When was the last time you heard someone misunderstand a conversation? Whether directive or off-hand humor, it required clarification and maybe an apology to get things back on track.
In an international startup, with remote workers all over the world, it’s even more important that effective communication skills are at the heart of your company culture. After all, a mix of backgrounds and perspectives increases the potential for hurt feelings.
Startup culture requires clear and straightforward communication due to the fast-paced nature of the work. Your tech startup may be operating fully remote, hybrid, or office-based. No matter which is your normal, the quality of your team communication impacts collaboration, talent attraction, and employee mental health or engagement.
What’s in your communication toolbox?
Good communication skills are an essential soft skill. Effective communication goes beyond being a “people person” or being active on messaging apps. Instead, it’s an array of skills including empathy, listening, honesty, respect, confidence, and a host more. You can always learn new ways to collaborate, brainstorm or explore different ways to transfer information.
Here are some tips for creating a thriving startup culture:
1 – Schedule virtual coffees
You can make it a habit to incorporate a one-on-one catch-up call at least once a week with another member of your team or startup. 30-minute check-in calls can go a long way toward building those crucial team relationships.
2 – Set clear expectations
One frustration with tech startup employees is frequently shifting priorities. If the job is fighting fires, it’s tough to feel that you’re learning, growing, and contributing. Set clear goals and communicate if anything changes to avoid frustration.
3 – Set “office hours”
Startup culture thrives when people trust one another and have fun in the process! One way to encourage such an environment, especially when remote working, is to establish specific times when your “door is open” for a light chat or discussion. This way, you’re accessible, but people aren’t interrupting you during focused work.
4 – Send update emails regularly
This might sound “fluffy,” but done well, it serves to keep employees in the know about what’s happening. For example, the CEO of the customer communication tool, Front, sends two emails a week. In the early days, it was revenue-based, and every day she shared where the company was, what happened yesterday, and what would happen next. Now that the company is more mature, the emails are twice a week but still geared towards keeping employees in the know.
5 – Encourage feedback
Every employee has valuable feedback. The sales and customer support teams have a lot to offer startups. From noticing specific questions that pop up repeatedly to being aware of a backlog of applications, they can help you spot bottlenecks before disaster strikes. Employees may not feel comfortable bringing these forward, so make it your mission to actively seek out their feedback.
What’s the role of tech in your startup?
Every international startup has its own workflow. Some have a tech stack with a dozen pieces of software, yet, a bigger tech stack doesn’t mean better communication. Sometimes it’s better to cull the technology you use to a minimum. BOOM is a fully remote company currently using Asana, Slack, and Miro to help get the work done and to ensure the whole team is up to speed and supported.
Which software tools enhance your job? For example, if you manage content creation for your company, your team might need a visual production platform to manage assignments.
Good communication skills are the backbone of any collaboration. Open lines of communication, clear expectations, and intelligent use of technology will improve productivity and talent attraction for your startup.
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