Optimizing Team Communication

Emails. Hipchat/Slack messages. Verbal announcements. These are just a few of many ways in which we communicate these days. It’s easy to get lost in a flood of messages and ignore the ones that matter. At HelloSign, we noticed that this was increasingly becoming a communication pain point. A lot of important information that we wanted to surface internally was not being relayed effectively simply because of the sheer volume.

Communication is an integral part of any well-oiled machine. As our team grows, we’re constantly evaluating tools to make communication a bit easier, which almost always results in increased productivity.

It was clear that we needed a centralized system to access announcements, celebrate accomplishments, and keep current with metrics. In order to set up a more permanent internal communication system the Creative team — in collaboration with Team Ops — started working on a little project called “The Daily Scroll”.

At HelloSign, we’ve built a culture of active transparency. It’s one of our core values. The Daily Scroll was born from a strong desire to keep the entire team informed about the daily happenings around the office. As we started working on the Daily Scroll, we realized that it’s the purest form of active transparency.

The primary goal for this project was to make the daily scroll the most efficient form of internal communication. We wanted to surface information in a more digestible format as opposed to sending out five hundred and sixty four emails a day that get buried. We wanted the Daily Scroll to be a one stop shop for providing necessary information, uplifting morale, displaying shoutouts and kudos. We divvied up all the information that we wanted to display into a few main categories: Important announcements, team spirit (celebrating milestones, workaversaries, birthdays, kudos, etc.), and metrics.

Once we had a good understanding of the type of content that we wanted to include, we got to work on a Keynote slide deck. The idea was to display the deck on a constant loop in our communal lounge area and eventually, extend the Daily Scroll to all screens in the office. Since this project was super collaborative, we wanted to make sure that anyone could update slides as needed, which is one of the main reasons we chose Keynote. It’s also easy to use and gave us a lot of flexibility around what we could accomplish.

One of our main challenges with this project was figuring out how frequently the slides should be updated. We didn’t want to update them so much that the team wouldn’t have enough time to go through all the info. We also didn’t want to wait too long and run the risk of making the daily scroll seem too stagnant. We went with once a week, which also worked perfectly with the bandwidth that we had as a team.

Given the fact that we wanted to update the slides every week, it was important for us to create templates for various events that we could reuse as needed.

Since our brand is relatively new, we’re always looking for opportunities to showcase our brand on as many deliverables as we can. Making sure that design was a part of the conversation was one of our top priorities. We wanted to gather all the scattered pieces of information and present them all in a beautiful, digestible way.

Once we got past some of the initial decision-making hurdles, executing the big vision was fairly straightforward. Over the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with a bunch of different illustration styles in hopes of coming up with one that perfectly matches our brand personality. With this project, we got a chance to really own our illustration style and extend it to a variety of scenarios.

The most satisfying part of this project, like with most projects, was when we finally launched it to the team. We heard a whole lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” and a few “what-ifs”. We started receiving and documenting feedback instantly. After hearing from the team, we realized that the main missing component was metrics. We’d love to get growth focused numbers in there so as to give our team complete insight into the company’s progress. This is something that we’re going to be rolling out in the upcoming versions.

We started out with a simple goal: aggregating data across different departments and presenting it in a beautiful, easy to follow format. We’re already noticing the positive effects of the daily scroll. We, as a company, are now more deliberate about the information that we present. We’re able to surface relevant information without it being annoying or overwhelming, which in turn fuels productivity. We’re living and breathing our values more than ever, partly because we’re now more informed. There’s less confusion, more clarity and definitely a lot more celebration. Our next steps are to move to Raspberry Pi and automate the updating process. We can’t wait for the daily scroll to grow and become the primary way we communicate with the team.

Designer of many things. Currently, Head of Design at Unmind. Previously, Head of Design @HelloSign. Design @zendesk. Creator of @neemsf & @hdysta.

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