The Workplace - October 2018

The Workplace - Guy HaywardWhat holds our businesses – well, good businesses – together? I have thought for many years now that it is about communication and the art of speaking to our people. The willingness to share ‘everything’ in the spectrum of the good the bad and the ugly is what creates trust.

“The old-school style of communication can work, but it must now also complement how we use technology”

Offices have changed from the days depicted in Mad Men, of gossip, miscommunication and whispering. We’ve all probably worked in those environments, and they are horrid – as are long, thesis-style emails.

We want messages that are brief, to the point, yet with all the relevant content and we want it now, with speed, direct to our hand-held devices that are so important in feeling connected to today’s world. Who would have thought that networking and collaboration tools such as Yammer and Slack would be able to connect entire organisations, where email and intranet have failed for years?

Recent research published by Cass Business School suggests that poor communication is costing UK businesses £2.7bn a year. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is so much we can all be doing: from an open-door policy to staff surveys, from internal comms emails to television screens around the office. Our regular emails, which celebrate individual successes, promotions and good service, don’t just make our employees feel valued; they also give others something to strive for. Share everything in the pursuit of complete transparency, so your people know what’s going on.

Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, records every meeting and makes the recordings available to all employees. Why? Because the company’s CEO sees this as the ultimate communication vehicle, a learning tool that illustrates how decisions are made and encourages precise thinking.

I liked my weekly blog that I would send to the business – it was a great way to share an update on our performance and good news stories and to celebrate successes. However, I still felt we could go further. Now a different person writes it every week, and it’s a wonderful way for each team to share what they have been up to. It’s proven that this old-school style of communication can work, but it must now also complement how we use technology.

The landscape of internal communications continues to change. If as a sector we continue to recognise that, we have an opportunity to reduce the turnover levels that are so often associated with our sector.

Lush, the British cosmetics company, communicates direct to its people’s phones only using Slack, and doesn’t use email. Imagine if we did that ourselves: direct, clear, concise and visually stimulating communication.

And what can I say about emojis? Well it’s a new language in the modern world, we all use them, they are easy to understand, and they connect everyone, with a feeling of familiarity. Are they right for the workplace? 100% they are.

Guy Hayward –redefining the modern workplace CEO, Goodman Masson

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