Internal communications plays an important role in your company. This department serves as a channel to share strategic initiatives, motivate the team, and ensure social inclusion for everyone within the organization, especially those who work remotely.
With more of the team working remotely, social inclusion has become more important and, perhaps, more challenging due to the distance. However, there are a number of internal communication strategies you can consider to make these remote team members still feel they are an integral part of the company.
Use or expand an online portal
An online portal, or intranet, is a way to share information with the entire team. If you do not yet have an intranet, it may be well worth investing in one to drive greater social inclusion.
The portal or intranet can serve as a central data source to visit regularly to get news about the company, updates that include a welcome message for new team members or send-offs for anyone leaving, and any changes or deadlines related to HR benefits.
You can also add a social feed where team members can share photos or content about what they are doing. This tool makes it easy to tie in any other strategies like pictures from virtual team events or contest pictures from a fun dress-up day.
Knowing what's going on in the organization, such as corporate announcements and social updates, will promote a feeling of social inclusion among team members.
Host online town hall-style meetings
Social inclusion is also about giving everyone a voice. Rather than just hosting one-way company meetings, it's a better idea to use a virtual town hall-style format that opens up the floor to the team. That way, they can ask questions, share ideas, and provide their opinion on different topics.
The “raise your hand” feature built into many online meeting platforms allows for all attendees to be involved and engaged in each town hall meeting. You may also want to send out a request prior to the town-hall meeting, soliciting questions and comments for discussion. This helps give a voice to those less comfortable speaking up during a meeting in real-time.
Share online awards and recognition
You may previously have hosted on-site award and recognition luncheons, but these may have been difficult or near impossible for remote team members to attend. As many are now comfortable with the online environment for events, it makes sense to add a virtual awards experience. These ceremonies provide a way to acknowledge the hard work and efforts of key team members, especially less visible remote team members.
Depending on your budget, you might turn it into a virtual lunch with a small stipend for each attendee to purchase a delivery lunch to enjoy during the virtual ceremony.
Implement a wellness week
Especially during the pandemic, our team's physical and mental health has become one of our biggest concerns. One of the best ways to make the team feel connected is to provide activities that focus on their well-being.
Each quarter, your company can host a virtual wellness week that addresses physical, mental, and emotional health in an inclusive way. This may consist of asking the remote team to share how they have been taking care of themselves as well as the challenges they have faced in doing so. You can also host video meetings with wellness experts who can provide group and one-on-one training or coaching sessions.
These wellness events might also include small competitions with prizes to incentivize everyone to address their health. Don't forget to also post pictures and videos on that intranet you created!
Ask your team
While these internal communications strategies can start the process of increased social inclusion for your remote team, it also helps to ask them what they'd like in terms of activities, channels, and communications. They will appreciate being able to offer feedback, and you will get more ideas on what to do going forward.