Chapter 8 – Role of Communication

8.8. Ask An Expert — Katie Foster

Ask An Expert

Katie Foster


Technology & People Ops Coordinator at Diply

Question 1: How would you describe your career story?

I have held several positions including some in the retail field, providing support in chat rooms for the gaming industry, IT, and now HR. I originally wanted to be in the animation industry, but her career path is never straight and narrow, and my pursuit led me here. All of my positions have been people focused in one way or another, which is very helpful in the field of HR.

Question 2: Who or what has had an impact on your career?

A restructuring at Diply led me from IT to HR. I owe the leaders and managers thanks, and they recognized my skills would be an asset in the HR department rooted they have given me the chance to learn and grow, and I know that sometimes it can be hard to break through an industry that is new to you.

Question 3: How has communication changed in the age of COVID?

One of the biggest changes is the transition from face-to-face communication to virtual communication like Google meetings and Zoom. In an office setting, it is easier to find someone and ask them to have a chat. Being virtual you can still do that, but you don’t get the same kind of eye contact or response as you might otherwise.

Question 4: With work changing to hybrid and remote models, how can organizations maintain effective communication with their teams?

We actively use a company chat system to communicate better where we are working from. Our company as provided us with the choice of either working from home or a theory returning to the office. Most of the employees have chosen to continue working from. home as the environment is constantly changing, it’s important to regularly check in and clearly communicate expectations.

Question 5: What qualities do effective communicators in todays workplaces possess?

Effective communicator should be able to efficiently get to the point of what they’re trying to say. Knowledge of reading, writing, and grammar are also important. Communicator should also empathize with those around them. Another important thing to know is the right time to use a certain method of communication. You’ll often hear the saying that the meeting could have been an email instead, some cases it’s true. When you have had a meeting or chat with lots of information, sending a follow-up email with key information can help people remember the essential takeaways.

Question 6: How can you measure or assess communication skills?

When I look at interview candidates, I assess their skills by listening to how they answer questions and paying attention to how they interact with me in conversation. I also like to give them a scenario asked how they would handle it. For example, a recent question I’ve started to include is: what kind of information would you include in a pandemic policy update? If the answer is too short it only includes the bare minimum, it is clearly not effective. Similarly, if you don’t want to be too wordy as employees are probably less likely to read it.

Question 7: With the remote model, what struggles have you faced when communicating with teams?

I have already touched on the fact that we don’t get as much face-to-face communication as we used to. When we ask for place to respond to something sent the company Slack, you don’t get answers from everyone. Sometimes the answers come in the form of symbols or emojis that can’t tell us whether someone fully understood what they read. Also, not everyone has the same set up medical which can lead to technical difficulties and other challenges.

Question 8: What does the ideal future of HR look like related to communication between employees, and HR between the rest of the departments?

Some degree of remote work will exist the industries that allow it. In recent surveys conducted, our employees have expressed interest in personal work options and events. People during working from home, but still connecting in other ways. Many departments are using HRIS systems to help automate their processes. We are moving in the direction of less paper, but also more value on the written word.

Question 9: Any advice for those pursing HR related to communication styles? Skills needed?

Don’t be afraid to show what you’re capable of. Practice being succinct. It can be difficult for those who are already in the field too, at times. It’s important to be an active listener, and to let employees know that you are here to help; and it’s OK for them to ask for help as needed. When new opportunities arise take them!