On Tuesday 16 March, I attended the "What Have You Done For Me Lately? Challenges for mature communities" breakout session. I work for Pearson and Neo, our Jive community, is 5 years old, so we're definitely a mature community and we do have our fair share of challenges. I thought it would be interesting to see if other CMs face the same challenges we do and, if so, what they are doing to tackle those challenges and how can we work together to resolve those issues.
The very witty and funny Kathryn Everest, was joined by three speakers:
Rona Fouche, PwC
Aaron Kim, RBC
Each speaker shared a little about their company. Over the course of five months, PwC ran a series of "Ask me Anything" live discussions. They wanted to engage with their network on PwC's purpose and create conversation. The outcome of these discussions led to the various senior partners leading live discussions with the entire network to discuss, debate and ideate PwC's purpose. This meant that there was great opportunity for everyone to engage with leaders in an open forum. On their first day, they had 11,000 views, approx. 7,000 active users and over the course of the next five months almost 2,000 comments. That's pretty cool stuff, so nice to see discussions being used this way and it's given me something to think about for when i get back to London.
All three speakers had the same questions all of us CMs do: how do we break down silos and how can we get people working together. Michelle continued to tell us about all the wonderful things they do in their community. They have their CEO do a weekly blog series, which has huge engagement, they also have "Ask Me" sessions, which i think are fab! We have #AskNeo: Working Together sessions at Pearson. Pearson colleagues all over the world have a great resource of help content they can access in our help place. But if that's not enough and they need some more 1:1 support, they can request a 30min #AskNeo session, dependent on the type of request, either The specified item was not found., The specified item was not found. or I will take the call and walk them through any specific questions they have. It's a model that works for us and it's great to see others also doing this type of training, much more bespoke and personal to your colleague.
One thing that was very clear in this session was that building an advocate network goes a long way. Get your experts, train them, look after them, support them, reward and nurture them. But don't leave it too long before you review your advocates to ensure their passion is still burning strong. Some advocates sign up as it's a shiny new thing to play with, but six months later, it may not be so hot anymore, or their circumstances may have changed. That's not a bad thing, it's great to review and update your advocates program, ensuring you have a range of advocates. We love and want to hug our cheerleaders, but we need to bring those negative nelly's onboard, through love and lots of hand holding, they become our biggest cheerleaders and that's so much more satisfying, right?
Michelle provided some measurement for her community, e.g., top bloggers, places and content of the year. I think that gets a bit of healthy competition going and I plan to talk to the rest of the Neo team and consider implementing this. Something this simple can have such an effect for those who are concerned about the numbers/views and want to do more to get their views up.
During the Q&A, a fellow CM asked, "How do you get execs involved?" This question is super interesting to me, because we all have this problem, right? Some more than others, I know. Here are some key thoughts from the speakers, I hope it helps/inspires you:
- Ongoing effort. If you have execs that are digital, target them first and work with them to get the ball rolling.
- Get execs talking to people. It’s small things, like an exec personally responding to or liking comments. Let employees see that their leader wants to be engaged with them.
- Earn your executive support. Share the successes. Show execs how we can support them in the community.
- Have your CEO do an "Ask Me" session about the business. Ease them in gently, show them the digital collaborative way.
- Stakeholder meetings. Explain how they can increase their engagement with the business through a community.
- Run an "Ask Me" session to help engage your exec. This takes a lot of time and effort, but it is totally worth it.