By Sarah Dave, Managing Director of Operations at Grants Plus

Across the country, organizations seem to be grappling with the same workplace challenge: how can you retain your workforce in the midst of “The Great Resignation?”

Recent surveys conducted by Pew and MIT concluded that some of the top reasons employees are leaving include a general lack of respect and physical, operational, and cultural divides introduced by new remote and hybrid work environments.

The nonprofit and philanthropic sectors are not immune to these challenges. At Grants Plus, we’ve adopted a framework of simple, direct, respectful communication that has been effective at maintaining high levels of employee satisfaction, maximizing team efficiency, and fostering positive workplace morale.

With a team of over 30 professionals spread across the country, we’ve found that following these basic principles has helped our team overcome many of today’s modern challenges. Keep reading to learn more about this framework, how it’s implemented, and how your organization may benefit.

What is simple, direct, and respectful communication?

Using simple, direct, and respectful (SDR) communication is primarily about awareness. Too often, we send an email or enter a meeting without taking time to consider what our most important message is, who we are communicating with, and how we should share the message. The principles of SDR communication can help you reflect and properly address each of these questions. Take a look at our guide below to learn more!

Simple, Direct, and Respectful Communication in Practice

Once you understand the essentials of effective communication, it’s time to put it into practice! Let’s say a colleague has missed an internal deadline and it has put the entire project behind schedule. What steps can you take to address the issue?

First, let’s outline the most important messages:

  1. Address the missed deadline head on.
  2. Provide insight on how their contribution affects the entire project.
  3. Understand how you might support them.

Next, consider your colleague – what barriers might they be facing in completing their task? Does this project take priority for them? Do they have all of the information they need to be successful?

Finally, considering your goals and your audience, use the principles of SDR communication to start the conversation. This could mean placing the conversation at the top of your next agenda, asking for a quick 1:1 meeting to engage directly with them, or sending an email with bulleted points that address the goals you outlined beforehand. Understanding how to communicate simply, directly, and respectfully will help you approach these important conversations confidently and effectively.

How do you commit your organization to SDR communication?

Simple, direct, and respectful communication is most effective when it’s adopted by the entire organization. For this cultural shift to occur, it needs to come from the top down. Members of the executive team, managers, directors, etc. need to lead by example and set the tone for other employees. You may also consider including some information in your onboarding materials and having guides available for employees to reference as needed.

While the modern workplace can be unpredictable, the framework of simple, direct, and respectful communication can act as a grounding force. We hope that you find this ideology helpful and effective in building and maintaining the best team possible for your organization.

If you’re seeking to add a grant seeking partner to your team, be sure to contact us!

Author Bio:

Sarah Dave is Managing Director of Operations at Grants Plus, a national leader in grant seeking consulting. Grants Plus has secured $230 million in grant funding for nonprofit organizations around the country since 2007.