You Belong Here: Creating Community at MSP Communications

By Amanda Welshons  |  June 1, 2023

I wear a lot of hats: mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, content director, manager, volunteer, giver, forever learner, UW-Madison alumna. But one of my new favorites is co-chair of two of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Parents and Professional Development.

One of our agency—and company—strengths is the collective talent, collaboration and energy of the employees who make great things together. Somehow, the pandemic didn’t take a hit at our enduring passion to ideate, create, write, design and publish great content for our clients and communities.
But as individuals, I wondered: What about each of us? Are we ok?

How It Started

Through our work with 3M Employee Communications, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing how employee groups bring people together and create safe spaces for fulfilling conversations and exchanging ideas. It was fascinating to see the inner workings of another company, its benefits and culture—as well as methods to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). These integral communities are self-run and make their company feel smaller and psychologically safer for employees.

When I returned from my second parental leave in October 2021, I introduced the idea of ERGs to our DEI Steering Committee. Call it new mom compassion or intuition, but I could feel uncertainty of the pandemic still lingering and our cultural connections lacking, especially for anyone new to our company.

Despite the thoughtful care of our leaders, that aspect was inevitable for a workforce that went from in-person interaction five days a week to completely remote. If I felt this way after being at the company for so long, how did new employees feel? I couldn’t shake feeling responsible for improving what we had to offer. I knew we could do more.

By this point, “belonging” was the new buzz word and our DEI Committee took that mantle very seriously. I’m so grateful the idea to explore ERGs was welcomed and executed. Through a company survey, we asked employees what groups would be of interest and landed on four to launch in September 2022.

How It’s Going

Nine months into our ERG pilot, I’m incredibly proud to say we have four dynamic groups that foster community and a sense of belonging for MSPers every day:

  • New Employees
  • Pride+
  • Parents
  • Professional Development

At the core, our ERGs aim to bring more of us together for conversations and connection, in person and virtually. Monthly meetings don’t focus on our day-to-day jobs, but they are some of the most valuable meetings on my calendar. Think: water cooler meets sage advice. An opportunity to learn and grow, personally and professionally. A friendly place to land after a crazy week. A warm hug when you return from parental leave—or prep for leave! We launched these groups as an exciting way to experience what makes MSP Communications truly great: our people.

The success of these groups is due to each member, as well as Kate Rogers (VP, digital strategy), Tim Dallum (senior production manager), Tina Gschlecht (senior project manager), Chapin Blanchard (senior content strategist), Tiffany Lukk (content strategist) and Rachel Hatcher (content specialist), who have valiantly spearheaded this initiative with me and are incredible culture leaders.

This is only the beginning and new groups will emerge as we continue to expand as a company. But know this: If you join MSP Communications, you will have a group to welcome you in and make you feel seen and heard from the jump. You belong here.

Read next: The Value of Evergreen Content

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