Creating & Maintaining Thriving Employee Communities

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It was Darwin who recognized that humans travel in groups to maximize their chances of survival. However, the UCLA neuroscientist, Professor Matthew Lieberman, further excavated in his book that the human brain has evolved to value social connections as a reward in itself, and even more so, as a motivational catalyst. This means that motivating and rewarding employees with employee resource groups can be a worthwhile strategy.

Many employer branding strategies leverage the benefits of employee resource groups (ERGs) as they are well felt by the employees as they are by the employers. ERGs facilitate social collaboration of colleagues and employees of all ranks and departments, under one idea, cause, affinity, affiliation, or struggles. The more groups available to as many people as possible, the more employees will find their way by connecting with their peers and finding their exact niche. 

 Employee communities vary greatly between companies in terms of types and nature, promoting friendships and offering opportunities for leadership development. By participating in community activities, the members feel a greater sense of belonging to the organization as well as its goals, while they find themselves progressively motivated as a result of the community based intrinsic rewards, identified by Lieberman. 

 It all started as a result of the 1964 race riots in Rochester, New York, Joseph Wilson, the CEO of Xerox Corporation, created the first employee resource group. Ever since then, many more ERGs have sprouted with their own missions and goals, but the employee brand ambassador community is by far the most prominent in recent years.

Your reputation rests in the hands of your employees

Communities within an organization can have a great impact on the company, the field, and the industry.  Therefore, corporate communications relating all the activities and functions are essential. By creating an ambassador program, the company increases its awareness while positioning itself as a coveted employer, while the ambassadors receive exposure, internal and external recognition, and a forum to express themselves while improving their communication skills. Making your employees (your most important asset) your brand ambassadors to clearly communicate your vision both internally and externally, you will be able to embrace transparency, better understand your team, and appreciate them as a result. Furthermore, people tend to trust other people over other brand and corporate communications thereby leaving your reputation to rest in their hands.

Creating an ambassador program is not enough. For a successful ambassador program, your company must live up to the image it wants to portray, and the ambassador program itself must be planned effectively by utilizing the ambassadors’ strengths and offering them tools and support throughout the program. 

Telling an organization’s story is a process. First the ambassador group needs to function as a community. That means developing a strong network with shared learning embedded with workshops in writing (& storytelling), personal branding, photography, etc. Bringing in a community director is essential because they are able to offer collective and personal consulting and support while monitoring the communication channels and directing the community towards its goals. 

Taking it all in (and then out, no doubt)

Well-done employee resource groups have been proven to be far more effective than perks, splurges, or promises and actually benefit the employees and the organization immensely. Yet, if done wrong, it could turn out to be a total disaster for all. Aside from proper planning and effective management, it is vital to remember that there is no magic solution, real change must come from the top down, and employee appreciation is vital as they invest their time and efforts beyond their work. It is imperative to listen to their needs and wants as well as to give them a proper voice.


Watch our short webinar (only 30 minutes, because we know your time is valuable) to learn more about organizational communities.

Using a CyberArk use case, the webinar illustrates how an ambassador community represents the organization in a powerful, effective, and authentic manner.


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