8 Replies Latest reply on Jun 16, 2011 2:11 PM by rdellimmagine

    What's are best practices for employee interaction on company external communities?

    nfusz

      How do you handle employee interaction on your external community?

       

      Do you ask your general employee population to engage with your external community users?  Is this appropriate? 

       

      My best common sense tells me that a company shouldn't shun their employees from interacting with their users as long as they have something relevant to say/contribute.  Another thought is that they should be identified as an employee so users won't feel duped if they happen to find out an employee is acting as a external user.  Finally, I think a best practice is to determine a point person for each department (marketing, customer service, sales ect...) and train those users on the community policies and messaging so there's some kind of consistancy in the messaging and personality communicated with the community members.

       

      I'm curious what others are doing and what issues people have had with the own employees engaging with users on their external communities. 

       

      Thanks!

      Nicole

        • Re: What's are best practices for employee interaction on company external communities?

          If internal employees are engaging on our site as "employees", which is identified in their profile status, they have to follow specific internal guidelines we have set. However, we do not discourage users who want to be participants of our site as a customer. In order for them to do this, they simply need to setup a different account/profile on the site as a regular customer would do. With that they can participate under the site terms and conditions as any customer would.

           

          This has worked well for us so far on our three different sites on Jive.

           

          Ada

          • Re: What's are best practices for employee interaction on company external communities?

            Hi Nicole,

             

            Our external community is relatively new, so we're still climbing the learning curve on this question. Right now, our policy towards employees participating within our Community is somewhat strict; not only do said employees need to be approved beforehand, but they also need to take a short community tutorial, as well as sign off on internal employee guidelines (at which point, they are distinguished on our Community by a special company badge). Part of the reason for this approach is that we don't want our Community to become a marketing mouthpiece for our company, but rather the go-to place for all folks - whether they are customers or not - to come to learn more about our industry.

            So this is a long way of saying we're taking it one step at a time, erring on the side of less employee participation right now, unless we can make a clear case as to how it adds value to our Community.

             

            Hope this helps.

             

            All the best,

            Laura

            • Re: What's are best practices for employee interaction on company external communities?
              rdellimmagine

              We put a company logo on the employee's avatar, i.e. the "Q" badge on my photo at right.  So that makes it obvious who is an employee.Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 10.57.17 AM.png

               

              My policy is fairly loose.  I informally remind people that they are representing the company, and they need to keep that in mind, and then I talk in more detail only as needed. In my experience, employees generally get it. Also, my community is still relatively young and for the most part we get technical questions, so I'm more focused on encouraging employee participation than I am worried about how they will participate. Also, the sensitive questions, e.g. "Why doesn't your company's product do xyz?" tend to get answered by product managers, who already know how to talk to customers.

               

              Every community is different, so the best approach depends on the environment you're working in.

                • Re: What's are best practices for employee interaction on company external communities?
                  dswager

                  Robert,

                   

                  Hook me up with how your developers did that.  Help a brother out.

                   

                  Thanks,

                   

                  Daryll

                    • Re: What's are best practices for employee interaction on company external communities?
                      rdellimmagine

                      Hi Daryll, Good to hear from you!!

                       

                      We use JavaScript (jquery, actually) to overlay the company badge on the avatar:

                       

                      Here's the HTML that places the avatar & company badge on the page:

                       

                      <span class="jive-author-avatar-container">
                        <a class="jiveTT-hover-user" onmouseout="quickuserprofile.cancelTooltip();" onmouseover="var presence = null; quickuserprofile.getUserProfileTooltip( 2001, presence );" data-avatarid="1048" data-username="rdellimmagine" data-externalid="" href="/people/rdellimmagine">
                          <img class="jive-avatar" width="46" height="46" border="0" alt="Robert Dell'Immagine" src="/people/rdellimmagine/avatar/46.png?a=1048">
                          <span style="display:none;" username="rdellimmagine"></span>
                        </a>
                        <img class="qualys-employee-badge" border="0" title="Qualys Employee" alt="" src="/themes/qcommunity/images/qualys-badge.png">
                      </span>
                      

                       

                      And here's the jquery snippet that moves the badge:

                       

                      <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8">
                           "use strict";
                           (function ($) {
                               $(document).ready(function () {
                      
                                   /* move the qualys employee badge icon from the avatar down to the user's name on the profile page */
                                   var qualysemployeebadge = $('#jive-profile-avatar img.qualys-employee-badge-inline').remove();
                                   if (qualysemployeebadge) {
                                       $('dl.vcard dd.fn').prepend(qualysemployeebadge);
                      
                                   }
                           }());
                       </script>
                      

                       

                      If you need more help, I'll have to refer you to my developer who is out until Monday.

                       

                      - Robert