Channels of Communication: Types and Etiquette

 

 

Introduction

 

As the HPC grows in size and diversity, our ability to control and shape communications become more challenged.

 

All staff at the HPC are provided, at the point of entry, with an email account that incorporates emails, chat and video calls. 

 

 

Communication Channels

 

The following are accepted channels of communication :

 

  1. Email for all tracked discussion and document approval;

  2. Mobile telephone: for audio calls only (not for text or MMS), but ideally you should be making a  video call;

  3. WhatsApp is not permitted while in the office. No work-related conversation should be carried out on your Whatsapp;

  4. Video for 1-2-1 or Group Calls; 

  5. Loom for asynchronous video content to train and guide each other to develop skills.

 

Document Repository

 

This Google Drive will be used as the repository for ALL shared files and where possible documents will be in Word (or PDF) format.

 

Where possible, documents will be kept and maintained in clearly identifiable Library folders.

 

Directors and Heads will be expected to create suitable folders that are shared (appropriately) with a view and/or edit rights.

 

Document Share

 

Where the creation of a document is being led by an individual across a wider consulting team, for example, a new or updated policy, it is preferred that the author sends separate document files by email for colleagues to make track changes.

 

At each incremental change of a shared document, the file will carry a suitable numerical ‘v’ (version) number.

 

Once the document has been agreed, the owner can upload a View-Only (or PDF) file on One Drive.

 

For documents that are ‘living’ across teams and have no single author, edit rights can be given to each contributor and the document can either be updated offline and replaced or to be edited ‘in the cloud’.

 

For documents that require team members to work simultaneously, the file can be edited ‘in the cloud’ and will carry edit information (user, time, etc).

 

 

Email Etiquette

 

Email is the most preferential form of written communication and is certainly the accepted format for any formal discussion and document share / sign-off.

 

In an age, however, where we receive communication across a range of devices for both social and professional purposes it’s appropriate that the HPC sets out its expectations on email etiquette.

 

  1. We are a ‘Hi’ organisation and appreciate the small things when it comes to the salutations of any correspondence.

  2. When ‘Hi’ is too informal, for example when multiple people are copied or will likely be copied (in a future email thread), then we revert to ‘Dear’ - especially new clients.

  3. For all external emails, we use ‘Hi’ or ‘Dear’ as appropriate.  (informal - formal)

  4. We never address colleagues by email (internally or externally) by their first name only and consider such use as being abrupt and impersonal.

  5. Subject lines are the library indexing of emails and we take care to provide clear and contextual information.

  6. Emails will carry clear and intelligible information that requires action.  

  7. Each user will be conscious of the thread that is being created and will want to minimise unnecessary noise and overload.

  8. When we author and send an email we want to create a coherent narrative that attempts to explain what is needed, by whom and when and which actions to take providing as much information as possible, so there is no need for a request of more information.

  9. We will resist making lengthy emails that bring together multiple topics and that potentially confuse the recipient or the ongoing email thread.

  10. As an HPC we are conscious of the words that we use, no matter how brief or extended, and as such read through our emails before hitting the send button.

  11. We tend to copy colleagues into emails only as required however once a person is copied they are kept in the thread unless they elect to remove themselves.

  12. Our emails always carry our signature block when making external emails however it is optional for internal communication given threads become too long.

  13. We do not use our personal (or ‘other work’) email accounts ever.

  14. Although we each have our preferred working hours, it would be usual for colleagues to reply to emails as soon as practicable, and certainly no more than 2 working days.

  15. As an entrepreneurial team we recognise that emails can be prepared and sent during the hours that best suit the writer, however, unless expressly stated, the recipient is not expected to read and reply until business hours.

  16. When we have not received a reply to an urgent email then we follow up with a WhatsApp text.

  17. We resist forwarding an email thread and would never do so without first reviewing its content and being sensitive not to cause offence or allowing unintended content to be shared.

  18. As an HPC that lives its values, we never blind copy (BCC) colleagues into emails, unless and with the only exception being, a mass email that has no intended named recipient.

  19. Whilst we are always mindful of how our words can be received this is more so when a senior colleague is addressing a junior, especially, if others are copied.

 

 

Mobile telephone Etiquette

 

Our mobile phones have become the most likely device that we will carry at all times, more so than our watch or jewellery.  

It is immediately accessible and so the HPC has the adopted the following etiquette: 

 

  1. We are happy to receive mobile audio calls at any time during ‘our’ working day;

  2. We often email/text the other person in advance of that call to ensure that the time and availability is suitable;

  3. If a call is being made that has not been preceded by an email or text, we would assume that call is genuinely urgent and would endeavour to pick up or call back as soon as practicable 

 

 

Cliq Etiquette

 

Cliq is the most efficient way of communicating with colleagues outside of normal working hours or when a more informal exchange needs to be made.

To access Cliq, click here.

 

It is an exceptionally powerful tool that allows mixed media to be transmitted quickly and efficiently, not only to the recipient but also to unintended audiences.

 

Given its ease of accessibility, the HPC adopts the following etiquette :

 

  1. A suitable introduction would always be made before assuming Cliq can be freely used;

  2. We respect the wellness and work/life balance of our colleagues and would typically use the platform during sociable times;

  3. Whilst we may commonly reply to our Cliq messages during all times, we do not ‘expect’ colleagues to respond during non-work hours;

  4. We are happy to be a member of an active and productive Cliq group however do not want to be overloaded with non-useful information.

  5. Sensitive and confidential documents are never shared by Cliq; 

  6. When we want to meet with up to 4 persons and prefer the intimacy of visual discussion, we tend to use Whatsapp video calling.  We revert to TEAM’s for all other conference calling.

 

 

Video Call Etiquette

 

As part of the communications portfolio from Zoho, we are able to make audio and video conference calls the platform.

The HPC has adopted the following etiquette: 

 

  1. All TEAMS conference calls are agreed in advance

  2. When a colleague is unable to attend a Hangout meeting they will use email if the notice is being given on any day preceding the meeting.  For notice given on the day of the meeting, a (more urgent) WhatsApp message will be give

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