Back to blog

How to fix broken startup communication

I previously shared our founding story and my history of solving startup communication and collaboration problems here. In this article, I wanted to focus on triangulating the costs of business as usual and show how startup communication could be fixed for good.


Ignoring the problem is costing you real money

Have you ever had two teams working on the same project and calculated the opportunity cost of what it cost to do everything twice? Or what would the impact be of every productive employee staying with you for six months longer? There are staggering amounts of cash being spent on easily fixable mistakes instead of going toward developing the business.

Let's do an example of a London-based online tech company:

Now, let's say because of improved collaboration and communication, the onboarding speed increases by 10% nominally, productivity by 10%, and employee retention is 20% longer. In this example:
  • the value created by an employee during their work period is 1.7x, and
  • the increase in productivity saves you £1.5 million in yearly payroll costs.

We use employee lifetime value to quantify the impact of happy and productive employees at Flowtrace. You can read more about ELTV, wasted cash, and productivity from our how-it-works page

How to improve communication and information sharing

unknown-1592224008261Startups and leadership have steadily become more data-driven. Why is it that such fundamental parts of an organization, communication and information sharing, still lack metrics on which to base decisions? Decision are still based on hunches; subjective, opinion-based data gathering is ripe for change. Organizational processes in some cases feel like they have stayed in the 1920s assembly line mindset when everything else has moved on to the 2020s.

Measure to Improve

I am a firm believer in Peter Drucker's now-famous quote “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” and this especially rings true in growing companies. So how come we don't have a way to measure collaboration and communication? 

It's 2020 guys and gals, and we have been able to measure it for a good part of this century because of the digitalization of the workplace and the penetration of digital collaboration tools. We can analyze all the digital footprints that employee communication and collaboration leave behind. Based on the information flow, the communication map, topics that your team is working on, we can show how aligned your team's actions are with the company's business strategy. This can all be done without violating privacy, by analyzing the meta data instead. Meta data in this context would be answering questions like: 

  • which tool you used to communicate,
  • who did you share the document with,
  • how often do you work together on a pull request in GitHub,
  • who participated in a key meeting for the deal in Salesforce, or
  • how often you participate in meetings.

This is how we can measure, analyze, and alert our clients to take corrective action based on our common suggestions. It is up to you to decide if you want to go with the suggestion or decide to do something else as you know your company inside out. 

Bring your communication and collaboration on par with the rest of the company's metrics. It's time to create a positive, data-driven inspect-adapt-improve cycle. You can read how on our site:


What is the future of work?

If we view the future of work through the lens of the coming onslaught of automation, the fourth industrial revolution, we can see that there are difficult decisions ahead. How do people fit into this future? The dream is a future where every employee can self-actualize, enjoy their socially connected workplace, and get to do the best possible work without work politics and bargaining.

Contrary to the constant fear mongering about automation and how artificial intelligence will replace us, I don't see machines controlling what employees do. There are aspects of our jobs we will happily automate, but ultimately it is us, who will define what the future looks like. People will always think up more things to do and where they can be useful. 

augmenting-humans-with-artificial-intelligence-to-free-up-time-for-productivityStartups, scaleups, and established companies will reap the productivity benefits of time freed by automation and augmentation of human capabilities with artificial intelligence. Retrospectively, in the past 20 years, productivity gains for knowledge workers have been primarily driven by automation replacing tedious tasks. As of late, more jobs have been augmented with artificial intelligence which has freed up even further time. A Human Capital Trends report by Deloitte writes that the next logical step in this evolution is the concept of superteams. Superteams leverage artificial intelligence to drive productivity within their organization wider than one job could do in isolation. I couldn't agree more.

Which side do you pick: Team Human or Team Machine?

There is no doubt in my mind. I'll always choose the future which is 100% driven by Team Human. We at Flowtrace are working towards a future, where:

🔗 The future is about collaboration 
🤼 Progress is driven by human relationships 
🏭 Knowledge work is not measured like a 1920s assembly line
🤹 We take control of the information juggling of modern work

So, if you have made it this far, I have one last request for you. Join the movement to define what the future of the workplace will be. The next step is enrolling in our beta program to collaborate on this together!



Choose Team Human.

Petri Lehtonen
Founder & CEO of Flowtrace