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From Corporate - Edition #1

Our round-up of the best stories surrounding communication in the workplace (and indeed the world).

ScreenCloud Post

Please note: From Corporate is now The Connected Company. If you’re interested in receiving insightful stories and articles on the future of work every month, sign up here.

At ScreenCloud we’re fascinated by the way people communicate, especially while at work. From the colleague who sticks a passive-aggressive note to your lunchbox, to the IT person who’s so desperate to find a way to communicate better that he spends eight years searching for a solution (true story). To that end, we’re always searching for “food for thought” from the world of internal communications. We read blogs, check out books, and share everything we love in our Slack channel #FoodForThought.

But why should you miss out? Each month, we’ll be rounding up the must-reads of the communication world and sharing them with you right here.

Your values aren’t hitting home

According to a Gallup poll, only 27% of U.S. employees believe in their company’s values. That leaves a, quite troubling, 63% who don’t. The results are two-pronged: the most useful definitions of culture are “simple and actionable” and most companies fail at this. Secondly, cultures need to be “clearly defined, quantified, and intentionally managed”.

This poses a question on how we manifest those company values: in a written employee handbook no one will ever read? In a sign on the wall? The study suggests that most employers don’t see culture as a standalone program and maybe we should? After all, you wouldn’t write your company’s marketing values and stick them to a bit of paper on the wall expecting customers to read them, so why do we treat the way we market to employees so differently?

The importance of images in communication

As well as being beautifully illustrated, this Medium blog by Ralph Ammer put into words something we’ve been considering for a while when it comes to communication. While Ammer is talking about when an ‘idea’ becomes an actuality, it also shows why we need visuals to make information stick:

“If we want to know what a text means then we actually have to read it — from beginning to end. And once we have done that, the words quickly vanish in a grey texture again. It is easy to forget them. Text is only present while you are reading it, it is a structure in time.

Images are structures in space. They are always right there and can be recognized immediately. These anchors in space amidst the flow of words in time help us remember what the text is about.”

Which begs the question, when it comes to communication why are we only using Slack messages, email, newsletters, documents, websites, and workbooks to provide information? All of which, other than a few images thrown in for fun, are text-based with little “sticking” power.

It’s exactly why we’re working towards screens as the next method of communication here at ScreenCloud. Screens are a great medium to communicate because they’re visual hence, they’re structures in space. Yes, that blew our minds too.

Show and tell

We loved this blog from Caroline Hey at Ragan on why we all need to go back to kindergarten to learn how to communicate. Employees are bored of being spoken at and this suggests a presentation style that’s all about show and tell. By telling stories, employing “props” and getting hands-on with a subject, we can provide true understanding. We’re big fans of using stories to get our point across at ScreenCloud (apparently all the best communicators are, but who are we to boost) so an object-first show and tell approach is certainly one we’ll be trying.

The rest is padding

According to US researcher Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, who wrote the book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, (interesting interview here) modern employees only have four hours of productivity in each day. The rest of the time is padding. After working in Silicon Valley for 15 years he achieved classic burnout and has since questioned what it is that actually produces good work. He suggests that we replace the non-productive hours with rest, play, and activities like walking or exercise.

Engaging the mythical remote worker

Given that the majority of our workforce at ScreenCloud is distributed (15 different countries at our last count), we love looking at how better to communicate across a remote team. This guide from Contact Monkey suggests it’s not enough to send an email to someone working 30,000 miles away. Instead, featuring employees in your internal communications, using gamification to help them feel a part of the team and even starting a podcast just for internal communications are all much more effective methods.

Rip your pitch apart

As well as being able to communicate with employees, getting investors on board is a big part of the startup journey. Which is why we loved this article on advice from startup founders when it comes to pitching. With wisdom bombs such as “Spend more time on the first sentence than you think you should” and “give your intuition the last word” we reckon we’re going to nail our next big talk!

Giving bad feedback (badly)

Know Your Company wrote this post on why the “shit sandwich” approach of giving feedback just doesn’t work. In a nutshell, if you sandwich a piece of criticism between two pieces of praise, the praise seems fake and the criticism still isn’t any easier for the employee to take on. If you agree (we do), then this follow-up post also gives you a framework for giving criticism in a more effective way.

Internal wikis: what’s good?

As if social media networks aren’t monopolizing enough of our time, not they want to get in on the business game too. This week we wanted to find the best short guides to tools such as Workplace by Facebook and Yammer to help you make an informed decision on whether another internal communication network could be good for your company.

We also liked the look of Jostle, but couldn’t find any third-party reviews/guides so we’ll let you make your own mind up about that one.

If you liked these stories and would like to see more of them, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

 SC Gradient

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