At Talk Shop, a big part of our office culture is how we come together as a team. Through the transition to being a hybrid workforce, with half of our employees in the office and half working remote, we have had to redefine the way we connect. As explained by Garth Jackson, the chair of our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (EDI), internal team communication plays a major role in making people feel appreciated and part of the team.
Too often, we start our communication ‘slack-attack’ with questions, headlines, documents, and proposals. And we do all of this before saying a simple and friendly “Hello.”
“Hello” can lead to conversation and wondering how our colleagues are doing, “Hello! Hope you had a great time at the cabin this weekend! Here are the docs….”
It really is THAT basic. But we have forgotten to be polite. Start today. A greeting shows your colleague you value them as human beings, not simply someone to produce documents and move projects along.
This simple, intentional start to your communication with others will naturally get to a place where you may say:
“Rimple! Great job today; I cannot wait to see the results.”
“Have a good night, Jose.”
“Alba, great effort today! I know we have a couple of big days ahead, and I wanted to tell you I appreciate your drive! #GetIt”
The end is just as critical as the beginning. It is a balance of understanding tone. How we set our tone for tomorrow is intentional. It takes practice and will inspire small changes that, over time, change the system of how we communicate and the tone we want to convey collectively.
Begin with the end in mind.
Planning the work and doing the work are two very different things. Our Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee meets bi-weekly. That is the first investment in time and resources that will be required to create change in your organization. Our committee has created space for EVERYONE to participate. Everyone has a role, reporting on their learnings, teachings, and research. Then we facilitate a plan of action.
Once you have your team in place and a commitment to do the work, here are some simple next steps to get your committee mobilized and action orientated.
You will need a budget to set the tone for your goals.
Inspire a company committee but do not impose it. The action is better served when authentic.
Informed cultural consultation is critical.
Ask your community for feedback.
Hire Black and Indigenous consultants.
EDI actions and behaviours are measurable through company scorecards and reviews.
Take a small step and create a list of holidays, cultural celebrations, and meaningful community celebrations. Then invite your employees to share their feedback on what is important to them.
Now share that list in your calendars. This requires your best operations person and a box of donuts to tempt them. Splurge on them! Have that person go through the entire calendar year, booking these holidays and events into the whole team’s calendar. When someone sees their culture’s holiday recognized by the entire team, it makes them feel seen. This matters.
We are committed to one another at Talk Shop to be equity-seeking, which means that we encourage one another to call out language or behaviours that do not align with our EDI values.
When you see that we can do better, say so. Use an appropriate tone and try to guide the conversation to a better understanding.
It is not what was said. It is what you heard. Asking what someone heard is a life lesson in communication.
At Talk Shop, these are some of the simple and tangible ways we create a more inclusive and equitable environment. And it all starts with a simple “Hello.”
For now, goodbye and good job today!
Account Director & EDI Committee Chair