Communication at work – how we do it at Sparkbit!
Some time ago, we took part in a large IT conference. Thousands of participants and plenty of technical lectures. You have no idea what a surprise it was for us when it turned out that the most popular lecture was the one about … communication! It seems that even the organizers were surprised and did not expect such an interest as a lot of attendees sat on the floor.
It was such a shock for us that we started to analyze the communication at our company. It was so obvious that it is an extremely important matter for the IT people. We were wondering how we communicate at Sparkbit and whether we are doing it well. Are our employees satisfied? Are they able to express their needs and feel comfortable at our company?
Let’s try to answer this question together!
Communication at work – why is it so important?
Before we get to the point of our today’s consideration, there is another important question we need to answer first – why is communication so important? You may think that this subject is a little bit trite these days. However, it turns out that many people still have communication and social barriers that impede their work life and even prevent their professional development.
For sure many different issues comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “communication at work”. But the most significant are, in our opinion, two levels of understanding – between the employer and individual employees, but also between particular team members. That is why we try to look after and build the healthy relationships in both of these areas at the same time.
How we do it at Sparkbit?
Ok, it is high time to tell you how we do it at Sparkbit!
We are an IT company so no one should be surprised that we communicate mainly on the Internet. We rarely use the mobile phones. Oh well, maybe just to write someone off the slack. Mail? Only to provide the most important and more official information. But on the daily basis, Slack is the winner. We are not original in any way. But, frankly speaking, we do not see any sense in changing something that works in so many companies. Of course, we got the channels dedicated to the specific topics – there are those more serious to communicate with the customers, our internal ones for “office” announcements and linking interesting articles, but also those for entertainment. Do you want to tell someone something or ask something? 30 seconds and the matter is settled.
Common daily breakfast
Now Sparkbit has got two offices located next to each other but in everyday life there is not always enough time to visit the “neighbors” from the office next door. When we were thinking about the ways to solve this problem and integrate both offices, we came up with a brilliant idea – COMMON BREAKFAST! To be fair we organize them alternately – on Mondays we eat in the old office, on Tuesdays in the new one, and so on. Our breakfast is a 2 in 1. You can eat a delicious sandwich, drink coffee and gossip a moment with colleagues. Only benefits!
It is not a big deal for us to find the reason to meet after work! We organize picnics, the boarding games evening, or just go out to have a beer together. We really care about a friendly atmosphere so we invite whole families, partners and children to many of these meetings. For us, the equation is simple – the more integrated an employee, the more motivated to work, and thus achieving better and more efficient results. Because working with friends is a pure pleasure!
Weekly team meetings
Ok, our team is already well integrated. While having the morning snacks and coffee, we are discussing more private staff. But we work in small project teams and let’s face it, we do not always know what our colleague from the next room is working at. That’s why we made a decision to organize weekly meetings of the whole team. So far Wednesday’s meetings become our little tradition. It takes just half an hour, and how much we win! Most probably now you are wondering how such meeting looks like. We start with the presentation of our projects. Every week we assign two teams to tell us what has happened recently in their project and what they are currently working on. Each team has 10 minutes. You can also have a lightning talk. What is that? It’s just a short, few minute speech on any topic. You can tell us about an interesting tool or application that you have recently discovered, how you solved a problem or you just read something interesting recently and want to share it with us (of course we are discussing IT topics :)). The second part of the meeting is related to office issues. We tell what is new in administrative or marketing matters. Our most important principle? No secrets. The management shares with the team information on newly acquired clients or current recruitments. You can ask for everything – you will definitely get the answer! We want every member of the team to know what is going on in the company and what are the plans for the near future. After all, nothing disturbs the atmosphere as much as the lack of information flow. It only gives you unnecessary gossip, and we do not need it to be happy!
My kudos goes to…
Do you want to thank or praise someone for something? Just give him a kudos! It can’t be more simple. Inspired by the popular kudo-cards, we have created our own internal system to reward each other. How does it work? You log in to the app, enter whom and for what you want to give a kudos, press enter and that’s it! Kudos is awarded publicly, so everyone can see the awarded one. Receiving kudos is always a pleasant surprise and a guarantee of a smile on the face of at least one person. Kudos can be awarded to anyone – a colleague, boss or subordinate. It’s also a great way to thank your employees for their commitment.
1 on 1 talks
Last but not least, how to care about good boss -employee relations? Our board takes part in our common breakfast, integration meetings and is very active on Slack channels. But that’s not all! The Sparkbit board does its best to make sure that their communication with employees is at the possibly highest level. We regulary (quarterly) organize 1 on 1 meetings during which every employee has the opportunity to share his or her opinion on working at Sparkbit. It is the time and place to talk about your mutual expectations, get an evaluation of your work and indicate the directions in which you would like to develop. Don’t you want to wait three months for another conversation? You can ask for such a meeting at any time! At Sparkbit, we know that the basis of a good atmosphere at work are mutual understanding and good communication and that’s why we always listen to what you would like to say to us.
Developers are famous for their introverted nature. Who has not heard a joke about them? It has almost become a legend. Is it true? Not completely. We believe that this is a very individual matter and should not be generalized. Nevertheless, it is worthy, in each environment, to ensure the best possible interpersonal relations. To create a workplace where they feel at ease and will not be reluctant to express their opinions, their needs and ask questions that bother them.
It would seem that the subject of communication at work has already been exhausted but it turns out that for many people it is still an extremely important issue. Do not forget that good communication is a basis to resolve conflicts which may happen even in the best-integrated teams.
Therefore, the main principles that guide us are honesty, conversation, transparency of information and mutual trust. It sounds like a slogan, but without these values, we would not be able to create such a good team as Sparkbit.