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Types of Employee Communities

Updated: Nov 24, 2023


Employee Communities ERGs Interest Groups

What are Employee Communities?


Employee communities are internal groups identified and created by employers or employees to promote a sense of belonging at the workplace. The commonalities within these cohorts are usually based on background, shared experiences and life-stages.


But organizations are re-thinking traditional ways of creating spaces for their employees to connect beyond everyday work. They are supporting, creating and growing new types of employee communities inspired by their organizational structure, demographics of their workforce and by listening to the needs of their employees using surveys. This has given rise to the promising next phase of employee engagement initiatives discussed below.


Employee Resource Groups (ERG)


Though Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have been around for decades, the breadth of ERGs is now expanding. Organizations are embracing ERGs that support the LGBTQIA+ community, the Native American community and acknowledging neurodiversity and mental health at the workplace. ERGs are also going granular with sub-groups to acknowledge the unique experiences and needs of their members. The benefit of having specialized ERGs is that it provides a platform for employees to lean on, learn from and support other employees with similar challenges. Organizations with diverse workforces should continually explore ideas for setting up new ERGs and manage them seamlessly with ERG management software.


Location-based Groups


With many organizations implementing back-to-work after a long stint of remote work, employees may struggle to feel comfortable at the workplace. Location-based groups come to the rescue by creating a sense of community at the physical worksite. A new employee who joins the organization from a specific location, automatically gets added to this group and can view and participate in activities as they wish. Lunch and learn sessions, Fun Fridays, in-person volunteering days can be organized, communicated and executed with ease. Location-based groups or office location communities promote a healthy and positive work environment and aid interaction among coworkers. The communication and promotion of location-specific events and activities is more effective with the formation of these groups.


Department-based Groups


Department-based groups are internal communities of employees belonging to particular teams such as Marketing, Operations, People Management, Finance, Product Development etc. For global multinational companies, each department-based group would have employees from all locations who are part of that vertical. The formation of such groups enables exchange of ideas and information. It provides a space for discussions about the latest trends, new laws and best practices pertaining to that vertical. Quality discussions can lead to improvement in policies as processes as they would no longer work in silos. Group members can also find the right mentors from across the globe to guide them professionally. Department-based groups are a must in companies with a large employee base with a global footprint and it fuels product and service innovation.


Interest-based Groups


Interest-based groups are those which bring together employees who have common hobbies and interests. Examples of interest-based groups include gardening, skiing, reading, art etc. Having a community at work which involves their interests makes the workplace more enjoyable for employees. By forming a bond beyond work, employees engage more with their colleagues and ascribe a feeling of positivity when they think about coming in for work. Interest groups provide a much-needed respite from high-stress jobs and an outlet for self-expression. Employees who can bring their passion and talents to the workplace are less likely to leave the organization. If your employee surveys are revealing a stressful all work and no play environment, then interest groups should be introduced.


Learning Groups


Learning groups are formed with a common objective of the members wanting to learn more about a topic or process. Communities of practice is one such instance where employees get together to learn something new. An example of such a group would be employees belonging to different departments coming together to learn more about marketing practices out of interest. At times these groups are formed to improve processes. For example, by learning how the legal team undertakes the vetting process, employees from other departments can keep those points in mind before starting a new project only to be rejected later. Learning groups also help in knowledge sharing and career progression as employees can learn from their peers. Senior executives can mentor high-potential employees and help in succession planning.


When an organization offers a variety of internal communities where they feel seen, heard and accepted, it provides an incentive for them to stay longer and become an advocate for their employer. Employee community software like Teleskope can support all these groups and more on a single platform. With Teleskope, employees just need to visit one place for all their community needs.


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