Relationship building at work: 7 ways to forge deeper employee connections with the right technology

Relationship Building at Work Using Technology
Its people are an organization’s greatest asset. The right technology can be a force multiplier for building the relationships at work that underpin a positive employee experience and drive outcomes like increased talent retention and productivity. 

Well-connected employees are happier, more engaged employees. Employees who have strong relationships with their colleagues, managers and other leaders feel a greater sense of support and belonging. They’re better aligned with team and organizational objectives. And they’re more empowered to do their best work.

Building relationships that keep employees happy and engaged at work can lead to measurable results for your organization.

With a strategic approach and technology purpose-built to enhance EX, you can shorten the path to these outcomes.

Explore 10 strategies to improve employee engagement

7 ways to deepen employee connections with the right technology

A unified EX platform powered by AI enables each relationship-building strategy — so you can forge deeper employee connections no matter how or where people work.

1. Build a welcoming employee onboarding program

“We put a lot of effort into organizing and setting up our onboarding site — and we’ve gotten great feedback and engagement.” ~ Grace Sharpe, Learning & Development Specialist at Grafana Labs

Start at the beginning with an employee onboarding program that makes new hires feel connected with their colleagues and their workplace from day one.

A strong onboarding experience can increase a new employee’s effectiveness by nearly 40%.
  • Organize hiring classes where multiple new employees start on the same date. Going through onboarding together can create immediate bonds and a shared experience.
  • Use employee onboarding features in an AI-powered EX platform to personalize every new hire journey with role-specific content (including interactive videos), actions and training organized in one dedicated hub for easy navigation and faster onboarding.
  • Within this hub, display and/or link to resources and tools employees need to be set up for success — like quick links to the employee directory, IT support desk, benefits site and more.
  • Send targeted communications that encourage employees to reach out to new hires, helping them quickly learn who’s who and build valuable connections.

Grafana Labs created an onboarding site that has drastically streamlined the company’s new-hire onboarding process by consolidating all necessary onboarding materials, resources and information onto one platform. “New hires can easily access everything they need without having to search through various sources or ask multiple people for guidance,” said Grace Sharpe, Learning & Development Specialist.

Relationship building at work - Braintank's Simpplr intranet homepage for onboarding resources

Starting at day one, Grafana Labs’ modern intranet keeps Grafanistas connected, informed and engaged.

Tip: Don’t digitize the entire onboarding process. Partner new hires with mentors to guide them through their onboarding and help them acclimate to their new role.

Get more strategies for onboarding employees to help ensure retention

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2. Create an employee directory with engaging profiles

Make it easy for employees to learn about each other through engaging profiles on your intranet’s employee directory. Help employees complete their profile by giving them a list of prompts that can lead to more engaging bios. Ask employees to share their:

  • Name
  • Photo
  • Contact information
  • Department
  • Role
  • Professional and educational history
  • Expertise tags
  • Location
  • Company badges
  • Bios that share details such as interests, hobbies, pet names, favorite movies, etc.
The employee directory is a go-to site for both new and tenured employees.
Relationship building at work - Pacific Blue's Simpplr intranet employee directory

For example, new team members at Credit Acceptance are encouraged to share a fun fact about themselves with a link to their profile on Simpplr’s modern intranet so colleagues can reach out and welcome them, said Web Content Specialist Krystal Barrad.

Tip: Encourage team members to create profiles that share professional expertise as well as a peek into their personal lives.

Learn how employee intranet profiles help teams work better

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3. Deliver personalized and targeted communications

“Personalizing content is about respecting and valuing the unique needs of your team. By focusing on the distinct qualities of each audience, targeting ensures that communication is meaningful, engaging and effective, fostering a deeper connection and understanding.” ~ Carolyn Clark, VP of Employee Experience Strategy at Simpplr

A one-size-fits-all approach to employee communications hinders engagement and makes employees feel like cogs in a wheel instead of valued individuals. Personalized and targeted communications have the opposite effect.

AI-powered EX platforms enable highly personalized employee experiences.

The right technology can curate and deliver content that’s relevant to each employee’s role, location, interests and preferences. To help employees feel more connected with each other and your organization:

  • Deliver communications via channels that work best for individual employees / teams
  • Use push notifications that cut through the noise of inboxes
  • Offer channels for real-time, two-communication
Relationship building at work - Simpplr intranet post about employee experience being a competitive advantage

Simpplr’s Smart Feed promotes two-way communication, creating a culture of conversation that deepens employee connections.

For TriNet, reducing the volume of mass distribution emails to improve consumption and engagement was a compelling reason to switch to Simpplr’s AI-powered intranet. “With so many emails, it was too easy for some critical information to get lost in the noise. We saw an opportunity to launch The Source and enhance the effectiveness of our internal information-sharing at TriNet – while building increased engagement with our colleagues,” said Ira Gottlieb, Divisional Vice President, Corporate Communications. “Leveraging The Source has enabled us to focus mass distribution emails on those which are a top priority or urgent, which helps our colleagues focus on the information they need most.”  

Learn how to use AI to personalize and target internal comms

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4. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition

“Recognition matters in every direction but there’s a special place for peer-to-peer recognition’s value in strengthening team relationships.” ~ Miriam Connaughton, Simpplr’s Chief People & Experience Officer

In addition to making employees feel more appreciated and committed to their work, peer-to-peer recognition is a powerful tool for strengthening connections. Celebrating individual achievements highlights the unique value that each team member brings to the table. And when teams clearly see how their work influences each other, it creates stronger bonds.

An employee experience platform with built-in rewards and recognition capabilities streamlines the process, making it easy for employees to send kudos and celebrate their peers — without relying on another piece of software.

Quartz Health Solutions leverages the integrated recognition capabilities in their Simpplr intranet to acknowledge employees in myriad ways. For instance, site managers create their own leaderboards on pages and tiles to recognize employees who excel in specific activities. “Many departments also use the intranet to profile team members, recognizing each person as an individual and building belonging within their teams,” said Lori Devoti, Sr. Internal Communications Specialist.

 Relationship building at work - Simpplr intranet post recognizing another employee (example of employee recognition)

Simpplr’s integrated Rewards & Recognition enables employees to easily recognize their peers’ achievements, publicly celebrating via the platform’s feed. With customized rewards (coming soon), people leaders can show employees appreciation by rewarding their contributions with tangible gifts.

Tip: Align recognition to company values.

Get inspired with examples of employee recognition programs

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5. Facilitate virtual team-building activities

It can be difficult for employees to form deep connections when all they talk about is work, especially in a remote work model. One survey found that 52% of employees felt less connected to their co-workers after shifting to remote work.

To help employees bond, offer a variety of virtual team-building activities.

  • Open a meeting or new team introduction with insightful or funny icebreaker questions.
  • Help teams get to know each other with a quick round of “would you rather?”
  • Have a little fun with a game of trivia or a virtual game like Online Jeopardy.
  • Invite your team to participate in a recipe swap.
  • Encourage team members to share a photo that helps others see a window into their life (such as their office space or view from their window).

Check out team-building activities for virtual team bonding

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6. Stand up employee interest groups

This strategy for relationship building at work also involves an opportunity for employees to bond through shared interests that transcend the workplace. From book clubs to communities for social causes and everything in between, employee interest groups are magnets for creating deeper connections.

With the right technology, employees can engage with colleagues who share similar interests even if they can’t meet in person.

Set up a dedicated site with individual pages for different groups. Invite employees to join using their company profiles. Encourage conversation via chat boards as well as live events that happen in person and/or through integrated video conferencing.

Tip: Create a few interest groups to get the conversation started and then give employees options to create their own groups.

Learn about the importance of inclusion and diversity in the digital workplace

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7. Get leaders involved

When leaders prioritize relationships and connecting with employees, it can create ripple effects. Companies with high levels of executive engagement have up to 59% more engaged employees. In companies where executives maintain a visible presence, employees are 1.6x more likely to stay committed to the organization and its goals.

A unified employee experience platform helps leaders create engaging content in multiple formats and share it on multiple channels.

There are many ways to get leaders involved in relationship building at work, including:

  • Building robust profiles in the employee directory
  • Sharing strategic insights and personal lessons in posts and videos
  • Contributing to conversations in forums and chats
  • Leading all-hands meetings either in-person or virtually, and embedding the recorded meeting video in a post that highlights key takeaways

At Texas Mutual Insurance Company, an engaging video series built stronger connections between employees and the company’s new CEO. “Employees shared in the comments how proud they are to work at Texas Mutual with Jeanette leading the way,” said Jimmy Daus, Communications Specialist. “In addition to the positive engagement from employees, Jeanette also jumped in and responded to comments within the post. This helped create a sense of community on our intranet and gave employees an avenue for connecting with our CEO.”

Relationship building at work - Simpplr intranet post by a CEO

Take the leadership engagement challenge

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Start building deeper employee connections

Strong relationships between team members and leadership can directly impact the success of an organization. If you want to increase output, drive more sales, and generate higher profit, focus on relationship building at work.

Use these strategies to build stronger connections in the workplace, but don’t stop there.

Relationship building at work is an ongoing task. Continue to work on your processes by gathering employee feedback, measuring your success, and continuously optimizing your relationship building efforts.

How Simpplr can help

Simpplr’s AI-powered employee experience platform goes beyond just an intranet. It will help you deliver an amazing employee experience and reduce HR helpdesk tickets by giving your employees everything they need to do their best work. Simpplr is the only platform that unifies employee engagement, enablement and services, leveraging state-of-the-art AI models to deliver a seamless, cohesive and personalized employee experience. Request a demo today!

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