Affinity groups at companies are nothing new. Also known as Employee Recognition Groups (ERGs), and historically have centered around race, gender, and ethnicity, and play a key role in Diversity and Inclusion programs.
Special Interest Groups (SIGS) are a bit different. They are company-promoted groups that focus on our hobbies and passions. Those things you do at home and often wish you did more of, or love to learn and share with others. Would this draw you back to the office to connect with co-workers over a lunch or corporate fun time on a Friday afternoon? Would this draw you to jump on a Zoom call after hours so you can chit chat with fellow workers on the West Coast? I bet it would!
SIGs are a terrific way to have coworkers cross-pollinate from different departments or different cities. A genuine way to get people comfortable with diversity and inclusion is to allow a burning passion to drive them together. With a bit of creativity, use SIGs to promote your corporate wellness program through mental health and social engagement.
For example, think about all the food lovers that love to cook. Provide a few lessons on cooking techniques, giving each of them an apron with your company logo embroidered (provided by us ;-). Hosting a few lunch & learn events with a top chef in your area, mixing in a bit of nutrition know-how; or compiling a cookbook of employee family recipes (printed by us ;-)) as a holiday gift to hand out could be so meaningful.
Assume your employees don’t have the time or space to work on their passions at home. If the landscape at home was forced to accommodate work, then it’s only appropriate that the workspace becomes an outlet for some of our passions and hobbies. The company has the physical space, the financial resources, and with video the ability to connect multiple people across departments and locations to share those common passions. Carve out a little space in the workweek where employees simply do not talk about work but can get re-energized and develop deeper relationships with their coworkers. A way to build friendships. This promotes employee retention because the more friends you make, the more difficult it is to leave.
Below are a few examples of Special Interest Groups and some of the branded products you can support their interests with!
Promo Items for SIGs About Cooking
Allow individuals to showcase their talents to others by having them lead teaching classes or instructive sessions. Odds are that most have a talent that they would enjoy sharing with fellow co-workers. Consider the mental benefits of self-worth while nurturing their skill sets in public speaking and leadership.
Create a channel of “Doing Good” with your SIGs, where the garden club can start a community garden and provide food for the needy; the cycling, running, and walking clubs can lead to fundraising for worthy causes. A channel where both wellness and a bit of humanity/spirituality are addressed at the workplace.
Promo Items for SIGs About Fitness
Think of what you’re passionate about? What do you love to talk about, love to share and love to learn more about? We are a great resource to help find the right branded items to help them feel a sense of belonging and encourage engagement with other employees. Here’s some ideas for corporate clubs:
- Wine/craft beer
- Travel clubs
- Book clubs
- Dinner clubs
Promo Items for SIGs About Gardening
SIGs offer untapped opportunities to improve employee morale, teamwork and community and get the benefits of retention and increased production as a result. Corporations that can look beyond the lens of environment and social responsibility and focus on human responsibility will reap the benefits of a healthier, happier workforce. Nurture and develop the individual and bring a sense of community to the workplace.
Link of interest: https://www.webmd.com/balance/health-benefits-of-hobbies