Community Peer Learning

Highlights from Learning Live 2023

  • About Learning Live
  • Top 5 Challenges Faced by Learning Development Leaders
  • Our Highlights 
  • Peer-to-peer Learning to Bridge the Gap 

Learning Live, hosted by the LPI, attracted some of the world’s best Learning and Development leaders to hear from guest speakers such as Gary Neville, Kelsey Kates, Head of Live Learning Experiences at Google, and Pashini Reddy, Head of Learning at KPMG Academy. 

Topics covered ‘neuroscience behind L&D tech’ to ‘Metaverse’s new dimensions and impacts on digital learning’.

Organisers ensured to tailor the agenda to today’s landscape by asking Head of Learning attendees about their current challenges, outlined below.

Top 5 Challenges Faced by Learning Development Leaders:

  1. AI and learning in the flow of work 
  2. Building an organisational learning culture
  3. Supporting learning in a hybrid workforce
  4. Improving mental health and wellbeing
  5. Measuring ROI and learning impact

This exclusive event was brimming with take-home messages and actionable next steps. Here are our favourites:

Our Highlights

  • Knowledge is highly personal, so AI must facilitate learning, without removing ownership of the learning process from the individual.
  • New technology is the solution for businesses to achieve and monitor organisational objectives; short and long-term.  
  • Hybrid workforces require embedded systems that encourage and incentivise human interaction – even virtually!
  • Businesses need to practise active listening. New technology should give employees a voice and create open discussions to improve well-being, belonging and employee satisfaction.
  • Learn your baseline. To measure success, businesses need to be sharp in knowing their current stats; retention rates, loss of talent, and demographics across leadership roles. 


Peer-to-peer Learning to Bridge the Gap

Self-directed learning enables employees to take charge of their education, avoiding top-down, passive teaching and switching to conversational and constructive goal setting between learner and guide.

Businesses should encourage peer-to-peer learning approaches such as mentoring, coaching and sponsorship to promote meaningful connections, especially in hybrid or remote work environments. 

Creating connections based on chosen skills can have an immense personal impact on both mentor and mentee. However, peer learning strategies can and should provide a practical framework to solve over-arching organisational goals.

Guider offers a centralised tool for peer learning with completely customisable programs to align with your L&D and DE&I goals. 

If you are looking to learn more about how mentoring can benefit your organisation, speak to an expert today to find the perfect program for you.


Additional resources:

How to use AI for Mentoring and Coaching

Championing Peer-to-Peer Learning for Employee Enablement

The Impact of Mentoring on Mentees, Talent Tap X Guider

The ROI of Mentoring E-book


The 4 Stages of Building a Successful Membership Community

Whether you’re just getting started building a membership community from scratch, or trying to grow an existing community – we’re here to help!

Bringing a community together is not only hugely rewarding, but has tangible benefits for all involved. From networking to learning and growth, the best membership communities are ones that provide their members with real value. 

In this article, we break down the 4 stages of building a membership community with top tips on how to maximise each stage. Building a thriving community takes work, but with a little guidance, you can grow a successful membership community in no time! 

What is a membership community? 

Membership communities bring a group of people together around a shared interest. This can be professional or social but aims to unite people for support, learning and growth. In the workplace, membership communities are typically grouped by job function or by industry. 

They can also form an essential part of supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives. Communities can be made to bring people together around shared characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender or religion. These communities are often called Employee Resource Groups or ERGs

It’s important to note that membership communities can be paid for or free. This will depend on the goals of the organisers and what they intend to offer members. Paid communities often come with more benefits that simply cannot be offered free. 

Either way, the main focus is adding value to members through shared connection and growth. 

🏆 Find out how Guider is powering membership communities around the globe 🏆

The different types of membership community 

Next, it’s important to recognise that there are several different types of membership communities. They will all follow a similar structure, with a group of people coming together with a shared purpose or uniting interest. 

The different types of membership community are: 

Alumni networks

For schools, universities or other training programs, an alumni network connects people after they leave an educational institution. 

Alumni networks not only form a valuable way to connect former students for learning and career growth but have the added value of keeping students in contact with their institution. This forms an essential communication tool that means successful alumni networks can have a real impact on fundraising. 

Student network 

Similar to an alumni network, student networks connect people while they are still students. They can be set up to feed into your alumni network so it’s worth considering both if you’re an educational institution. 

With uses for supporting diversity and inclusion and onboarding, student networks are a valuable resource for providing targeted holistic support across your student body. Another benefit is that you can connect students and faculty for learning too. 

📖 Find out how mentoring can transform your university experience in our guide 📖

Professional network 

A professional network is the term used for membership communities in the workplace that connect people either by job function, as in a network for marketers, or by industry. They can be run internally or across multiple organisations.  

They can also be used to unite people by a shared characteristic for inclusion. For example, to support women in leadership, you can start a membership group in your industry that does just that. 

📖 Find out more about building community at work in our guide 📖

Mentoring network 

Membership communities can also be formed to provide a mentoring network to a group of people. Again, this can be cross-company or in one organisation. 

The aim is to connect people to mentors or mentees in order to share skills and grow. Mentoring is also a significant benefit for any membership community to offer its members. 

International Network 

As the name suggests, an international network is one that connects members around the world. Membership communities that work internationally, will need to adjust their offer to meet the needs of people in different time zones. 

Using virtual connection software, you can build you community worldwide and grow your membership even in different time zones. 

📖 Find out more about how Guider can help connect your people virtually 📖

4 stages to building a successful membership community

Here we run through the 4 stages that every thriving membership community needs to take, with top tips for maximising each stage. 

#1 Attracting

The starting point of any community will always be attracting members. Without members, there’s no community!

The most important step here is identifying what your community is about and who it’s for. This may be obvious in the planning stages, but it’s important to be specific about who can (and can’t) join your community. 

Communities with too broad a scope lose focus and those that are too narrow may struggle to find members. 

Once you’ve outlined the scope it’s time to…

  • Articulate the value: Why should people join your community? Who is it for and what’s the purpose? Creating a clear outline of your purpose will help you to communicate to new members why they should join.
  • Put together your benefits: What are you able to offer people in return? It may be networking, events or even discounts. Make sure the benefits of becoming a member are clear and easy to understand.
  • Make the network known: How can people join the community? Think about what platforms and tools your target audience are already using and start promoting your community as widely as you can. 

#2 Retaining 

Once members start to join you’ll need to make sure you keep them happy. It’s much easier to keep members that have already signed up than recruit new ones, so implementing a retention strategy early on is important. 

To do this think about: 

  • Internal comms: How are you communicating the value of your membership community? Whether you’re running events or providing other benefits, you need to make sure you are communicating clearly and frequently with your members.
  • External promotion: Creating a community that people are proud to be a part of means taking the time to keep promoting your successes externally as well as internally.
  • Growing your benefits: Your retention strategy should include how you are going to grow or extend your benefits. Can you thank people for their membership, for example with a yearly reward?
  • Maintaining a personal touch: People join communities to meet like-minded people and connect. This also extends to the community leader. Staying connected to your members is an important part of any retention strategy as it shows that you are invested. 

#3 Engaging 

A thriving community is one where there are lots of people actively engaging with the benefits that you offer. 

Having learned a thing or two about engagement here at Guider, here are our top tips for engaging your members: 

  • Be consistent: Whether it’s a newsletter or an event series, making sure you stay consistent and deliver what you say you will, helps people to engage. When there’s a consistent schedule to activity, it’s much easier for people to make time in their routine to participate.
  • Get feedback: Regular surveys and suggestion boxes give your members the opportunity to feed back what’s working and what’s not. This information is vital in ensuring you can offer your members what they expect and want to engage with.
  • Shout about your wins: A thriving community is a supportive community! Remember to shout about your wins, including praising and rewarding highly engaged members.
  • Test new ideas: As your community grows you may find that things need to change to keep up. For example, the communication channels that helped you reach your first 50 members may not be right to engage a group of 100. Test new ideas and stay open-minded to get the best fit for your people. 

#4 Growing 

Once you have a good base of members and are delivering value in your membership community, it’s time to start thinking about scale. 

In order to grow your community there are several top tips to think about: 

  • Incentivise referrals: Asking engaged members to recommend others to join your network and even rewarding them, is a fantastic way to grow your membership. It helps ensure that new members are engaged from the start. 
  • Grow your own network: As the founder or community lead, it’s important you stay active yourself in networking and finding new people to join your community. This means seeking out opportunities to connect to new people and promote your community.
  • Up your benefits: It’s important to review your benefits and make sure they are competitive to other membership communities and up to date. You can also collect testimonials to promote the benefits of your community. 
  • Connect to other networks: Setting up joint events and PR is a great way to reach a new audience. A good partnership is one with an organisation that has a shared goal or values to yours, therefore, a good cross-over for potential new members. 

Remember: It’s better to have fewer, highly engaged members than thousands of people that don’t contribute! 

What do you think, are you ready to see your membership community thrive? By following these top tips you can set-up a successful community that adds real value to its members. You’ll be connecting more people than ever for meaningful relationships and support. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to us about how Guider supports membership communities to scale, today. 


How to Build Community at Work: Expert Advice From Danika Patel

Community building in the workplace has many rewards. From fostering belonging to breaking down siloes, there are many benefits to workplace communities that have positive long-lasting impacts for your business.

Our resident community building expert, Danika Patel, knows this better than anyone. She’s seen first hand how our community, Guider People Network (GPN), brings people together to share experiences, learn from one another and grow.

Drawing on her experience starting the GPN from scratch and growing it into a thriving learning community, she shares her expert insights to help you foster communities in your organisation.

📖 Find out more in our guide: the 4 stages of building a successful membership community 📖

A community of smiling people of different genders and ethnicities standing in a group.

How can I build a community at work?

Whether you’re a community manager or a volunteer, there are many ways that you can build community at work. For both virtual community building and in-person, we have the tips you need to succeed!

With years of experience bringing together professionals across Learning and Development and Diversity and Inclusion with the GPN, Danika gives us her top tips.

What do you need for a strong community?

First up, it’s important to understand what makes a strong community. For Danika, there are three essentials that you need:


This is key. When you bring people together to share and learn together, you need to build trust. This is not just in you as the organiser but across the whole group. In the GPN, Danika is connecting professionals from across industries and organisations that need to know it’s a safe place to share openly and with honesty.


Another big factor, especially for growing a community, is identifying your champions. These are the people you can trust to give you feedback that will support your community as it grows. Identifying dedicated people that are bought in to what you’re doing is a great way to support your efforts.


This one might sound strange, you need to have community to build community, but it means that you need your community to be led by itself, for itself. From the start, you need to make decisions together and not dictate what people need. Ensuring your community is run by the people it’s for means that, from day 1, it’s a genuine community.

What are the top things you do to foster community?

In order to build trust, identify champions and create community, there are 3 key things that Danika’s learned to do. These are important in all different kinds of community, from Employee Resource Groups to group mentoring. These are:

Hold a pre-joining call

This is your opportunity to explain the purpose of your community, how it’s run and how to act when you’re together. This ensures trust and psychological safety are built from the start.

It’s also an opportunity to make sure everyone is aligned. As Danika explains: “I always tell people, it’s a community where you learn but where you want to give too. If that’s not what they want to do then it’s better to know that now.”

Send personalised messages ⚡️

If you’re building your community by personally inviting people to join, then remember to use personalised messages. To get people’s attention, try reading their LinkedIn posts and look at what they share. This way you can start conversations about what they’re interested in and talk to them about that instead of using a generic message.

Focus on quality over quantity

When building a community from scratch, remember that it’s all about quality over quantity. Having less, really engaged people that attend sessions regularly and actively contribute is much more important than having a lot of people in the group that don’t say anything.

Blue banner advert for the Guider People Network with an illustration of 3 connected people


What do you wish that you’d known before starting the Guider People Network?

The first thing Danika wishes she’d known is that it requires full time dedication. Building a community from scratch is harder than you think it’s going to be! But with practice, it gets easier and the rewards make the hard work all worthwhile.

She says: “You have to be able to eloquently explain why you’re doing this and be honest about the value that you’re getting from it too.” This will help you find new members that are genuine in their interest in what you’re doing.

She also reminds us that keeping relationships can be challenging too: “The key is to have different avenues to keep in touch with people and give the most value. We’ve tried Slack and LinkedIn, but the best way to engage people is always on a call.”

This means it can be hard to keep engagement going in between sessions. Which is another blocker, as you can only run so many sessions before needing more resources. Remember though, this is a challenge for most people. Focus on building  quality when the community is together, when they find value in it then they’ll keep coming back.

What would you say is the biggest benefit of community at work?

The benefits of communities are vast. In the workplace, Danika says, “It’s the company’s job to make the work environment safe and make everyone feel like they have a nice place to come and work. That’s not on the individual. A community can make you feel safe to bring your whole self to work.”

If people feel more comfortable then that leads them to staying in the company and feeling more fulfilled, which is great for talent development and retention – key pain points for many organisations.

The biggest benefit of a community like the GPN is the number of different industries and job roles that are represented. In a lot of sectors people can become siloed. Communities break this down and widen perspectives.

As Danika says: “You find peace in knowing other people are having the same problems as you. Even big global companies will still have the same problems.”

Which brings us to our final point, feeling part of a community is an essential part of feeling connected and supported, through whatever challenges you face. There are many ways to build a community at work, whichever method you choose we hope this top tips will help you on your journey.

If you’re building communities, whether through Employee Resource Groups or mentoring programs, we’re here to help. Chat to our mentoring guides to find out more.