Good Comms

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Surprise packages make us feel like we belong

This blogpost is part of the Belonging is a mindset” blog series derived from my academic research on ‘internal communication and belonging in the virtual workplace’ for the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. The data from this study was collected from new hires who started their jobs in the middle of the pandemic and internal communication practitioners. This blogpost is part of the findings and results section.
Care theme per participant.

The fourth dominant theme that showed in the interviews is Care. I chose the word Care as the overarching theme for when employees feel cared for. For example, employees appreciate receiving surprise packages on their doorstep and being given the feeling that their contributions are valued. It makes employees feel thought of and taken care of even from afar.

Regular and empathetic communication

This is supported by literature that suggested that in times of anxiety, disconnection, and other job-related insecurities, there is a need for timely and regular communication which is empathetic, transparent, and appreciative (Kartikawangi and Dahesihsari 2020; Antonacopoulou and Georgiadou 2021; Li et al. 2021; Ruck and Men 2021).

This theme showed up as the most dominant theme in the interviews with four interview participants and the second dominant theme for three participants.

“When they (internal comms) send us something (package), it feels good because that means that they also think about us. We don’t work at the office, but they also think about us who work at home.”

“What they (internal comms) did was send us an email for a few books a month, monthly subscription to a magazine online, something like that, they did that. I think they did something like that two or three times which makes you feel cared for.”

“On my first day, I appreciated that my laptop and some office stuff were ready but also some goodies like a bottle of wine. It was like saying, ‘Welcome, we’re super happy to have you here at the top of things!’”

“Everything was very well prepared, like the week before I received a schedule of what my first week would look like. I received a package with goodies, flowers and a nice card signed by the team members and the managers. Everything came in at different times so you really felt pampered. There was thought and care. For people starting in a new company, especially remotely, that was, you know, quite a good impression.”

Next up

In the next blogpost, let’s check out which internal communication strategies actually work based on the interviews.


  • You will find a full list of references here.
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