with a response that they can include in their part of the review.
Q is for asking questions
Asking questions is a powerful tool for understanding your team and what motivates and excites them. Check-in with regular surveys and polls to get an idea of how employees are feeling and how you can support them.
R is for recognition
So nice, we wrote it twice. Make sure your employees know how valued they are, both as people and as teammates. It’s important.
S is for stand-up meetings
Keep teammates informed of each others’ activities by scheduling regular stand-up meetings. Practicing candid communication will help teammates frow to trust each other and learn to collaborate.
T is for teachable moments
When employees are having a conflict, try to turn their issues into a teachable moment. Adapt your communication strategy to differences of opinion to help your people learn to respect each other, even when times are hard.
U is for unbiased
It’s natural to have a favorite employee. Keep that to yourself.
V is for voicing your opinion
Lead by example by using your voice. If you want to build a culture of candor, be candid yourself. Take the time to get to know people and have honest discussions. Let your voice be heard.
W is for work-life balance
Healthy communication employs boundaries. To keep your culture healthy, you have to turn it off on nights and weekends. Make sure employees know that off-hours mean off-hours and that your communication practices don’t include late-night Slack messages.
X is for x-ray vision
You don’t have it! You don’t know what other people are thinking. Make sure you ask them instead of assuming you already know what they mean.
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Y is for your role in building culture
Remember that, to your employees, HR represents the company. Your actions impact the company as a whole and every person in it. Use your power wisely.
Z is for zombies
Don’t allow your employees to turn into zombies; dying with boredom. Everyone deserves to have an interesting job, whatever their position. Make sure you know everyone’s needs and likes and try to make them part of projects where those interests have a chance to come to the forefront.