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How Trade Coffee uses a weekly async update to keep its staff connected

Its young management team trusts Axios HQ to keep its hybrid staff in sync.

The challenge: In 2020, Trade Coffee was a three-year-old company with fewer than 50 employees, and the team was scaling fast. Its leaders needed a transparent way to keep staff aware of company decisions and directives. It had to be:

  • Structured: A young management team needed discipline and templates to help them distill what the company was doing and why in a format the team could access asynchronously.
  • Transparent: Staff wanted an opportunity to hear directly from leaders, then absorb and digest what they’d learned before having to react. 

The solution: Trade Coffee launched a weekly Axios HQ all-staff update to consolidate and communicate things like industry news, product launches, marketing bets and more. Every Thursday, the staff has an all-hands meeting where updates are shared, then on Friday the HQ email recaps the most important elements. And on a bi-weekly cadence, an anonymous town hall creates space for staff to ask questions that remain.

💭  Mike Lackman, CEO:

  • “There’s a ceremony to it. Our HQ update is a chance for the management team to go on the record, simplify our news, and reiterate what it means. It’s a way to communicate efficiently, to let people digest it asynchronously — which is a big deal — and to measure whether it's getting traction. With HQ, people can sip at their own pace, all in one place, and it only takes five minutes.”
  • “In our employee NPS surveys, ‘Communication’ and ‘Being in the Loop’ were things people wanted. Now, when we do a ‘Stop, Start, Continue’ as part of NPS, our Friday HQ email is always in ‘Continue.’ People really like it.”

How it works: Each member of Trade Coffee’s management team logs into Axios HQ and contributes a high-fidelity department update to the staff-wide communication each week. By Thursday at noon, their CEO has seen them all and signed off — and on Friday it’s ready to fly.

🧠  Mike’s words of encouragement:

  • “The first five or six weeks were hard. You're just not used to writing this way at the beginning. But then you get better. It gets a lot easier to know what the kernel in each update should be. Now most people can crank it out — we’ve really found our mojo.”


All Staff Comms

 

Trade Coffee earned Axios HQ's 2022 Best-in-Class award for All-Staff Comms. See our other award winners: