How to Build Thriving Online Communities

Highlights 

  • Discover practical tips & tricks to build world-class online communities at work.
    • Select a platform that is purpose-built for community-building.
    • Activate your community by setting intentions, meeting regularly & promoting meaningful conversation.
    • Get the most out of your community by fostering a culture of trust & belonging.

 

MixR CEO & Founder, Cecile Moulard, and Head of Partnerships, Brett Brewster, recently spoke at an exclusive ERG Leadership Alliance (ELA) event. They shared tips, tricks and best practices for building world-class virtual ERGs (Employee Resource Groups). In case you missed it, we’ve compiled a few key takeaways from their talk.

Step 1: Select the right platform 

To kick off the talk, Cecile & Brett asked the group of experienced ERG leaders what platform(s) they were using to host their ERG-related activities. The responses varied, but most said they used a mix of traditional “productivity” tools such as Slack, Email, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. 

While great for day-to-day work activities, these tools often fall short when it comes to building authentic communities. They lack privacy, moderation and specific analytical features, and they rarely offer a global, calendar view of groups, communications and activities. 

Considering today’s increasingly distributed workforce, it’s important for community leaders to choose a single online platform that is purpose-built for their needs. Productivity tools should be dedicated to work activities and community happenings should take place on a separate platform that brings together all aspects of community building, including: safety & privacy, moderation, events (virtual, hybrid and in-person) and meaningful conversations. 

Step 2: Activate your community

Once you’ve chosen a platform to house your ERG – or any other community such as an Affinity Group or a Social Club – it’s crucial to establish clear goals, purpose and programming for your community. Revisit why your community exists, and what you want your members to get out of it (e.g. networking, support, care, skill development etc). Then, don’t forget to redo this on a yearly basis. 

Host regular events. We suggest at least 8-10 per year so that members can get to know one another, and have important conversations that make communities so special in the first place. Be sure to pay special attention to the mix of remote, in-person and hybrid workers, and select the best format for your events that will allow everyone to participate equally. 

Finally, a big question we get asked is how much moderation should be used in an online community? We believe that each community is different. Establish clear rules and expectations for your community meetings and discussions, and intervene only when absolutely necessary. Remember, an important part of creating a brave space is to be able to open up and have difficult conversations. 

Step 3: Trust & belonging changes everything 

Cecile & Brett’s biggest tip for creating thriving online communities? Leaders should focus on fostering a culture of trust & belonging. It’s simple: when people are expected to achieve something together, they’re most effective at doing so when they know and trust each other. Communities rooted in trust, belonging, support and care have the ability to provide exceptional outcomes for people and business. 

With loneliness at an all time high, and engagement at an all time low, communities are a crucial aspect of creating a superior employee experience, and a great way to empower people to bring their whole selves to work. At MixR, we like to speak about “unlocking the power of communities at work” because they have the ability to address the root causes of many of the problems encountered in the workplace. They are a sustainable, and grass root way to address factors such as loneliness and disengagement – making a lasting impact on long term productivity. 

As a result, workplace communities are increasingly being viewed as strategic allies by their organizations. Let’s make them count by providing them with the proper tools & resources they need to thrive.

Interested in taking your ERGs to the next level? MixR is purpose-built to empower employees to get to know one another, and build meaningful workplace communities rooted in trust, belonging and inclusion. To learn more, visit www.mixr.net and book a demo. 

A special thank you to the kind folks at ELA for hosting Cecile & Brett! To discover additional best practices for launching and growing thriving ERGs, visit https://www.ergleadershipalliance.com

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MixR Team

 

 

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