For over 100 consecutive Fridays (and counting), Help Scout’s CEO, Nick Francis, has sent out weekly notes including important updates, and whatever is top of mind, to his employees at the customer service platform company.
“If you understand every angle and nuance of a deeply complex topic or project, you owe it to others to share it in a way that's clear and easy to understand.”
As Suchada Stevens, Help Scout’s Senior People Business Partner, tells it, reading one of these editions of “Friday Notes” solidified the importance of the company’s writing culture for her. In it, Nick wrote, “Writing catalyzes clarity of thought. When done well, it demonstrates a certain mastery of the information being shared. If you understand every angle and nuance of a deeply complex topic or project, you owe it to others to share it in a way that's clear and easy to understand.”
“It captures a lot of what I've observed coming into this organization,” explains Suchada. “Our CEO is a creative, and he’s always going to foster an environment where our vision is communicated and shared through writing.”
Many of Help Scout’s employees are experts and specialists in their field. In order for these employees to share their knowledge with those who need it, good writing is essential. “You have to provide a lot of information to bring people along with your thoughts,” says Suchada. “It’s an adjustment for people, the amount that you have to write in order to give people the right context. Sometimes you feel like you’re overdoing it, but when you’re on the receiving end of that knowledge sharing, there’s never too much.”
Because of the amount of writing that’s required to share knowledge at Help Scout, internal documentation is endearingly referred to there as the “Silent Teammate.” Suchada says that writing will always be an outlet for creativity and alignment at the company. This emphasis is an intentional choice that allows Help Scout to thrive as a distributed company.