Businesses facing bottlenecks and broken process can often find solutions by looking at workflow and culture within the organization.
Below are the four most common areas that contribute to the systemic and structural problems many organizations face during fast growth and scaling. We call them the Four Pillars of Internal Communications - the What, Where, When, and How of information sharing.
If your team is suffering from communication overload or experiencing burnout and the "brain drain" that accompanies remote work, assess the efficacy of your policies surrounding the following:
What you Communicate
Clarify, for yourself and your team, the most frequent forms of communication and information that you share.
- Status updates
- Work product
Where you Communicate
Perform a platform assessment to make sure the team uses each communication channel in a consistent and standardized manner.
- Text/What’s App
- Project management platforms (Asana, Trello, etc.)
- Video chat (Skype, Zoom, Loom)
- Group spaces/portals (SharePoint, Intranet)
- IM/DM, Teams
- Doc comments/shared docs (G Suite, Office)
When you Communicate
In order to set expectations, and to prevent burnout, it's important that your team understands not just when you expect a reply, but that you expect them to disengage as well. This encourages teams to take a break and explicitly gives permission for them to balance work and life.
- Office hours
- Frequency (summary communication vs. drip, drip, drip)
- "Dark" hours
How you Communicate
These are the expectations you have for the tone, content, and messaging among your team. It is important to clarify what "works" and what doesn't within internally as well as externally. If you want your team to develop the valuable 'shorthand' that allows them to react quickly, pay attention to direct communication between individuals.
- Subject line practices
- Answering in-line
- Bullet points
- Rules for ALL CAPS
- Internal vs external (your preferred platforms or theirs)
If you take the time to review your policies surrounding these four pillars, you will be able to recognize where the most frequent breakdowns occur before they become a crisis.