Bonus plans for Community Managers

(Nick Emmett) #1

My role is changing here, I’m finally getting to the point where I’m going to be dropping my secondary role and focussing solely on Community - a question I’ve been asked, and therefore I’m putting the question out to you guys is, do you have any kind of bonus scheme for you as a community manager, if so what sort of things does it focus on? Membership? Activity levels? Contributors?

And whether you do or don’t, what do you think would be a good thing to include in such a plan?

(Richard Millington) #2

Congrats @Nick_Emmett,

We tend to prefer bonus schemes focused on the success of the company rather than the individual. Almost any incentive to achieve a metric can lead to perverse outcomes.

I know one org tried to set bonuses to improve the average time on site. So the community manager simply removed the accounts of people who were less likely to spend a lot of time on the site.

We’re toying around with some clear benchmarks based around the community manager acquiring a specific set of skills and knowledge. But it’s still a work in progress at the moment (and we need to add the right attributions to it).

(Katie Paffhouse Bussey) #3

Congrats! I’ve only worked in orgs where there the senior team awards merit bonuses based on reviews.

(Nikoletta Harrold) #4

Congrats Nick. Unfortunately there are not many studies out there for the UK on salaries. We have recently completed a crowd sourced salary study with CMX. This post focuses on North America, since 95% of all answers were in this region. You will see bonuses are a big part of competitive compensation in North America for CMGR’s.

I have some data points for the UK too, but not in a blog or graph format for now. So here it is:

Personally I have been incentivized with bonuses for the last 5 years in my CMGR roles in North America. It has always been tied to two things: 1) overall company performance (determines the % funding of my total bonus achievable per quarter) 2) % achieved of my quarterly expectation (tasks, campaigns, projects).

If you want an example of what a quarterly MBO structure looked like, I am sure I could dig one up as an example.

Ultimately the calculation looked something like this (Fictitious numbers):

Company overall performance hit 80%
Personal MBO completed 90%

Quarterly Bonus = (Personal Incentive $ x Company Performance %) x Personal MBO completed

$1,800 = ($2,500 x 0.8) x 0.9

(Kristen Gastaldo) #6

Hey Nick - I’ve had a bonus plan with both of my community manager jobs. Both of them are based around the team goals, of which I held a handful of target metrics. I agree that it makes more sense to tie bonuses to a team or company goal, so you don’t end up working JUST to hit numbers.

At my first position, the metrics I reported on (that were included in team goals) were active members, new topics, answered questions, self-service questions, and a champions program. I worked with my manager to set realistic goals, based on the fact that it was a product specific community, only open to customers.

At my new company, I actually don’t report in on target metrics yet, as we just launched (but I’m sure I will soon)!

(Richard Millington) #7

Almost any metric can lead to unforeseen consequences.

Worked with a client once where the team were measured by average satisfaction scores (member ratings of how satisfied they were with the answers to their questions). The scale ranged from 1 to 5…with 5 being very satisfied to 1 being very unsatisfied.

They realized a clever way to increase their scores. Only answer questions when they could give a positive answer that resolved the problem. If they couldn’t, they simply wouldn’t answer the question and the member wouldn’t be able to give a negative score.

So most questions didn’t get an answer.

Worked with another where they were measured by the % of questions which they answered. They had another neat trick. They simply removed the questions they didn’t answer (or didn’t want to answer).

Another measured the community manager by average level of activity per active member. So they setup a system that would automatically remove members below a certain thresh-hold of activity. Another focused on # of members, they imported their mailing list into the community database, another on participation rate…they removed all the inactive accounts. etc…etc…

I’ve never ceased to be amazed by the ingenuity of people to cheat the system to hit their targets.

(Nikoletta Harrold) #8

Hi @Nick_Emmett - the blog post is now published.