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Welcome back to our 6 Strategies to Revitalize Your Community blog series. Today we’ll tackle a perennial favorite of community managers everywhere: how to get your executives engaged.

 

Getting leaders engaged is a very important aspect of keeping employees engaged in your community. In fact, in a survey we ran a few years ago of more than 400 Jive customers, senior leaders acting as role models was one of the top three success factors for community adoption. This makes sense: if executives aren’t supporting your space and using Jive, it’s hard to make a case that it’s valuable enough for employees to spend their time on.

 

Let’s see how engaged executives really are “in the wild” of current Jive communities. In our six strategies for revitalizing your community webinar, we asked attendees whether their execs were engaged. The results:

 

 

Not too bad. More than three-quarters of participants have at least some engagement from their leadership, which is a great place to start.

 

Getting leaders engaged doesn’t have to be a big process and, more importantly, doesn’t have to require much from the executives themselves. Start simply. Identify even one executive to whom you can clearly communicate the value and utility of the platform. That person can help motivate other members of the leadership team. One-on-one training or reverse mentoring works well. Most executives don’t like to sit in a room with a group of people for a training or watch a webinar, so a little hand-holding goes a long way to meeting your goals.

 

You can reach out to others in your community for help with engaging your leadership as well. Remember that awesome advocate network that you built? Ask those advocates for help, especially if they have existing relationships with execs. Executive assistants can be a huge asset too. Get them trained on Jive so they can work with their boss on the basics, like logging in and completing their profile, or assist them with writing and posting updates.

 

When you’re getting started, don’t ask for much: leaders can simply like, comment on, or share a post, thank someone, or post a status update if you use them. In the latter case, give them concrete ideas for things they can talk about; a conference they’re attending, whether they’re speaking and what about, what they’re up to on any given day. Between Facebook and LinkedIn, most people are used to liking things and posting updates, so this shouldn’t be much to ask - but it goes a long way in demonstrating engagement to your employees.

 

If you’d like to get your executives blogging, they often need a helping hand. You can suggest topics or even do the writing. The Ghost Blogging tool is an excellent way to write something on behalf of an executive and post it under their name. That way, the exec can hopefully still answer questions and respond to comments without someone doing it for them.

 

Best case scenario, of course, your leaders are doing their own writing, or at least their own posting. If you have a large leadership team and/or folks who are reticent to post every week or so, create a “Leadership Corner” where every member of the team contributes based on your schedule or content calendar. Let’s say you have eight leaders. If you spread it out between them, each executive would only need to post every two months - and again, you can help with topics and editing as need be.

 

Executives are notoriously competitive. Highlighting the success you achieve with one leader can be a powerful incentive to get the others to join in. For instance, you could create a special private Rewards quest just for leadership. I’ve also seen a customer take it public with a “Leader Leaderboard” so that everyone at the organization could see who was the most engaged and the most active. They report that climbing the leaderboard was incredibly motivating for the leaders to be more active in the community.

 

How else can executives get engaged? They can run a town hall meeting, ask-me-anything sessions, or idea jams within Jive. In a town hall, for example, you can have a place where people can ask questions between and during the meeting and where the questions are answered at the end. The recording of the town hall meeting can also live in that place once it’s complete.

 

With ask-me-anything sessions, a leader agrees to be online for a certain hour on a certain day and people can come to the group and ask their questions. Like it sounds, the leader agrees to answer, either by writing down their responses or in a live conversation. Idea jams can happen around any idea, but I like it when the exec is the one who pushes the idea out there and asks everyone else to contribute their feedback.

 

Hopefully these ideas will make it easier to engage your executives in your Jive community. For more ways to revitalize your community, check out the other posts in this six-part series:

 

 

Next up in our blog series on ways to revitalize your community: recruiting and maintaining strong community advocates. (Missed parts 1 and 2? Find out more about optimizing for mobile and improving search.)

 

Let’s start by defining a community advocate. An advocate is an evangelizer, a super user, and more - all in one. They are incredibly important to have in your community because they're the people who really love collaboration and community. You probably know the type. They’re the “gurus”, the first ones to learn a tool and the folks who really love to tell people how to use it. And they are the ones whom people naturally gravitate to in their peer group to ask questions about the new tool.

 

Some advocates will emerge naturally, which is great. It’s your job to encourage the naturals and to recruit more people to the team. One advocate can’t carry an entire community, but with an entire advocate network, you can enhance the quality of your community while gaining time back to do more big-picture community manager things, like managing a program and expanding your use cases.

 

How many Jive customers currently have an advocates network? We asked this question in our recent webinar, six strategies for revitalizing your community, and got the following response.

 

 

If you’re part of that 19%, awesome. If not, don’t despair - you’re not alone and it’s easy to get rolling.

 

How many advocates do you need?

 

We recommend one advocate for every 100 employees. That may sound like a lot, especially in a large organization, but it’s better to over-recruit than underestimate. Being a community advocate is an informal role, so people tend to move in and out of the ability to help depending on their other job responsibilities. It’s important to have a large group because you never know when you’ll need them.

 

Your advocate network should ideally be a diverse group as well as a relatively big one. They should come from all over your organization: all levels, roles, and locations. It's important to have people in every nook and cranny that you can think of. The more reach your advocates have, the more reach you have to get people trained, keep them engaged, and get the help that they need.

 

Recruiting advocates is especially important when you have locations in multiple countries. Local advocates understand the cultural norms in their locations, which makes them more effective at managing people in geo-specific communities.

 

What’s the best way to recruit advocates?

 

Start with the obvious enthusiasts. Find your advocates among the people you already see in the community who are helping others, posting and answering questions, wracking up a lot of points, etc. These folks are your low-hanging fruit.

 

To expand beyond the clear candidates, consider using rewards quests. For example, you can create a quest that has a few advanced tasks, then reach out to anyone who completes that quest and ask them if they'd like to be an advocate. One customer I worked with used that technique once a year to identify people. When someone completed the quest, they would send them a little mug and a little certificate and woo them into being an advocate that way. Another strategy is to make it a “gated society”. If you make it a bit more difficult to attain advocate status, with a particularly involved quest for instance, some employees become even more motivated to achieve that special designation.

 

Once people become advocates, how do we keep them in the role?

 

There are a variety of ways to show your appreciation for your community advocates.

  • Give them a little role badge that identifies them as an advocate, like how every Aurea employee has a little A in AureaWorks.
  • Ask them what tasks they’d like to perform to ensure they’re doing the things that they find fun and rewarding.
  • Run an advocate-of-the-month program with a small prize (desk swag!) or special recognition.
  • Come up with a fun name for your advocate network that works with your community. I work with one customer whose community is named The Bridge and their advocates are the “bridge builders”.


Advocates improve the community experience in several ways, from increasing engagement to boosting adoption to relieving community managers of doing All The Things. Recruiting and fostering an advocate network is a great way to revitalize your community by tapping into the resources you already have - and creating new ones. For more ways to revitalize your community, check out the other posts in this six-part series:

  • Recruiting advocates
  • Engaging leaders- coming soon
  • Personalizing your communities - coming soon
  • Sharing your successes- coming soon

In a recent blog post, I shared my top 5 strategies for boosting engagement with gamification, including different ways to leverage Jive Rewards for everything from onboarding to executive adoption. I’m a big proponent of gamification and talk about it often (see: this webinar), but in those conversations, I often hear that Jive customers have reservations.

 

Let’s look at some common concerns about gamification and how to address them.

 

Concern #1: My employees will spend all day gaming and not get any work done.

 

It is important to balance the ways that employees earn points or badges. We need to avoid rewarding only activities that are done by the user - this CAN make "gaming" rampant. Instead, the ways to earn badges and points need to be a combination of user activities and reaction to those activities by others. For example, a "mission" might include activities like creating a document or discussion, but it should also contain activities like "another user liked the document" or "another user commented on your discussion". This makes it so that the activities the user is doing are valued by others in the organization instead of just randomly "following" every person in the community to get points.

 

Concern #2: Gamification is too in-your-face for my organization.

 

Sometimes customers feel like gamification isn’t the right fit for their company culture. But one of the things I like about Jive Rewards is that it allows employees to be as engaged in the "competition" as they want to be. If they like earning badges, they have easy access to see what is available and where they are in the leaderboard. If it’s not a priority for them, it can run entirely in the background and they can ignore it. This “opt-in” system prevents the Rewards system from being too “in your face” while enabling it to gain momentum through the folks who choose to engage with it.

 

Concern #3: Leadership and/or the employees in my organization don’t care about earning points or badges.

 

Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. Even if your employees don’t care about any other elements of Rewards, no one can say that they didn’t like it when they received a badge from a colleague. Over and over, customers tell me that they find that members of their leadership team are competitive with each other - and using gamification as a way to encourage some friendly points-earning among them (with a leadership leaderboard to publicize it) can set a good example for other employees. And again, if someone truly doesn’t care, they can ignore it.

 

Concern #4: I can’t measure the impact of a gamification program.

 

Measuring the success of any initiative is a difficult proposition - and one that many community management teams try to avoid altogether. It can be next-to-impossible to discern if what you are doing with gamification is a contributing factor in changing the way employees work and in increasing employee satisfaction. But never fear, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data (from both within Jive and external resources), you should be able to put together a convincing story about the success of your initiative.

 

Jive Rewards has a comprehensive set of reports that allows you to see the completion levels for quests and missions, including which activities are getting completed most often. You can also check individual player activities. This data can be downloaded into csv files for further analysis.

 

For example, you could compare the number of new joiner onboarding quests completed (and review the people who completed it) to the number of people who joined the company in a certain time period. This can give you an idea of how successful your onboarding program is in getting new employees engaged in your community.

 

While earning points and badges may sound silly to your executives and/or employees (or even you!), it is definitely worth a shot. Customers are often surprised by how effective a gamification system can be. With a few guard rails in place, a few leaders on board, and a few reports in your back pocket, a Rewards program can take off quickly and return meaningful, measurable results.

 

To learn more about incorporating game theory into Jive communities, watch my recent webinar: 5 Gamification Strategies to Energize Your Community.

 

 

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