Communication / Unsplash

Effective communication is an essential quality in a business, as no internal system can run smoothly without it.

Allowing a team to communicate their thoughts and ideas openly can go a long way to helping the business grow, be innovative, and also foster a positive workplace culture. The absence of this can in turn result in a drop in motivation in most workers, and consequently even in high employee turnover.

MAKA Visuals CEO and Founder Sean Aquilina tackled this issue on Friday, stating that there are situations where good employees will simply leave, only for a business leader to find out later on that their departure could have been avoided if the employee “just communicated” their feelings.

Sean Aquilina / MAKA Visuals
MAKA Visuals CEO and Founder Sean Aquilina / MAKA Visuals

There are various businesses that acknowledge that they support open communication, yet failing to actually put this into place will mean that they also have an “open door policy” too.

Mr Aquilina noted that this used to be the case for MAKA Visuals, yet in reality, this policy “didn’t quite work out” for the company.

“Sometimes people stroll over to ask a burning question, only to realise that it could have been easily communicated over a single Slack message, and it got us thinking: maybe we need to tweak this policy to be like: open door policy, but for real important stuff only,” he said.

However, this also results in the dilemma of “who will decide what’s important”.

“Anyway, the truth is, just saying we’re all about open communication isn’t enough. People still hold back on real issues,” Mr Aquilina said.

Due to this, he explained that the team behind MAKA Visuals decided to change its “game plan”, and instead of waiting for team members to speak up, they are “taking charge and setting up bi-weekly individualised development meetings”. These are comprised of “very short, one-to-ones over a morning coffee”.

“The idea is to give everyone a voice. Personal topics are picked in advance, and everyone gets their 20 minutes to talk it out. No judgement, no holding back. A chill chat with their immediate manager,” he said.

Mr Aquilina pointed out that this technique is allowing employees to “dive into stuff like how they feel about work and if it aligns with their life goals”. These are key topics that are often “hard for someone to bring up randomly”.

“Now, we know this might not be a magic fix, but we thought, what if we lead the way in our team. We’re showing what it means when we say we genuinely care about our employees’ success, both in work and in life. We hope that this will create a more comfortable setting for one to open up,” he explained.

“We’re on a journey here, and it’ll take time to see how it plays out. If it doesn’t, we’ll change course,” he added.

He concluded by saying: “We’ve always wanted our people to feel they’re part of something bigger, so building a work vibe where people can chat openly, feel valued, and know they’re heard is something that I really believe in.”

Mr Aquilina founded media agency MAKA Visuals in 2015, and over five years later, he also founded and is CEO of eggcrate, a software as a service (SaaS) marketing company. He is vastly experienced in the cinematography and visuals space, and describes himself as being particularly skilled in creating short films, feature films, and documentaries, among other projects.

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