My first couple of jobs were in the food service industry. I started when I was fourteen years old. This was a great way to earn some extra money and learn how to work with others.

My biggest takeaway from those years were lessons I learned from the managers I worked for. Some of the lessons I learned from these managers were imparted to me in the form of stories from their own work experiences.

One I remember explicitly is a manager telling me that a super successful company he worked for had a phrase they lived by; “Back to the basics.” This company wasn’t always chasing the new trend. They were chasing greatness in the things that matter.

By mastering the basics, companies are able to thrive and grow. Without the basics, organizations are left wondering why chasing the latest and greatest trend isn’t working.

One of the most important basics to master is communication. Whether you know it or not, you’re always communicating – by what you are saying and what you are not saying. If you want to see your organization move forward make sure you are mastering the following communication areas:

1. Roles and goals

This sounds basic, but according to a Gallup study of over two million employees, “‘only about half of the employees strongly indicate that they do.” This means that one out of every two employees doesn’t confidently know what is expected of them. This same study also found that managers were just as likely to not know what was expected of them.

For starters, organizations should have clear job descriptions and key measures of performance.

2. Vision

People who put their time and effort into a company need to know where it is going. Vision is a clear mental picture of where the organization as a whole is headed.

Vision is something that needs to be communicated constantly. Why? Vision leaks over time and people need to be reminded of it.

3.  Feedback

Your team needs your positive and constructive feedback. This point will focus on the latter. When team members have an area for improvement, let them know.

Creating healthy feedback loops is a vital part of a healthy, growing culture.

4. Recognition

Yes, employees should do their jobs whether or not they are praised for their efforts, but we all want to know we are appreciated and are doing our job well. You may have heard the saying before – what gets rewarded gets repeated. Studies show that companies with good cultures of recognition have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.

If you see someone who hit it out of the park recently, let them know. If you are looking for some specific examples on how to recognize your team members, this is the post for you.

Communication is one of the most important basics, and if you don’t get this one down the organization and its team will not reach their potential.

Look at the areas listed above and begin with the one area that would give you the biggest lift once improved and go from there.