Our Go2Thrive podcast guest today is Maartje Blijleven. Maartje is a digital community expert, founder of the ‘We Love Communities’ and author of a recently published book with the same title. She speaks about how communities and networks strengthen both individuals and organisations in this fast-changing digital world.

The main question of this interview:

Why Do We Need To Love Communities In The Workplace?

Please click the audio player to hear our entire conversation.

We asked Maartje the following questions:

      • Share a favorite quote, and why it resonates with you?
      • What do you think is the definition of a community?
      • Why should we love communities in the workplace?
      • What is different about a community than being part of a team? Or is it different?
      • What can organisations learn from Facebook group communities?
      • How can communities help people become the best versions of themselves?
      • Can you also share your thoughts on why organisations need to strengthen their communities /  their teams?
      • Why do you feel storytelling is an important ingredient for a thriving community?
      • Do you have a feeling that loneliness at the workplace is common nowadays?
      • Do you see also a place for building communities for the families of employees?
      • Can you share any predictions about the future of communities in the workplace?
      • What is your vision for creating a sustainable, thriving workplace?

Interview highlights

      • “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Oprah Winfrey
      • [A community] is a group of people, either a small or bigger group, who share the same passion, concern or ambition, and like to talk about it with each other; to communicate about that.
      • Communities are great to connect with each other. If you use the power of communities to connect with each other, also in the workplace, you can achieve more. So you can learn from each other, you can support each other, which makes your work more fun.

You can have a team, even a small team or bigger team, which you can see as a community because you work on the same thing which you are passionate about. You can also see it bigger because within the whole company, there are different people on different levels, and they can still connect with each other.

      • When they were connecting with all these different colleagues, not only out of their team but all colleagues, that was much easier to drive a change. Because people experienced the benefits, they experienced each other, they knew each other more. And after that, it was much easier for us to communicate.
      • You don’t need a big budget, just nice ideas, some like-minded people is enough to build a successful community.

Communities are very powerful and strengthen us as a whole because of the ability to learn from each other and to learn faster.

      • The most important community for an organisation, is the community of employees because they are the heart of the organisation
      • Nowadays Facebook groups are more active than LinkedIn groups. “I have a LinkedIn group, but there’s not really activity. And I don’t know how to get this active” But I have to say that LinkedIn is now also catching up and developing more tools.
      • If people feel that they’re part of a bigger group, part of a community, they feel supported and seen. They feel safe to be who they truly are, and therefore, they’re happier. And if people are happier in organisations, they also perform better.
      • A lot of people feel lonely and everybody wants to belong to a group of people because that’s in our DNA. That’s how we are, who we are.
      • We’re part of communities in private life, and we’re part of our work community. And even within your work, you can have external communities and internal communities. If you connect these dots within all these niche communities,  then it gets even stronger.

My advice to organisations will be invest time in your internal community, share stories, focus on adding value and support people.

      • Leaders who dare to invest time, money, personal attention, and community building and diversity; we haven’t talked about that but diversity is extremely important. They will be the ones positioned to innovate, attract the right talent and successfully drive a change with a sustainable, thriving workplace as a result.

Thanks to Maartje Blijlven for joining us in this episode!
Please click the audio player to hear our entire conversation.

Maartje Blijlven on LinkedIn
Maartje’s website We Love Communities

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