Distributed teams are quickly becoming the norm. With the improvement of enterprise collaboration tools and cloud-based technology, justifying the cost of office space and transportation is difficult. Remote employees, however, require a different type of communications. After all, you can't just grab a few minutes of their time for an update as you pass their desk or run into them in the kitchen. To optimize the effectiveness of these employees you have to share information with them on a regular basis and ensure your team is engaging with that information. Without a special effort to include them, many remote employees may feel ignored by office-based counterparts. Even those teams that are entirely distributed can have crucial communications issues.

Benefits of employee portals

An employee portal offers an effective option for keeping remote team members up to speed precisely because portals are designed to help users access information effectively. At the most basic level, a portal can replace a memo or group email chain and allows you to get feedback without having to ask people to stop by your desk, with the added benefit that this feedback can be shared easily with the full group.

Nevertheless, just posting news isn't enough for creating a sense of connection with remote team members. For that, you need to create a culture of sharing smaller tidbits of information that are both professional -- for example, why one strategy was chosen over another -- and personal, like recognizing employees' birthdays. That can feel like a lot of information, but good collaboration tools provide ways to manage those pieces of information and help users prioritize what to read, what to respond to and what to take action on.

Use the portal to drive company culture

You can use an online portal as an opportunity to add some emotional connections to the conversations you have with your remote team members as well. While email communication can feel humdrum, an always-on portal offers a place to build a company culture. Sharing memes and in-jokes can be a part of your internal communication strategy just as much as ensuring all employees are aligned on the company's key objectives. If you make your portal an appealing place for your team to spend their time and establish an expectation of sharing and responding, your team will do the rest of the work for you.


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