A collection of text bubbles of different shapes and colours, representing communication at Unito.
How Unitoes Keep Communication Transparent and Effective
A collection of text bubbles of different shapes and colours, representing communication at Unito.

How Unitoes Keep Communication Transparent and Effective

Can you hear me now? An ad campaign made that question legendary with specific generations, but it also captures one of the most difficult problems organizations face today. Communication. Whether you’re back in the office or working remotely, keeping the lines of communication open between teams can be tough.

That’s why we’re breaking down our approach to communication at Unito and covering some of the most important values when it comes to making yourself heard.

Transparency

Why does transparency matter? Because it builds trust. The less happens behind closed doors, the fewer unanswered questions your employees have. Transparency is the default at Unito, which is why everyone Slack as our main communication tool for years. We try to keep topics that can affect multiple teams in more general channels rather than team-specific ones. That helps us get more perspective on our initiatives.

  • Avoiding email: Unitoes rarely send emails to each other. Emails kill transparency. Instead, we keep the majority of our communication to Slack or our work hub.
  • Promoting honest conversations across roles: In organizations with strict hierarchies, you might have to go through three people before your message gets to a team lead or department head. At Unito, we encourage people to contact the folks they need to talk to directly.
  • Addressing the elephant in the room: Bad news are bad for everyone. Having to deliver them can make people anxious, and the recipient will feel the impact. The longer you avoid the elephant in the room, that harder it gets for everyone.
  • Organizational transparency keeps people accountable no matter where they sit on the org chart. Transparency in communication means people trust what your leaders say, and everyone’s confident they know what’s going on.

    Convenience

    To build a communication system that works, you have to make sure it works for everyone involved. Sure, sometimes you have to compromise, but generally you have to try and accommodate people. While we mostly use Slack for communicating important information, we also have meetings, calls, and leave comments in our work hub. Sure, it might be more transparent to have our marketing team do their weekly update in a public Slack channel. But is it convenient? For them, it means typing everything up in Slack instead of just saying a few words in a video call. For other teams? Well, they’re probably not that interested.

    While we default to transparency, it’s important to remember to use the best communication channel for the message. That’s a big part of convenience, along with adapting the message to the recipient. Some Unitoes prefer to have everything carefully detailed in our work hub so they can refer to that information later. Others love video tutorials from their coworkers covering processes they need to know. And yet more Unitoes are fine with a tap on the shoulder and a quick desk-side conversation.

    Everyone’s different, and that’s a strength.

    Context

    Picking the right communication channel and keeping your communication transparent only get you so far. You also need to make sure you can communicate context. That can be tough to do when you’re trying to be efficient.

    A chat app like Slack has many features to support this. You can copy a URL from a specific message — or a whole thread — and paste it anywhere you want. In your work hub, the chat panel of a Zoom meeting, even an email. That way, you can quickly give your recipient context on whatever it is you’re discussing with them.

    Strong reporting workflows are also key here. We use our work hub’s reporting features across our projects, so stakeholders can quickly get a read on how high-priority projects are doing. We give people the tools they need to build quick reports without losing hours of their workday. That helps keep everyone on the same page.

    Transparency feeds into context, too. By keeping more of our conversations transparent, people have more information to draw from. It’s a lot easier to point to the reasoning for an important decision when you don’t have to ask someone to make it public first.

    The right tools

    Without the right tools keeping the lines of communication open between teams can be like trying to tear down a wall with a screwdriver. Sure, you’ll get there, but you’re making things much harder for yourself than you need to. With that in mind, here are the tools we’re using to communicate:

    • Asana: This is our main work hub, so we keep task- and project-related information in there.
    • Slack: This little chat app has effectively replaced email for internal communication.
    • Miro: One of the best tools out there for collaborating asynchronously on any kind of visual work. Also great for brainstorming sessions.
    • Zoom: By now, who hasn’t been in a Zoom call?
    • The Google suite: Whether it’s a Doc or a Sheet, it’s important that we can communicate directly in the file rather than having to start a whole new conversation elsewhere.
    • Unito: We use our own platform to connect our different tools, so that important communication can go from tool to tool seamlessly.

    The key takeaway here is that your tools should be made for collaboration and communication by default. Whether they have built-in reporting features or they’re collaboration-minded, having the right tools helps.

    Hello?

    With transparency being so important at Unito, we had to take that to our communication too. But it’s only when paired with convenience and context that it becomes really powerful. By adding the right tools, you give everyone in the organization the ability to communicate the way they need to.