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Welcome to the latest installment of the How I Work series for the month of September! This month we are excited to present Krista Sherer from American AgCredit whom I had the pleasure of getting to know in person at the Bay Area User Group in August. Want to learn more about someone who dove into the deep end of community management as their company rolled out Jive for the first time? Look no further! Krista found a company she was passionate about and jumped right in along with her  sidekick plant, Beauregard. Read on to learn about where Krista started, what gets her through the day and how she works!

 

Where do you work?

I work at American AgCredit’s corporate office located in Santa Rosa, California. We are a leasing association (Farm Credit Association) that lends to all segments of agriculture.

 

 

How would you describe your current job?

I am the company’s Communication Specialist and the Community Manager to our internal Jive community we call the Grapevine. I am also support to our marketing team.

 

How did you get into Community Management?

I am a recovering journalist…this is where my journey pretty much begins. I wanted to work for a company I could stand behind and really connect with their mission. I researched and found AAC; they were looking for someone to launch their new cloud based intranet. I knew nothing about community management, or Jive for that matter, and learned all about it in less than 3 months before we launched.

 

How do you use Jive at work? What use cases does it serve for your company?

It is our company’s intranet. Its focus is internal communication, culture and engagement and sharing of business strategies.

 

What about your community are you most proud of?

The engagement, mostly. We launched in March of 2017 starting out at a little over 60 percent and we are slowly growing in our advocates and contributions. I’d say 80 percent of the association loves the platform, reads the stories, are engaged with the culture it is creating and are advocating for the platform. It’s exciting to see people supporting each other, communicating differently, collaborating and really, once again, engaging.

 

What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

I use a PC at work but at home, I use a Mac.

 

 

Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

iPhone 7.

 

Pick one word that best describes how you work.

Collaborative   I love working on a team and the process of supporting and learning from others. I am always reaching out to connect with colleagues and finding ways to be of help, I love group projects and the outcome when people really work together to get something done. My work has always made me a connector of sorts, or a link, and so collaboration is really on the forefront of everything I do.

 

Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Microsoft Word, Firefox, Chrome, Photoshop, pencil and pad of paper, Spotify and coffee.

 

Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

A pad of paper and a pencil I am a writer and a poet  — when I take the time to do it. I guess I would say my camera too. I’m in the process of getting a new camera, so I currently use my phone. I live in Sonoma County and I love to take pictures of the places I go.

 

 

 

What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

My six year-old son is quite the artist and I love the colorful drawings and paintings he does, so I surround myself with those. As well as thank you cards and fun knick knacks from work parties, like my sombrero. I also have a polkadot plant that I have named Beauregard. We like to talk about him and to him in a deep southern drawl.

 

 

What do you listen to while you work?

I listen to a lot of mellow and sometimes upbeat electronic music on Spotify.

 

What's your best time-saving trick?

Lists the day before of what needs to be done and then checking them off.  Making lunch the night before really helps as well as knowing what I'm going to wear.

 

How do you balance work and life?

I don’t check my work phone when I am not at work and I do my best to unplug from technology when I’m at home too. I unplug from computers and phones whenever I can, at lunch and at home. I make sure to be present with my child, friends and family when the weekends hit and I get into nature as much as possible. Luckily, part of our culture here at my company really supports a healthy work/life balance and you can see it from the top down that people take the time to recharge themselves with their family and time off but are also efficient and committed when here.

 

What's your sleep routine like?

I try to get atleast 7-8 hours every night, to bed by 10 and up at 6.

 

Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?

I am very much an ambivert. I am good with people and enjoy the connection with them but I also really enjoy my solitude and internal time.

 

What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

"Do something that makes you feel strong, connected or grateful every day."

     ~ friend, Gabriel Rene

 

"Breath."

     ~ My mother

 

"If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos."

     ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Thank you for the wonderful interview, Krista! It was great being able to meet you in person and I look forward to seeing you again as our wonderful host for the next Bay Area User Group! I definitely want to chat with you more about "being present" without being distracted by work. That is definitely something I struggle with!

Let's say you're planning the Big Rock Trading Company Sales Kickoff and you want to create an online manifestation of your live event. This will allow all of your event attendees, including those who are attending virtually, to feel a part of the event and engage deeply with its activities. In our latest "Tips and Tricks" video, we walk you through the basics to engage your employees for your next big event.

 

 

Employee Engagement and Enablement

 

Step 1:

Plan. Think about the main use cases for your events place. What do all of your event attendees need to know? What resources might be helpful for them to prepare for the event? For Big Rock's sales kickoff, we decided the main use cases were:

  • Highlighting the year's top performers in blogs = repository of blogs listed on the event home page
  • Hosting a Keynote Speaker "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) = repository of questions so employees could directly interact with keynote speaker
  • Uploading Event Recordings after the event = stores video of the main keynote speech for future playback

 

After deciding on these use cases, you can start developing a communication plan and editorial calendar. For an event, we recommend thinking about your editorial calendar in terms of pre-event, during the event, and post-event. In all three stages, different content will be needed in your place.

  • Pre-event - Pre-event reading assignments (to prepare employees for Sales Kickoff topics), marketing positioning slides (to review in advance), gamification (encourage users to interact with event place)
  • During the event - Livestreaming (for virtual attendees to watch live keynote), real-time AMA (allows employees to submit questions/get questions answered at the event itself)
  • Post-event - Recap blogs (attendees can post their thoughts), event recordings, feedback poll

 

Step 2:

Designing your place.

Keeping in mind the key calls-to-action that we decided on in Step 1, here's how that might play out in Big Rock's design for their communications place. Notice they included:

                  1. Navigation Bar (using Helpful Links tile)

                  2. Featured Quest (gamification, encouraging users to engage with place prior to the event)

                  3. Key Event Information

                  4. Livestream button (directs users to third party program to watch livestream of event, can be embedded with HTML tile)

                  5. Ask 2017 Sales Kickoff (allows users to submit event-related questions)

                  6. Top Performer Blogs (repository of blog posts highlighting the year's top performers, using Super List tile)

 

Note: You can also use the Events feature along with the Upcoming Events and Key Dates tiles to highlight event details.

 

Step 3:

Launching your place, spreading awareness.

Before the event:

  • Post content in your place for attendees to engage with prior to the event
    • This includes promotional blogs, presentation slides, pre-reading assignments, etc.

 

Creating a Quest

Want to create a quest to encourage employees to further engage with your place?

  • Click profile picture in top right of your community >> Rewards console >> Quests >> Create Quest
    • Here you can customize your quest and choose how many points it's worth, what tasks are included, etc.

 

During the event:

  • If needed, you can embed livestreaming into your place via the HTML tile for your virtual attendees
  • Ensure someone is monitoring the Q&A place of the event
  • Attendees can post videos and blogs throughout the day to your place
  • Send real-time announcements just to your event attendees:
    • Go to your events place
    • Hit the Gear symbol >> Announcements (as shown to the right)
    • Create your announcement! This is similar to a system announcement, except it will only be displayed to members of your place.

 

Step 4:

Manage and grow, review your metrics.

Tracking data from your event place allows you to get feedback from your event attendees and assess your virtual place's success. Make sure you:

  • View the Impact Metrics of key pieces of content
    • Gives data on who has seen the content (individuals and departments), how the content was received (sentiment analysis), the global reach of your content, number of viewers, etc. 
  • Create a poll in your event place after the event

 

Have other suggestions about best practices when engaging employees during an event? Tell us in the comments below!

JennKelley_headshot (2).png

 

Jennifer Kelley (Jenn) is a Senior Strategy Consultant on the Jive Professional Services team.  In this capacity, she works closely with Jive customers to apply successful practices and define their roadmap to social business success.  Part coach, part tour guide and part cheerleader, Jenn helps guide companies as they establish and execute strategies to engage their employees, customers and partners and deliver business value.   Jenn brings perspective from an extensive and varied background in digital strategy and user experience design consulting. In this piece, Jennifer Kelley explains how to align your community with business strategy as a community manager:

 

When conducting a strategy workshop with a new customer, I always acknowledge the following with regard to our first successful practice: “You’re probably thinking, ‘duh… who’d launch a social business initiative without business objectives?’”  I’ve rarely had anyone disagree, in principle, that aligning a social business initiative to business strategy is a sound and meritorious idea. Ironically, however, this is a best practice where follow through is often lacking – most likely because it sounds deceptively simple and it is easy to look past.  But there’s a lot more nuance involved with this critical success practice than just rattling off a list of objectives and considering that box checked.  As a community manager, the first and foremost hurdle you’re likely to encounter is demonstrating clear linkage to business value. You’ll find this alignment critical to garnering executive participation, proving to your end users that this is worth their time, and assuring long-term adoption and business value.

 

Here are some quick rules of thumb and then we’ll delve into the details of how to align your community with your business strategy:Align Business Strategy Blog.jpg

  1. Be as specific as possible in defining your objectives. The more specific, the better you’ll be able to a) model them in your community, b) communicate them to various stakeholders and secure their understanding and buy in, and c) measure against them.
  2. Don’t assume your objectives are obvious or intuitive to others. They may seem obvious to you, but you should not expect others will just “get” it. Connect the dots.
  3. As your community matures, remember to recalibrate, at least every 12-18 months. Business goals and strategic initiatives evolve.  To stay relevant your community needs to evolve as well.

 

So that sounds great, but how do we take steps to align with our company’s business strategy versus just enumerating a list of objectives?

  • First off, take the time to really understand your corporate strategy and critical initiatives. Not just the generic business-drivers fodder you find in any old slide deck. What are the real pain points and areas of opportunity that keep your C-suite up at night? How are these expressed at the business unit or divisional (or even departmental) level? For example, is the current focus on reducing duplication of effort and inefficiencies? Or driving innovation and competitive advantage? Or creating more integration and cohesiveness across the organization?
  • Engage executives in the conversation early and often. Understand their critical business initiatives and make sure they understand how your social business platform can help them advance their agenda and achieve their ends.  Enlist help from your social business program sponsor(s) if you need help to get these conversations going initially, but don’t settle for workarounds here.
  • Don’t accept vague, ambiguous or throwaway objectives. You know the ones I’m talking about – “improve collaboration,” break down barriers,” “be more connected.”  That may come off as harsh – it’s just a little Jive Strategy Consulting tough love.  I do recognize that these are often the catalysts for an initial investment in a social business program and they are well intended, but they’re not specific enough to execute against, and they certainly aren’t measurable. So keep digging for more concrete objectives and success criteria.  Ask questions like, “what does that look like?” and “what specific silos” and “how would we know we’ve accomplished that?”  Ideally, we want to be able to define granular objectives at the divisional, departmental and even team level.  Good examples include improving sales enablement or account collaboration, improving the speed or cost-efficiency of new employee onboarding or training and development, and increasing awareness and dialogue around specific topics or initiatives.
  • Establish traceability from your community back to the defined business goals. What specifically do we expect or want to happen in the community that will help achieve these business goals? Sharing of a specific type of knowledge, insight, idea or best practice? Consolidating frequently asked questions and authoritative content into a single, self-service store and reducing flurries of e-mails and phone calls? Migrating over project status updates and streamlining meetings? Again, be as specific as possible and make sure there is clear linkage from the community to these goals.
  • Think measurable. How would you measure progress – qualitative or quantitative – against the objective?  More new product or service ideas? Fewer help desk inquiries?  More people actively engaged with strategic conversations or executive communications?  Higher reported satisfaction with ability to find knowledge and expertise?  Ideally, tie to any existing baselines your company has relevant to your social business initiative – e.g., employee engagement or satisfaction metrics, usage rates for existing Intranets or related systems, or improved “time-to-value” (where value may be issue resolution or proposal completion or some other critical exchange).  Framing your thinking around measurable success criteria generally provides the most direct path to the level of specificity we’re looking for.  In future posts, we’ll do a deep-dive around metrics and measurement, but for now make sure you’re thinking about your company’s key performance indicators and ways your community can positively impact those.

 

Aligning to business strategy may seem like a tall or abstract task, one better left for executives.  But it is the critical first step in driving adoption.  Don’t ever underestimate yourself: community managers play a huge role every day in developing this linkage, mapping business goals to community activity, translating community activity into business terms, and delivering measurable business impact to their organizations.

 

To the Internal Communities and External Communities, what have you found most difficult about aligning your community to business strategy?

Imagine you're a corporate communication professional for Big Rock Trading Company and you're looking to create a leadership and corporate communication place that allows you to communicate out important announcements while directly engaging with your employees. In your place, you want to host leadership blogs, executive "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions, and the latest media coverage. In our latest "Tips and Tricks" video, we walk you through the basics to set up a thriving leadership and corporate communications place in Jive.

 

 

Leadership and Corporate Communications

 

Step 1:

Plan. What are the main use cases for your Leadership and Corporate Communications place? Think about the content that you want to be distributed to all of your employees. This could include CEO blogs and regular AMAs where employees can ask questions to company executives.

 

After deciding on these use cases, you can develop an editorial calendar and start creating content. In the case of Big Rock Trading Company, we decided on these goals:

  • The latest media coverage = Sub-space that highlights mentions of company in news outlets, updated weekly
  • Internal communication = Directs to repository of posts including important announcements and communications to the company by HR and execs for all employees
  • Corporate blogs = Directs to repository of blog posts by CEO and executives
  • Executive AMAs = Directs to latest AMA session where users can submit questions for execs

 

Step 2:

Designing your place.

Keeping in mind the key calls-to-action that we decided on in Step 1, here's how that might play out in Big Rock's design for their communications place. Notice they included:

                   1. Latest Media Coverage button (main use case)

                    2. Internal Communications button (main use case)

                    3. Corporate blogs button (main use case)

                   4. Executive Ask Us Anything (main use case)

                    5. Latest CEO Blog Call to Action (using image gallery tile)

                   6. Communications Experts (Featured experts as main contacts for the place)

 

 

Step 3:

Launching your place, spreading awareness.

Before launching your place make sure:

  • Place owners and key executives know what is expected of them and the editorial calendar in place
    • Place owners = should know tips on measuring data of place, monitoring content, creating an editorial calendar, etc.
    • Key executives = should know tips on creating impactful blogs, engaging with place content, etc.

 

When launching your place you can:

  • Spread awareness of your new place through multiple channels such as:
  • Encourage other execs and community influencers to engage with the new place's content
    • For example, execs can comment on each other's blogs, "like" communication posts, etc. to encourage the use of the place

 

Step 4:

Manage and grow, review your metrics.

Tracking data from your Leadership and Corporate Communications place is an important way to measure its success and help redefine your engagement plan. Make sure you:

  • View the Impact Metrics of key pieces of content
    • Gives data on who has seen the content (individuals and departments), how the content was received (sentiment analysis), the global reach of your content, number of viewers, etc. 
  • View the place reports
    • Gives data on user adoption, content creation, key pieces of content, active users, etc.

 

You can then discuss this data with your key stakeholders to discuss improvements to your place over time.

 

Have other suggestions about best practices when setting up a Leadership and Corporate Communications place in Jive? Tell us in the comments below!

Whether it's through in-person training, videos or documentation, every community should have an onboarding process. That's why we want to make it easier for your users to jump in and start utilizing your community right away. To help you get your newest members onboarded and engaged, we have compiled a list of basic Getting Started documents for you to adapt and use in your own community.

 

These documents are available in the Getting Started space which we have intentionally made generic not only to help new users get onboarded into the JiveWorks community, but also to be repurposed for your own community. Before copying them over to your community, we recommend taking a pass and swapping out references to"JiveWorks" with your own community name. You might also consider adding your own branded colors, if you have them.

 

Here's a list to get you started:

 

Getting Started: Starting a Discussion

Getting Started: Creating a Status Update

Getting Started: Creating a Collaborative Document

Getting Started: Creating a Question

Getting Started: Creating and Managing Custom Streams

Getting Started: Creating a Blog Post

Getting Started: Creating a Poll

Getting Started: Creating a New Idea

Getting Started: Creating a New Event

Getting Started: Creating a New Video

Getting Started: Introduction to Places

Getting Started: Sharing Content

NEW Introduction and Installation Guide: Jive for Office

NEW Introduction and Installation Guide: Jive for Outlook

 

Have any suggestions? Let us know what kind of documentation would be helpful for onboarding new users in your community in the comments below!

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