Whether your team is remote, hybrid, or office-based, employee groups can do a lot for your company culture.
Employee groups enable employees to get to know their colleagues beyond day-to-day work activities. This improves their social connections and benefits their mental health, making them happier in their roles.
Employee groups aren’t just good for employees, though. Businesses with solid employee groups save money on hiring. Their employees are more likely to stay, because they feel appreciated, valued, and accepted.
Since employees are happier, they’re also more productive, meaning that businesses can make more money and grow faster.
Phew, that’s a lot of benefits!
But which groups should you start with and why? Let’s take a look:
No one knows somewhere like the locals. Bonding over a shared location can make close friends out of colleagues who are otherwise quite different.
Location-based employee groups can help employees expand their local network, discover new coworking places, find pet sitters, and even get restaurant recommendations.
They’re also great for team members traveling between offices who are looking for things to do or places to visit.
What someone reads can tell you a lot about them, but not always in ways you think.
For instance, horror fans tend to be some of the most laid-back people I know! Why? Because horror is great for facing fears. Facing fears in a safe environment, and channeling anxiety and adrenaline in this way, is a healthy outlet that can be good for our mental health.
Chatting about books is also a great way to connect with someone.
Sometimes, people want to read but don’t know where to get recommendations.
There are so many books published every year – around eight million! It can be scary knowing where to even start, especially if you’re not from a community where reading is a regular pastime.
This was definitely me. I grew up in a town where most people didn’t read, so I had nobody to suggest books I might enjoy. Most of the books I read as a child and teenager were recommendations from my mom’s work colleagues who had children of a similar age.
Since things like remote working, busy lives, and just general life can make it harder for us to find people with similar interests or get recommendations, a book club can help employees find a new book, series, or author to teach them something new or help them escape for a little while.
TV and film
TV shows and movies are another effective way for people to connect with a low barrier to entry. Think of this as a virtual form of water cooler chat.
Group leaders could even schedule virtual (or in-person) watch parties. That way, everyone can chat about what they’re watching in real time.
Our mental health can have a dramatic impact on our working lives, and vice versa. Enabling employees to discuss mental health in a safe space can really help them feel supported and understood.
You could have a general mental health group, where you or other members share hacks to improve mental health and talk about some of the challenges. You could also have employee groups for different conditions like depression, anxiety, etc.
Suffering from chronic physical health problems can be incredibly isolating.
Having a group dedicated to improving physical health, or maybe even groups for different conditions like chronic pain, menopause, or diabetes, gives team members who are dealing with these issues somewhere to discuss them with people who understand and may be able to offer advice.
Even if someone can’t get advice, they’ll be able to share how they’re feeling. This will help to reduce those feelings of isolation and maybe even reduce their pain because they’re not suppressing it.
Mindfulness & meditation
To me, mindfulness is underappreciated and overhyped. No one ever really explains or explores the true benefits. They just say that meditation and mindfulness are good for you. But why?
Let’s take meditation as an example. It can lower stress levels, reduce chronic pain levels by up to 40%, make it easier to deal with difficult situations or emotions, improve our heart health, and help us concentrate. It may also help with things like ADHD, anger management, anxiety, and depression.
That’s not even all of the benefits. It’s no wonder people talk about it sometimes like it’s a wonder drug.
All that being said, it can be hard to know where to start if you’re new to mindfulness. A mindfulness/meditation group allows people to dip their toe in with a side of moral support and discussions on different types and techniques.
Public speaking can be a necessary part of life, but not everyone is comfortable doing it.
Having a public speaking group that’s led by a confident speaker, or someone working toward becoming one, can be a powerful way to show employees that it’s okay if they struggle. You’ve got a community-led way to support them.
Let’s not forget how much better it can make meetings when employees have the confidence to speak up, too. The more people who speak up during meetings, the more ideas you’ll get and the more problems you can solve.
One way to show your diversity and inclusion policy is more than just lip service is by having an LGBTQ+ group (or even individual ones if your company is that large).
This helps LGBTQ+ employees connect with other people who understand them, can relate to them, and who can offer advice if needed.
People of color
A group—or groups—for people of color is another way to show you really care about diversity and inclusion.
It allows BIPOC from different departments to get to know each other and support each other when they’re at work. This gives them more of a voice and helps attract more diverse candidates.
These are just some of the foundational employee groups that will show your team members you really do care about their wellbeing. Engaging in supportive employee groups will also encourage them to stick around long-term.
In large companies, you could split some of these into subgroups or chapters. Or, you could create even more groups on everything from hobbies to charitable causes.
The options of what you can create employee groups around are only limited by the types of employees you want working for you.
Are you interested in getting some employee groups up and running quickly and easily? Or do you want to take your current employee groups to the next level?
Workrowd’s tools for launching, managing, and measuring employee groups have you covered. Our user-friendly platform has everything you need to connect your team with a thriving community of employee groups.
Want to learn more? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to connect!