Friday, 26 October 2018 11:14

How Do You Take Your Tea?

Workplace communication is a subject that always features prominently on our training courses. Delegates are usually very keen to share instances about the communication at their own organisations. Very often however it’s because of failures in communication that delegates are so vocal.

During a Level 3 Leadership and Performance Management course that we ran this week, communication was the topic and the discussion gravitated towards making the tea. In particular, the diversity in communications methods when making tea or other beverages for a group of co-workers.

This may at first appear quite trivial, but consider how something as simple as getting a round of drinks correct, or badly wrong, demonstrates the effectiveness of communication generally throughout an organisation. Not to mention potentially making your co-workers very grumpy.

Our Level 3 group, made up largely of middle and first line managers, discussed the issues often encountered when someone made the tea at work. Sugar or milk may have been omitted when it was requested; or added when not required. Drinks might get made too strong or too weak or the wrong drink might have been made for certain individuals. Some people may have been excluded from a drinks invitation entirely.

What the group really focussed on however was the steps and systems that had been developed and put in place in their respective places of work to overcome tea making dilemmas. Wall charts detailing personal preferences were commonplace, even down to specific tea colour, as we use at HR Champions.

One company represented by our group for example announces tea rounds via Microsoft Yammer, a social networking service designed for private communication within organisations. Whilst the opportunity for social interaction may be lost, the potential for making a mistake or missing someone out is minimised.

The point here is that if you can’t get basic communication right about the simplest things, how you can expect the really important issues to be communicated effectively. If you’re not able to make everyone who wants one a cup of tea or coffee with the right amount of milk or sugar, how can you expect to know what standards your co-workers aspire to in their work? What are their deadlines, targets and restrictions? How should reports be presented, in what format and for whose consumption? What are the goals and targets for the department, the business or the global organisation?

We know how vital effective communication is for the proper functionality of a business so it should manifest itself in every aspect of the workplace. From top level boardroom decisions down to whether or not the milk goes in first.

If you want to be part of stimulating and progressive discussions, sign up to one of our ILM training courses which are currently fully funded for businesses in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. Call 01452 331331 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Read 1898 times Last modified on Friday, 26 October 2018 11:18


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

We deliver excellent management and soft skills training suitable for all organisational levels. We are ILM and City & Guild accredited and Ken Blanchard approved.  





We are located in Gloucester in the West of the UK close to the M4 and M5 corridors. For a precise map and directions find us on Google Maps

We have clients all over the UK but predominantly within about an hour's drive time of our offices; in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Swindon & Wiltshire.