Category: Communication

Communication Company Culture

How Glassdoor Re-Energized Their Sales Team To Beat Quotas

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This article originally published on Predictable Revenue.

Aaron Ross, of the award-winning, bestselling book Predictable Revenue, has been teaching companies how to double or triple (or more) new sales since he helped Salesforce grow from $5m to $100m. Now he’s turned his attention to building the software platform that will power the next wave of Cold Calling 2.0 teams. Check out Aaron’s latest work on How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue.

Has your sales manager ever gotten a standing ovation?

It’s more and more common to walk into a sales office these days, and see a bunch of big screen TVs around displaying live sales leaderboards. Sometimes they’re showing live monthly sales goals, sometimes live sales contests leaderboards.

Glassdoor is a free jobs & career community where employees post anonymous reviews of the companies where they work. Nick Boeka is a sales operations manager at Glassdoor. He wanted an easy way to better motivate and focus the sales team.

Nick found Hoopla, one of those apps that makes it easy to create contests and leaderboards to track and showcase rep performance on ESPN-like leaderboards on big screen TVs & computers around the office. Remote reps can view it all on their computers & mobile devices. Nick signed on with Hoopla, bought some HDTVs and had the application up and running the next day.

It integrates with Glassdoor’s salesforce.com system, streaming live sales updates as they happen straight from Salesforce to the TV screens. The televised challenges and leaderboards were an instant hit with the Glassdoor sales team.

“I’ve never gotten a standing ovation before, but that’s
what happened when we did the live presentation of Hoopla to the sales team,” says Nick.

Unlike the manual contests and updates Glassdoor used in the past, Nick found that broadcasting sales updates with an app had a much more powerful and immediate effect on the team’s performance.

Live leaderboards & contests helped increase the team’s sense of urgency + sales system adoption shot up

But putting in live leaderboards did more for Glassdoor than add some extra initial excitement. It helped push the company’s sales performance to new levels. For example:

Urgency:

    • Reps at Glassdoor went from hitting

85% of their goal of ‘appointments booked’ to hitting 125%

    • . “Reps who’ve been here awhile, who may have been getting complacent, are sparked again. I’ve heard them yell things like “John, I’m coming for you!” says Nick.

Engagement:

    • The “fun / live / visible” format doubled engagement. For example, Nick ran a “March Madness”-themed contest to track appointments set. With the new system, 100% of the team participated, compared to 50% of the team in the past.

Performance:

    • By focusing reps on key activities & goals, Glassdoor’s reps started consistently beating their quota; and even

newly ramping reps achieve 80% of quota

    • . “New reps immediately understand what they need to do to be successful, they can see it on the boards, which is very motivating,” Nick explains.

CRM Adoption:

    • Nick says Salesforce user adoption shot up. Why? If a rep doesn’t keep her stats current in Salesforce, he/she’ll soon lose her position on the leaderboards. As a result, the team went from tracking 70% to 100% of its key metrics in Salesforce.

(Whoa!)

 

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Communication Company Culture

Not Talking To Your Salespeople? You Should Be. Here’s How To Fix It.

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We need to talk. 

Well, we don’t. But you do. 

If you’re a sales manager or VP, and you’re not making an effort to regularly communicate with those folks in the field and on the phones—the engines that are in fact powering your sales force—then you’re making one of the most critical mistakes you can make in your managerial career.

Shawna Suckow, who speaks around the world on marketing and sales ideas, shared a startling revelation in one of her LinkedIn posts: “Almost without fail, when I speak to an audience of salespeople, I get the same feedback: ‘My boss doesn’t get it.’” And you know what? The truth is that you may in, actually, in fact, get it. But if your employees don’t feel like they’re being heard and understood, then your own self-knowledge isn’t going to be enough to keep them engaged and thriving within your organization. 

Why Bad Communication Is Deadly

We don’t always like to boil things down to brass tax. It can seem crude, or harsh—or maybe just an oversimplification. 

But the truth is, bad communication is a surefire way to drive revenue into the ground.  Bad communication leads to disengaged employees. And disengaged employees are at a much higher risk of leaving your organization than engaged ones. 

Sabrina Son, writing for TinyPulse, puts it plainly: “In many instances, even when a member of the sales team jumps ship, you’re still expected to meet your revenue goals and help grow your organization. Unfortunately, your existing team is probably already stretched pretty thin, so you may face some difficulty if you expect them to pinch hit for the departing colleague.”

In other words, by the time an employee has disengaged and left your organization, it’s already too late. You have to nip the problem in the bud before it becomes an issue that affects your entire team’s performance.

Why Good Communication Matters

And that’s why it’s not just about avoiding bad communication, but rather practicing—and even mastering—good communication. James Meincke over at CloserIQ reminds us that a VP’s job isn’t to be omniscient, rather it’s to be an advocate for the salespeople that you oversee: “You may not know everything all the time, but by actively fostering a working relationship based on open communication and trust with your team, you won’t need to.”

Meincke goes on to say the benefit of opening communication and being able to listen to those boots-on-the-ground folks is that you “can learn what problems plague the department and address them so that the team can sell.” In short, good communication between VPs, managers, and their sales staff is crucial because it empowers sales teams to, well, sell. And here’s how you can do that really well. 

Keep An Open Line

A lot of times, we fall into the trap of thinking that good communication starts and stops with setting some meetings at the start of our new tenure—and then running with that information for the next year or so, until review time comes around again.  But that’s exactly the problem. No, we’re not knocking the idea of an annual checking, but rather the idea of just stopping there. 

Having a formal time each year to talk about an employee’s job is in fact a great opportunity to talk about long-term goals, and realigning on various objectives—even simply setting expectations.  But along the way, employees will run into new problems, they’ll encounter new challenges both in and out of the office, and life will find a way of throwing those curveballs that it always seems to throw. 

If you’re not regularly checking in with your employees, you’re going to assume that the goals they laid out in January are the same goals they have in June. But maybe there’s a new home on the market, a new baby on the way, or a new meeting they had that’s caused them to see things with a new vision. 

Keep that line open, and those things all become challenges that you and your employees can work through together

Simplify It

Nobody likes meetings. Okay, there. We said it.  ATD’s Alexa Lemly says it best: “Don’t crowd their day with unnecessary demands such as bureaucratic issues or unnecessary meetings. Make sure your communication with your sales team is timely, simple and streamlined to allow them to focus on what’s most important to sales.

Sometimes when we hear “more communication” it translates to “more stuff that has communication in it.”  That undoubtedly leads to lots of email blasts, the aforementioned unnecessary meetings, and all sorts of other horrifying workday activities that merely “check the box” on communication, rather than provide a proper outlet for it. 

Instead, find ways to streamline your communication with your employees into their day—or in ways that can even improve their day!  One such example might be taking them out for lunch. They have to eat anyway—why not do it on the company dime, and get a chance to sit down one-on-one in a less stiff environment. It really can be that simple! 

When In Doubt, Do

At the end of the day, communication is a dance. We know that in our personal relationships—it takes practice, and work, and a lot of patience. So why would it be any different around the office (although, notedly, we hope that the content of your personal and work-related communication is quite different). 

And so our encouragement is to not be shy about communicating with your employees. Stop by their desk and have a quick check-in chat. If someone on your team is doing a great job—just tell them!  We here at Hoopla are no strangers to some good old fashioned recognition. So whether you’re broadcasting an employee’s big win or simply nodding at some nice work, take a page out of the sunshine band’s playbook: celebrate good times. Come on! 

The point is, give it a go. As we’ve made the case above, the time to start communicating well with your employees is now. So get out there and make it happen!

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Communication Company Culture

Ditch Your Email: 5 Reasons Every Office Should Prioritize Visual Communication

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Pop quiz: without looking, how many emails have you received today? Can you even begin to guess? Now, we’re not trying to pick on innocent old Email—but it’s a fact of our business lives that we receive dozens, if not hundreds, of emails every day.  From marketing messages to fantasy sports alerts to calendar invites, there’s no stopping the deluge of communication that flows through our inbox twenty-four hours a day.

So should we really be relying on email for all of our inter-office communication? You can see where this is going: no. Here at Hoopla, we’re digital signage junkies. We’ve spent years working with businesses and sales organizations of all shapes and sizes, honing our digital communication platform to be an industry standard-bearer.

And it’s not just about our product. We simply believe that visual communication is a deeply effective (and cost effective) way to transform your office culture and bring the best out of your employees. Here are a few reasons why:

We’re Visual Creatures in a Visual World

Think about just how much of our society has transitioned away from text and toward visual stimuli. The dominance of Instagram alone should tell you something about how we prioritize visual communication.

But beyond that, look at the way that advertisers have evolved.  Ever see an ad from a hundred years ago?  Today, it’s huge images and a handful of words—or better yet, it’s videos, and no text at all.

That’s in part because nearly two-thirds of the population are visual learners. That means that while we can certainly retain information in other ways, the most effective way to receive communication for most of us comes in the form of charts, pictures, infographics, and the like.

So how can you expect your employees to be ingesting huge volumes of text and retain that information when virtually no major advertiser expects the same? If your employees are your target audience, maybe it’s time to start thinking like a marketer when you communicate.

With a visual communication platform, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Rather than letting another email go unread in your employees’ inboxes or get lost in the cloud, you’re sending out quick and effective communication that gets to the point, and helps the point to sink in.

It Empowers Remote Workers

Beyond the benefits simply inside your own office, digital signage is a great way to communicate with your remote workers that can make them feel more included and part of the team.

Think about the simple difference between a phone call and a video chat. In one instance, you’re probably half tuned in, browsing your favorite [insert literally anything except your actual work here], or just joking around with a coworker who’s in the next cube over. But when you can see each other, and even make digital eye contact, there’s an elevated level of focus and attention that can give your remote employees the sense that they’re really with you.

Visual communication platforms have a similar effect. When you’re broadcasting the same message to remote employees that you are in the office—and they know it—there can be an immediate sense of pride and inclusion. Imagine seeing your big win posted for the whole office to admire!

Now that person’s not just another anonymous remote employee, they’re an integral part of the team.

It Engages Employees

While it may seem obvious, we often miss the connection between our daily communication and how it affects employee engagement. It’s sort of like when you’re talking to someone, and they’re responding, but you know that they aren’t really listening.

If we don’t think creatively about how we communicate with our employees, some of the traditional methods can become rote—and in the process, folks become disengaged. And when they lose touch with their coworkers and bosses, they begin to disengage with the work itself. Visual communication like digital signage, leaderboards, and even simple messages of recognition are the perfect way to get your employees out of that communication rut.

One key way that this manifests itself is in the concept of sales gamification. Rather than simply sending someone a report of their performance, weekly numbers, or even their quarterly goals, visual communication can turn a sales office into a healthily-competitive environment.

Your reps will be able to visualize not only their own numbers, but also how they compare to their coworkers. With a leaderboard, they’ll be able to see themselves moving up or down on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Suddenly, they aren’t just seeing numbers—they’re engaging with them.

It Aligns Everyone To Their Goals

And moreover, that gamification concept then bleeds over into giving your employees a broader sense of purpose in their role.

Ever play a new board game? You have that one eager friend who’s desperately trying to explain the rules to you, but no matter how much they say, there are just certain things that don’t click? For sales reps, a lot of their initial onboarding can feel the same way. You have to see the game in action—sometimes you even have to see someone else win—before you can fully grasp it.

When your employees engage with the work, and in turn better understand their roles, then they can more closely align themselves with personal goals—as well as, more broadly, the goals you have as an organization.

And when you and your employees are all aligned on the same goal, there’s no stopping you.

It Drives Performance

But, ultimately, what this comes down to is improved performance—both for the individual, and the company as a whole.

What we all dream of as managers is a room chock full of top-performers. So much of what we do in sales is driven by looking out for number one. But when we do that, we miss the opportunity to elevate the whole group. With visual communication, you’re simply reaching a broader audience with a focused message.  And that message is: our best quarters are yet to come.

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Communication Company Culture

Why is Visual Communication Important?

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Throughout our workdays, we encounter enormous amounts of communication from tons of different sources.  The unread emails sitting in your inbox or the quick “meeting” that your boss had with you on the way to the breakroom, these are all examples of communication. While verbal communication is seen as the end-all-be-all of communication in most instances, visual communication is growing in popularity – we’ve even spotlighted why you should use it.

What is ‘Visual Communication’ anyway?

Visual communication is exactly what it sounds like – communicating through visuals.  Think back to the last time someone gave you directions. Did that person explain it verbally? If they were complex directions, you might have been wondering if you should take the next left at Albuquerque. If the person took time to draw out a map, you now both had a frame of reference with which to work from, and even without referencing the map again directly you were probably able to find your way easier. Many presentations use visual communication in their slide decks to help convey messages, and to get the audience on the same page.

Why is Visual Communication Important?

Okay that explanation of visual communication is fine – but why is it important to use? Below we’ve outlined a few benefits to visual communication that make it a key part of any communication strategy.

It’s a Simple Way to Communicate

Visual communication can take complex concepts and relay them in a way that makes things easy for anyone to understand, no matter their geographic location, language or office environment. For example, sales statistics, having someone read them to you can be yawn inducing. But broadcasting that same data on a leaderboard suddenly changes it from something that people have to analyze to understand, to something that is immediately understandable.

It can be Beautiful

This may seem like an odd benefit to add to this list – beauty isn’t something that is quantifiable. However, it’s something that has been recognizable by humans since before recorded history. Even our earliest ancestors crafted symmetrical hand axes. With little practical benefit to the symmetry, it can only be deduced that people like things that are beautiful. Visual communication that is created with care can not only help communicate, but can help make people happier through adding beautiful detail.  This is part of the reason why we recommend adding a few TVs to your sales department.

Visual Communication is More Impactful and Engaging

The Creatly blog references this directly, “People only tend to remember 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read. However, they actually tend to remember 80% of what they see.” Utilizing visual aids when communicating to co-workers, managers or other departments can help those people retain the information. Not only that, because you all have a single shared base image to work from, it increases the impact on those teams. This helps everyone engage with the project and even bring up new innovative ideas to the table. So next time you are looking for a way to ensure that everyone is on the same page for a new project, try visual communication. It can help keep everyone aligned and moving toward the same goals.

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Communication Company Culture

Office Communication: 3 Key Tips to Make it Great

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Can you hear me now? Probably not, this is a blog post. But maybe you’re reading it on your laptop? Desktop? Smart phone? Tablet? Did your well-intentioned coworker email it to you? Is your boss reading this out loud to you and the entire team—to everyone’s horror—on a video conference call? Did your grandmother print it out and mail it to you? OK, definitely not the grandmother thing. But we digress…

There are probably too many ways to communicate these days. We have a plurality of devices, countless apps, and a lot of different personalities who prefer one over the other. The good news is there’s still hope for great office communication. And no, it’s not a group text. Instead, it’s got a lot more to do with the following three concepts:

Transparency

Transparency is a whole lot easier said than done. Transparency means being vulnerable, which can feel like taking a risk. But the real risk? Trying too hard to control the conversation. Writing for the Salesforce blog, Kelsey Jones shares the prudent warning that while “Many managers say they have an open-door policy… if employees feel like they aren’t being heard, they will hesitate to speak up, especially when they think what they have to say may not be what their manager wants to hear.

When we get too scared to share, it tells others that there isn’t space to share either. In essence, it closes the door before you even try to open it.

Instead, Kelsey goes on to advise that open-door transparency happens when you teach managers “how to be better listeners, as well as how to focus on the solutions instead of who to blame for what went wrong.”

Teamwork

If there’s one thing we can’t stop talking about on this blog, it’s the importance of developing a teamwork mindset at your office.

Sales, as we all know, can be an isolating world. We’re taught to always be on the defensive, and treat even our coworkers with trepidation. And that’s exactly the kind of mindset that can make communication toxic.

When you develop a team-oriented framework for your office, you’re creating a space where people feel safe to share, and inspired to lift each other up—because at the end of the day, you’re all working toward the same goal. And the success of one means success for the whole team. And that’s a win everyone can get behind.

And when you develop that sort of culture in your office, you’ll find that employees will open up in a whole new way, and be excited to communicate efficiently and effectively.

T…Overcommunication

OK, so it’s not exactly a “3-Ts” situation here, but we tried. And yes, we said overcommunication. But let’s not mistake overcommunication with careless communication. Trying to improve office communication by throwing verbal spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks does little good for anyone—spaghetti and wall included.

For example: according to a study by The Radicati Group, experts estimate that we’ll be sending 249 billion emails every day by the end of next year. Two-hundred forty-nine billion. It’s safe to a say a few are going to go unread.

So in other words, overcommunication does not mean spamming your employees about that upcoming conference call. It means that you’re sending carefully targeted (there’s the third T!) messages to employees in ways that they’ll actually receive them.

At the end of the day, great office communication starts with great listening: when you understand what your employees want, and how they best interact, you’ll find it’s all too easy to get the conversation flowing.  

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Communication Company Culture

The 6 Best Ways to Improve Communication at Work

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Good communication is important when you’re talking to family, friends, or even strangers. But in the workplace, effective communication plays a pivotal role in maintaining the delicate balance of a company. Choosing what to say at the appropriate time can increase company productivity, employee morale, and encourage a smoother workflow. On the other hand, bad communication in the office can lead to mismanaged projects and unhealthy employee relationships. Here are some of the 6 best ways you can improve communication in your office.

1. Listen Intently

It’s not all about the talking. Listening is probably the most important factor in good communication. Lend your ears to the person talking and refrain from thinking of an immediate rebuttal instead of listening.

Listen as they give you the details on their opinions or thoughts on a matter and then when they are done, you can proceed to respond. But if it’s not your turn to speak, do the respectful thing and really listen.

2. Body Language

Remember that communication isn’t always verbal. There are tons of studies that have shown that body language can affect the psychology of a social setting. Be aware of how you are presenting yourself in a situation and whether you are coming off open or closed. Are you putting your best face forward? Are you making direct eye contact or standing/sitting up straight? Did you honor the other person with a firm handshake? Take note of these things and pay attention to what you’re communicating through your body language.

3. Ask the Right Questions

Good questioning skills let someone know that 1) you were paying attention to them speaking and 2) you take a genuine interest in their explanation on the matter. Asking the right questions can help each party obtain critical information, provide direction for the conversation, or redirect conversation if it is necessary. Be sure the questions you ask promote a healthy, productive dialogue.

Avoid loaded, offensive questions like, “Does that make any sense?” Instead, use open-ended questions if you want a thorough conversation where you can explore the details of a situation together, or closed-ended questions if you want direct answers or need to refocus the conversation. Recognize that asking questions is one of your biggest tools in effective communication.

4. Confront and Control Negative Emotions

It’s easy to let negative emotions into a conversation, especially if it is a debate or you’re fast approaching a disagreement. Instead of avoiding the negative emotions, deal with them in a gentle manner. If you both parties are feeling negativity, take turns expressing the negative emotions and explaining where they are coming from. Try your best to detach from those emotions and keep your eyes focused on the larger conversation. Once you acknowledge the negative emotions, exercise control over them by talking it out.

If the negativity is coming from a miscommunication(which is often the case), patiently explain the situation from another perspective and offer suggestions on where the confusion might be coming from. Eliminating negativity might be a bit uncomfortable, but it is worth not letting the anger fester and take over the conversation.

5. Exchange Ideas

Finding a solution isn’t always easy, but exchanging ideas on how to resolve an issue can help speed up the process. Refrain from imposing your solutions on the other person. Instead, take turns exchanging ideas and perspectives to try to come up with something that is equally satisfying for everyone in the conversation. If you like part of someone’s idea, make sure to compliment them on it.

Remember that coming to a compromise shouldn’t be a battle between egos. Everyone just wants to find the best solution possible. And chances are, you are more likely to work toward a solution you helped develop instead of one that you feel completely detached from.

6. Stay Focused

Communication is so multi-dimensional that what should be a simple conversation can lead to a million different directions. Remember to stay focused and grounded in the conversation. Be clear about your intentions in engaging the other person, and established the common goal at the beginning of the conversation. You don’t need to spend ample time mauling over unnecessary details or unrelated feelings.

Make sure your engagement is direct, concise, and authentic, and you won’t have to worry about losing focus. Leveraging these steps can help keep communication in your office flowing, ensuring that everyone gets a chance to be heard and increasing engagement at your entire organization.

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Communication Company Culture Employee Engagement

Here’s How You Can Revamp Your Internal Communication Strategy

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It’s not easy to shake up old systems. Much of the last year in the news and around the business world has revolved around our ability (or inability) to make changes, revolutions, or disruptions in every industry. It seems like whether you’re an energy company or an energy drink, you can’t hide from a ravenous market of consumers hungry for something different. And on some level, you may be feeling that squeeze with your own employees.

Are you tired of the way messages are communicated in your office? Are you looking for a better way to get out your most important announcements, share news, and promote enthusiasm for the team’s work? You’re not the only one. And if you’re feeling stale about your internal comms strategy, here are few simple ways you can start shaking things up immediately. Give a few of these a shot this week, and see how it starts to change the conversation.  

Schedule, and Automate

While you may think that you’re doing your employees a favor by sending them one-off communications, it may actually be doing them a disservice.

Doug Belshaw, a technology consultant, says it like this: “Many managers are so busy spending time in meetings and doing their own work that they catch up with email whenever they can. Sometimes this can be late at night, or on the weekend… it puts pressure on the members of your team to be constantly available.” Start from scratch.

For the next month, spend the first part of each week drawing up a schedule of the communications you know you’ll need to send out, then draft them, and schedule them on your calendar to be pushed out. When you take preemptive measures to automatically push out content at a scheduled time and place, you optimize both your own time and your team’s time. Let’s make recognition a proactive thing. Scheduled and automated messages can go a long way. The thing is, we’re all human and prone to error. Work piles up and we forget to make the announcements we intend to. Say you’re a sales manager and need to remind your team to be prepped and dressed for an important client meeting, or maybe you’re in HR and need to remind everyone office-wide that enrollment for benefits opens next week. When your messages are scheduled to send at the time you need it to, it takes a lot of pressure off your already tight timeline.  

But Don’t Shy Away From Spontaneity

All that scheduling will make a big difference in freeing up your time to focus on performance management, or even prospecting, but that doesn’t mean you’re in a box now. A little bit of creativity can go a long way around the office, and being able to surprise your team with a new initiative, or even a small celebration, might mean a whole lot for morale. It’s not always about bonuses and rewards (although, those are nice as well). Celebrating individuals and teams for their progress and performance in the moment can actually create longer lasting impressions than rewards given out quarterly or yearly.

So don’t feel as if a quick shout-out in the office is a silly or fruitless endeavor. How engaged your team feels correlates directly to how well they perform, reinforcing good habits and turning them into long-term behaviors. Praise all, and praise often.  

Be More Collaborative

As most good leaders know, the real trick of leading well is knowing how to delegate. Collaboration is delegation without the power structure. If you’re struggling to reach your employees in a meaningful way, try to bring them into the fold of what you want to accomplish. Get everyone mutually invested, and watch how the conversation really begins to take off. If you’re not using a collaboration tool already, try Slack or Trello.

We’re in a digital age where collaboration happens at any time, any where. No longer are we playing email and phone tag, waiting for a response or approval on a minor detail. For an even more attention-grabbing reach, use a Slack integration to broadcast your messages on your TVs office-wide. It’s all about working together faster and smarter.  

Transparency Wins

Writing for Forbes, leadership expert Glenn Llopis explains to power of transparency in opening up not only communication, but also a whole new culture of creativity and productivity: “When leaders can be deliberate about their team profile and concerns – as it pertains to both individuals and the collective unit – this allows the group to mature together and find creative ways to discover the best mix/match to deliver on performance expectations.” Transparency seems like a no-brainer, but oftentimes can be a tricky – sometimes tedious – process.

How do you know what to share or when to share it? I’m not saying you need to spew out every number from the finance department, or every detail of your partner negotiations. Share what fosters growth, drive, and creativity. If you’re on the sales team, share your metrics and goal progress. If you’re on the customer success team, share news about customer renewals and churns. If you’re in marketing, share mentions in the press and how campaigns are going. With integrations that automate updates like these and more, there’s no excuse for having poor communication with your peers. When you promote transparency company-wide, across departments, trust happens and engagement grows.

If you want a communication strategy that not only opens up your team to fresh ideas, but also provides a healthy and productive culture of growth, err on the side being transparent. You may be amazed at what honesty, openness, and vulnerability can do for a team.

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Communication Company Culture Employee Engagement

How To Keep Your Most Important Messages From Being Buried In A Sea of Spam

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Most leaders struggle to ensure their messages are getting received and absorbed by their employees. With all the different incoming emails, your teams are getting bogged down by countless messages, from “very important” to “definitely junk.” So, how do you sift through the noise? According to a study by the app MailTime, 84% of people won’t fully read an email that’s longer than four paragraphs. The best way to deliver a message is to announce it right in front of them. If you’re not sure whether the right method for your team is making an announcement at a meeting, using a collaboration tool like Slack, or broadcasting information on TVs, try it all and find something that resonates with your team. As content consumers, our patience is waning. And if you’ve got messages, important updates, or other announcements that you’re sending out to employees on a daily basis, there’s no doubt some of their patience has waned, too. So here’s what you need to do to make sure your most important missives are truly being read.  

Keep It Short And Sweet

Here’s the hard truth, if the study by MailTime wasn’t clear enough: your team doesn’t want to read your note. At the end of the day, this communication is about you getting out need-to-know information in the most accessible, engaging, and efficient way as possible. And as such, “short and sweet” is about as applicable a term as you can find. Ryan Robinson says it plainly over on the blog at Hubspot: “I’m always careful to make very clear, exactly what I’m asking for. Assuming you’ve already established relevance and laid the foundation for a connection with your recipient, keep in mind that someone who’s extremely strapped for time doesn’t want to spend more of their precious time trying to determine the point of your email.”  

Make It A Conversation

With that in mind, your announcements should establish a cadence. Don’t just put out information that you expect your employees to absorb and move on. Give them a directive: ask them to respond to a specific question, or have a tangible ask that they can answer or carry out. If you’re just putting a thought out into cyberspace, it has a much higher chance of being forgotten. But if you give your team a directive, your note will be all the more present as they carry out the necessary task.  

Shake Up Your Delivery Methods

But maybe it’s not you, it’s just emails. This author certainly gets sick of emails, so it’s plausible to think there’s just too much noise in your employees’ days. Even something as simple as transitioning to a mobile platform can make all the difference. Did you know that 77% of U.S. adults now use smartphones (And for what it’s worth, the only demographic with 100% owning a cellphone? Millennials.)? How about sending out a celebration though mobile messaging instead of a 500 word email that only two of ten people will fully read? Email is not dead – but there are better ways. Broadcasting a Slack message onto your static TV screens is another way to go about it. Again, it’s about making information accessible, engaging, and as efficient as possible. If it takes putting announcements on TVs to get your team’s attention, it’s worth a try. The way that we read and consume information is rapidly changing. If you’re serious about creating communications that your employees actually see, it’s essential that you keep up.

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hooplaprod
Communication Company Culture

Here’s Why You Should Stop Using Email

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hooplaprod

How much of your day would you say you waste on seemingly useless tasks? Have you ever been caught in traffic, doing the math on how many hours of your life you could get back if you only lived a few miles closer to work? Maybe those meeting notes that you spend half your morning prepping for your team feel like just a waste of cloud storage? And don’t get me started on those weekly “touch-bases” that seem to happen with a few too many departments. In the ever-more-present age of integrated work and life, it’s important that we cut down on the inefficient. Surely you’re seeing workplaces try to cut out every unnecessary task they can–and yet, it still feels like we’re filling our days with more and more fluff. How do we make it stop? Let’s start by picking on an easy target: your email inbox. With the myriad solutions for modern messaging, from chat rooms to leaderboards, we’d like to make a compelling case as to why ditching your inbox may be the best business decision you can make. It can be tough to transition out of what is most familiar, or what is the most broadly accepted way of doing things. But let this be our challenge to you: if you are struggling to effectively communicate with your employees, take a chance on a new way of doing things. Here are just a few of the immediate benefits you’ll see when you ditch your inbox.  

Cut Out The Extra Step

What we’re not saying is that email is dead. As Rory J Knighton, a social media and content marketing specialist, shared on LinkedIn so succinctly: “what we’re talking about is not replacing email or even limiting it for external only comms, we’re looking at evolving communication internally to increase efficiency and productivity in the workspace.” The truth is there are just a few instances in the office where we’re still stuck in bad old habits. So let’s break them. Consider programs like Trello or Google Docs: they enable live tracking and editing on group projects, making for a more instantly-collaborative experience. Traditionally, when you want to share a document, you have to attach it, send it, have your coworker download it, highlight and make changes, then re-attach and send back. And that back and for continues potentially all week. But what if you could cut out five of those steps every time a new change is made? In the same way, a modern KPI dashboard can save you the hassle of sending out stack rankings or that weekly email you know no one’s reading anyway. When you opt for a broadcasting or dashboard platform over traditional emailing, you’re not just keeping up with the latest trends: you’re giving yourself back time every day and making sure your employees are getting the message faster. Finding programs that cut down on extra steps, and allow for more sharing and collaborating in real time, are a no-brainer. It’s really that simple: the longer you stay in your inbox, the more hours you’re adding to your day.  

Cut Down On The Noise

Speaking of emails that nobody reads, how many new messages have popped into your inbox since you’ve started reading this post? How many times have you found yourself back from a quick break, already behind on the conversation thread that’s now 20 messages long? Any more than “once” is probably too many. The problem isn’t simply that this noise is annoying (which it definitely is), but it’s actually making us dramatically less productive. Generally speaking, there are a very limited number of tools that that can help us to discern how important a new email is–and so more or less, we’re spending the same amount of time processing every new message. And that automatically eats into the time you should be spending on your top priorities. Greg Mckeown, a LinkedIn influencer and New York Times best-selling author, said it like this for Entrepreneur: “Requests come at us from all angles and we are unprepared to discern between them. As a result, we start saying yes to them without really thinking. This fuels a busyness cycle where the more we take on the less time we have to discern what we should take on.” The truth is, while your inbox can be a hub for important messages, and has historically been an excellent tool for communicating with a broad group of people, it’s probably feeding your “busyness cycle.” One solution is to change your traffic patterns, so to speak. If you have a key set of communications that you’ve assigned higher importance, and are sending them out regularly, trying moving to a visualization-based platform. Trends in social media have shown us time and time again that Millennials are more visual workers–so adapt! At the end of the day, your priority as a manager should be clear: get the message out most clearly and effectively. And in truth, email is decreasingly the best way to do that.  

Cut Through The Confusion

Direct communication trumps all. We may be most comfortable with email, but what matters most is that everyone is one the same page. HBR notes that when employees are engaged, the average company sees a 22% boost in productivity. But “engagement” is just a buzzword, right? Actually, that article has a pretty succinct definition. Engaged employees are: “People who want to come to work, understand their jobs, and know how their work contributes to the success of the organization.” At its heart, engagement is rooted in understanding. And It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that: when people know what they need to do, they are more productive. And looking at employee engagement numbers, it seems pretty clear that most people don’t. So doesn’t it make sense that it’s time to shake things up in the way that we communicate? Don’t put yourself in an (in)box. There are a lot of creative alternatives to email that can help you to communicate more clearly, better prioritize your day, and shave serious hours off your week. Don’t be afraid to give some a shot!

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hooplaprod
Communication Company Culture Employee Engagement

3 Reasons Digital Signage Boosts Employee Engagement

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hooplaprod

If you feel like your employees aren’t as engaged as they should be, don’t worry — you’re not alone. And it’s not a matter of finding a new workforce. There are simple, small changes that you can make right now that can have long-term impact for your entire office. Start with digital signage (in it’s most common forms – a TV or monitor display). And if you’re wary of introducing another toy that you’re afraid won’t make an impact in the way you want, here are a handful of reasons you may want to try incorporating digital signage into your office before you knock it.  

Interactive Memos Beat Paper Every Time

So why wouldn’t that hold true at work? The difference is that we’re already inundated with email after email, prompt after prompt. So how do you break through the noise? Start by taking a page out of the social media playbook: stop being a hoarder. You may have proofread that announcement for a few hours longer than you should have, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be framed in everyone’s cube. With a digital signage system, you can throw up a message any time, and take it down when you’re done. Out of sight, out of mind, and onto the next one. There’s a reason why instant messaging and collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft’s Teams, and Facebook’s Workplace are dominating the workplace intranet. Casual, informal, digital communication takes away the tediousness of paper memos and carefully (time-wasting) curated reports. Integrations with tools such as Slack and Zapier are popping up more and more to help make work happen even faster.  

Everyone’s On The Same Page

Create alignment: Display company goals (OKRs) and KPIs to keep everyone the same page. The Business blog at salary.com says it plainly:  

“Many employees are focused on their immediate tasks, and need to see how they contribute to overall corporate strategy in order to understand company priorities.”   OKRs, when combined with digital signage, keep your company’s — and even on an individual level — objectives and key results top of mind. The publicness of the key metrics and progress data shared engages employees by helping them see how they really contribute to the big picture. Simply put, digital signage delivers timely messages when your employees need them the most.  

 

You’re In Total Control

Not that you’re turning your office into an authoritarian regime, but we all know how precious the time and energy we spend on communication is, and how much we’d love to get those hours back. You don’t want to be stuck in an endless cycle of the telephone game—relaying messages that often get skewed or forgotten. When you have a smart digital signage system in place, you put the control back into your own hands. Want to recognize someone’s spur-of-the-moment win? No need to wait—just throw it up on the screen. Want to change direction from what you originally posted in the morning? Just take it down and start over. CRM integrations let you easily broadcast your key metrics automatically and in real time so you don’t waste time with dry reports.  

  When you put the right system in place, you’re no longer cemented to the decisions you made on Monday morning. Instead, you can be empowered to make real-time decisions, and enjoy live messaging with your employees, whether you’re down on the floor to chat or not.

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