Employee happiness and wellness should be one of the top priorities for a growth-oriented company, especially during these trying times caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Whether all of your employees are working from home or if you still have several teams at the main office, it is imperative that you invest time and effort into employee engagement, communication, and creating social connections at work if you are to build a thriving collective. This is especially important now that the majority of your team members are probably working remotely, and are spending less time communicating with their colleagues, while in-person communication is probably non-existent.
What’s more, focusing on building positive social connections between employees and improving their communication will allow you to keep career changers at your side so that you retain the top talent in your company longer. With all of that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how you can improve communication and help employees build meaningful social connections to create a thriving employee collective.
Welcome your new employees to the team
Right off the bat, you can expect new employees to feel a bit overwhelmed with their new job and everything it entails, not to mention the pressure of wanting to fit in. For some, this is a simple and straightforward process, but for the majority of new hires, it can be a very stressful time, which is why you need to guide them and help them assimilate themselves into your company. You need to make them feel welcome from day one.
One of the best ways to do this is to help them communicate with their new team members more efficiently and show them how they can best break the ice in their new professional circle. A little social onboarding goes a long way in this regard, so be sure to take them around the office (online and offline) and schedule a welcome meeting where all team members will be present. Take a personalized approach and show your new employee how best to communicate with individuals in their teams, so that they can easily establish a connection with everyone.
Daily meetings should be more than just work
Whether you’re meeting with your team members at the main office or in a digital one via video conferencing, you should allocate enough time for non-work-related banter. It might not seem like an efficient way to start the day and your schedule might be hectic as is, but it’s important to recognize the benefits of simply talking with your employees instead of just jumping into the to-do list. It breaks the ice, it allows people to “warm-up” for work, and it helps the team get a few laughs in early in the day so that they feel more natural and comfortable around each other.
While this shouldn’t take more than five or ten minutes, you should let the banter transition into work talk naturally instead of forcing a change of subject. In the long term, this can positively influence your employees’ mental health and wellbeing, and it will boost their social connections. In turn, this leads to better collaboration, communication, and productivity.
Use VoIP technology to facilitate communication
Due to the pandemic, more people are working remotely now, and as a result, this requires more planning. In turn, this has seen an influx in usage for workflow apps. Even though it has its challenges, this doesn’t mean that you can’t improve communication in the digital workplace and inspire your team members to keep building their interpersonal relationships remotely by using the right communication tech. We’re talking, of course, about VoIP.
As a cloud-based tool, VoIP comes with a plethora of handy features that allow your employees to communicate more efficiently and collaborate with ease. If you’re wondering how VoIP works and makes phone calls, it simply uses your internet connection instead of a traditional landline. However, low-cost calls are but a single perk, because your employees can use a variety of other built-in tools to communicate in different ways – like direct messaging and chat video conferencing, and more. This creates a comprehensive communication infrastructure that helps keep your remote teams in sync at all times.
Host remote team-building events
Using the right communication tools also allows you to organize and host team-building events remotely, which is a great way to get the team together in a casual way. Even if you’re able to meet in person, it’s important that you keep organizing interesting team-building events so that your employees have a chance to hang out in a different setting and ambiance than they’re used to. Sure, they’re probably going to talk about work at first, but as they start learning more about each other they will transition to more personal and casual topics.
When it comes to online team-building events, though, you need to come up with fun and engaging things you can all do together. Keep in mind that drinking together on Zoom is not the only way to have a good time, as you should come up with interesting topics and even games to help build and maintain a positive culture within your teams.
Build a positive workplace culture
Speaking of building a positive culture, this is one of the best and only ways to truly inspire your employees to get to know each other and develop meaningful relationships. Your team members will have a difficult time connecting if they don’t feel like they’re a part of the brand and its collective, which is why you as their leader should strive to create that culture of co-dependence, cohesion, and trust. This is the foundation of your workplace culture, and it will serve as the bedrock for all team-building and employee wellness strategies you employ in the future that should also factor in the different needs of employees, such as visual impairments. It will also help your employees communicate more openly, leading to mutual respect and transparency in the workplace.
Elevating employee wellness in the long-term requires experienced leadership, time, and plenty of effort, but you can make this process more efficient if you focus on communication and building social connections. Use these tips to facilitate better communication between team members and help create a thriving employee collective.