Keeping Remote Teams Connected: Interview with Internal Comms

Keeping remote teams connected: Interview with internal comms

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Once again working from home is the UK Government’s recommendation (for anyone who can), so we thought it would be wise to get a refresher on keeping remote teams connected from an Internal Comms pro in our community. Say “hello” to Selina Murray, Coordinator of Communication and Engagement at insurethebox, part of Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Europe…

Most of us need a level of social connectedness in our lives to keep happy and all-round psychologically well—something that’s currently difficult to achieve not only at home but at work, where HR teams are relied on to safeguard wellbeing. 

Now, Selina and her team have faced their fair share of HR challenges when shifting their organisation of 400 to remote working at the start of lockdown, but the biggest challenge for Selina has been to make sure that remote teams remain connected—helping people to adjust to the cutback in daily interaction.

We had a chat with Selina to find how they’re re-creating the office experience online by introducing new comms channels and building virtual communities; also discovering what other morale-boosting strategies they’ve been using in their internal comms initiatives to promote employee wellbeing:

Striking the right balance with virtual communication can be tough. What tools and initiatives are you using to boost your internal comms strategy?

“We’ve been lucky enough to introduce new channels over the past month including our series of virtual communities (AND-E), Hive Open Door, vlogs and our brand new intranet! 

The key motivation behind introducing these channels has been to give our colleagues everything they need to drive our business forward—by equipping them with the knowledge they need in one place to carry out their roles effectively and making sure they have the right channels for two-way conversations to take place.”

Confusion and miscommunication can be real issues in times like these—what is your approach to effectively engaging employees on new high-level changes and priorities? 

“One of our main focuses is ensuring our CEO and Directors communicate with colleagues to keep things concise and clear from the top down. We have introduced more personal channels to ensure the information is as engaging as possible, which has included vlogs from our CEO in his spare room—something that is new for us! We received such a great response to the vlogs that we even used them to introduce our new UK CEO.

We’ve noticed it’s the good news that brings us together, so as part of our future of work campaign we’re exploring how we can share colleague recognition and good news stories in a more regular and consistent way.”

Can you tell us a little bit more about your virtual communities (AND-E) and how they’ve helped your remote teams stay connected?

“Our ‘AND-E Connected Communities’ are virtual communities we introduced as a way to keep colleagues and their families connected with others across the business, make new connections, encourage people to care for their mental and physical wellbeing and have a bit of fun! 

Communities include cross fit, poetry, chess, and even javascript for beginners; there’s a limit on the number you can sign up for, encouraging time away from desks without impacting productivity.”

With more distance between leaders and employees than ever before, have you put in place any extra initiatives to make sure your people have a permanent voice?

“We fast-tracked the launch of our intranet platform with the priority of giving remote teams a central source of information, with the Hive employee homepage as part of it. Promoting ‘Your Voice in One Place’—it gives our colleagues a central location to get in touch with their leaders and coworkers, express their views and feedback through our surveys and Open Door, and continue to recognise all of the amazing work everyone is doing through our Hive Five recognition scheme. It’s also a great place for us to share news from across the business (including our Hive Five winners and survey results!).”

How has Open Door allowed you to effectively manage and respond to vital employee feedback?

“Open Door has—pardon the pun—really opened doors for our colleagues.

They can kick start conversations that they can no longer have in the office—or comments they don’t have the confidence to share openly—and receive an instant response from the business. It’s a gateway between our senior leadership, our People & Culture team, and remote teams everywhere.

Our culture has always promoted the idea of ‘our door is always open’, and we’ve been able to keep this culture going strong. We’ve been able to integrate two of our key communication channels (Open Door and our employee forum) to create a place where colleagues can get in touch with their questions, feedback, and concerns.

Hive allows us to explore what the ‘future of work’ will look like for us, and how we can continue to embed culture and comms into these plans by involving our colleagues in driving the change they want to see.”

A huge Hive Five to Selina for taking the time to share her story along with a load of internal comms and engagement tips; insurethebox truly are employee voice champions 🙌

Keen to pick up more tips on keeping remote teams connected? Check out 5 Ways to Keep Remote Teams Socially Connected (and Why it Matters) for top tips from Team Hive, or Employee Wellbeing: HR Advice from 4 People Pros [Webinar] for expert advice on supporting your people through a crisis.

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