Software

How to configure Google Groups for your organization

Organizations that use G Suite can create a Google Group to send email to sets of employees, invite a team to a calendar event, or share files, all with a single Group email address.

A Google Group for employees simplifies at least three tasks—for everyone in the organization. First, anyone in the organization can send an email to a single address that then sends the message to every member of the team. Second, you can add the group email address to invite everyone in the group to a calendar event. And third, you can share access to Google Drive items with the group email address to give everyone in the group access to a file or folder.

However, too often I encounter organizations that use G Suite, but have not yet created Google Groups, either for all staff or for specific teams of employees. In these organizations, creating a "staff@<your domain.com>" address—with everyone on the team as a member—could dramatically reduce the time people spend adding individual email addresses to emails, calendar events, or shared files.

I recommend most organizations create a Google Group not only for the entire staff, but also for each team of people who consistently work on projects together. I also recommend that a G Suite administrator create and manage the membership of these groups. Here's how to do this.

SEE: Google Drive: Tips and tricks for business professionals (Tech Pro Research)

1. Create Group

Go to groups.google.com. Sign in, then select the "Create Group" button.

Screenshot of Google Groups home page, with "Create Group" button circled

To create a Google Group for all staff, a G Suite administrator may go to https://groups.google.com, sign in, then select "Create Group".

2. Name your group

Fill in the "Group name" and "Group email address" fields. Keep the name and address as short as possible. For example, "staff" is much easier—and faster—to type than "all-employees."

You can also review the sharing settings further down this page. You may want to adjust these settings to restrict who may view or post messages, and/or join the group.

When ready, select the "Create" button near the top of the page.

Screenshot with arrows pointing to both the "Group name" and "Group email address" fields.

Fill in the "Group name" and "Group email address" fields. Choose an email address that is easy to remember and as short as possible.

3. Invite members / Direct add members

Next, you'll see a message that indicates that "Your Google Group has been created."

Select the "Invite people to join the group" link. This will take you to a page where you may—not surprisingly—invite people to join.

Screenshot of the message that appears after you create a Group. The option to choose is the first link in the message box displayed.

When you see the group created notice, choose the "Invite people to join the group" link.

Typically, when I help organizations configure a Google Group for staff, or for teams of employees, I advise against inviting people. Instead, for internal groups, I recommend you choose "Direct add members" from the menu options on the left side of the screen. (I suggest you use an invitation when you want to add people outside of your organization to a Google Group.)

Screenshot of Invitation options. The "Direct Add members" option, is a menu option (left side) below "Members" and directly following the "Invite members" menu listing.

For Google Groups comprised of organization members (people within your domain), a G Suite administrator might choose to "Direct add members."

Add each person's email, and separate the email addresses with a comma. Add a welcome message to explain to your team what you're doing. Something like: "Hi, everyone! Starting today, you can use this new Google Group address to send email to the team. You can also add this address to invite everyone to a Google Calendar event, or share a Google Doc to this address to make it available to everyone on the team, as well. Let me know if you have any questions! —Your G Suite Administrator."

Screenshot of Groups' "Direct Add" option, which displays a warning to only add people you know.

Add the email addresses of people in your organization. They'll immediately be able to use the Group email address.

4. Show people how your new Google Group works

I suggest you take a few minutes the next time your team meets to talk about the new Google Group address. To demonstrate how it works:

  • Create and send an email to the Google Group address
  • Create a Google Calendar invitation, and invite the Google Group address
  • Create a new Google Doc, and share it with the Google Group address

In each case, everyone in the Group should receive a notification. No longer will people need to type every ...single ...email ...address ...for ...every ...single ...team ...member ...every ...single ...time.

Google Group member maintenance

Make sure to add "Google Group" membership management to an "Employee changes" checklist. When you add a new employee or team member, make sure to add them to the appropriate Google Groups. And when an employee changes roles—or leaves the organization—make sure either to modify their Group memberships, or remove membership entirely.

Your experience?

If you use G Suite, have you created Google Groups for all staff, as well as for specific teams? What's your experience been when using Groups? Do people most often use the Group address to send email, to share files, or for calendar invitations? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@awolber).

hero-groups.jpg
Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

About Andy Wolber

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox