How to handle your staff / moderators

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(Flo Vater) #1

Hey everybody,

i guess after a long time just reeding, this is my first question here on feverbee! :slight_smile:

I’m leading a large german community for a long time now (around 18 years). We have 15 moderators, a couple of them have been a staff member for almost 10 years. Lately the staff activity is going doing

  • The staff isn’t talking to each other. Before they say anything (what’s on their mind), they remain silent
    Everyone is just doing what he likes. They don’t dive into discussions that could be hard to moderate
  • In my opinion they don’t care (anymore) about the community. At least not as they’ve cared before. They just wait till I say something. It’s been a long time since they did something for the community by themself (creating ideas, find solutions,…)
  • They’re stuck to their moderator privileges. Some of them haven’t moved or closed a thread in the last 9 month. If you ask them, they say something like “i have a lot of private stuff on my table but it’s gonna be better” Other moderators are complaining about this too (in private) but they wouldn’t say a word

How do you handle your staff member? Is this special to my team or do you have something similar? How should I handle this situation (it bothers me a lot)?

Thanks for your help! :slight_smile:

Flo


(Nick Emmett) #2

Hey @FloV - great to hear from you!

This is great that you’ve flown the nest and made your #firstpost - great work!

This sounds like quite the problem for you - would you say it’s affecting the community?
Do the team of moderators actually work for your organisation or are they customer/volunteers that were once ambassadors/power-users?
Is there a role description that exists for the role that they perform, and if so, where does the current behaviour sit against it?

Is there an option to get some new, more engaged people to do the same thing? Members of your community perhaps that could help out and play a larger, wider role?

How have other people managed similar situations I wonder?


(Janell Vasquez) #3

For the staff members, is this their primary role? Or are the moderator duties just part of their day jobs, and maybe just a small part of their day jobs? Do they report to you or to someone else, to a different team? I think the answers to your question depend a lot on the answers to those questions, it sounds like you’re dealing with human nature.

People generally have 2 reasons they do things - the reason that’s socially acceptable (I’m busy) and the real reason (maybe here it’s that this work just isn’t interesting or challenging or fun anymore?). Trying to understand them and where they are coming from would be vital in how to approach this with them.


(Flo Vater) #4

Hey to both of you,

sorry for the late reply, have been on vacation the last couple of days.

I guess it’s not really affecting the community. At least not in a way the regular users would notice it right now. But in my opinion it seems a little bit fell asleep. If the team members would interact a little bit more with the community (in a pro active way) there would be more engagement and “feel good mood” by the community. But of course, the moderators are just volunteers. They are students, have jobs, family,… They don’t really report. We have a team forum where we discuss topics that we’re unsure about.

Actually, there isn’t a real role description for the staff right now. We never thought we would need any. Of course there would be a lot of good members, that would do the same job almost better. But if i bring this topic to the staff, they’re denying the need of new staff members. Because in there mind, there isn’t a problem at all.


(Piper_Wilson) #5

Maybe you could post threads designed to motivate your moderators. Rich sometimes post totally random awards. I got one for loving posts. I got nothing except a mention in that thread, but I did feel affirmed and appreciated.

Something like that may bolster the general health without needing new staff right away. It will buy you some time to create a job description for new moderators and to quantitatively clarify your need.


(Laurenfaye512) #6

First, sorry to hear you’re in this position. I can definitely see how it would be super frustrating to feel like the moderators are asleep at the wheel.

If you don’t already, I would put something in writing about the expectations for volunteer moderators. For example, we have a document that we use to onboard community ambassadors that outlines what we expect from you (moderation help, etc) and then what we give you in return (the perks). Having these details in writing will help if you ever have a tough conversation with an individual that isn’t pulling their weight.

Next, I’d start a conversation in the team forum where you talk about the perks. What motivates you to volunteer and help out in this Community? What would you like to see more of? See less of? What else can we do to help you (outside of paying you :wink: ). Opening up this dialog can help ease the way for future conversations. Also, it will give you valuable information on how you structure your volunteer moderator program – maybe they need more incentive or a different type of incentive. You’ll never know unless you ask.

From there, I would schedule a google hangouts (or start a thread) to go over your newly created expectations/perks document. This would be all about resetting expectations.

In our community ambassador program, we recruit for new moderators continuously throughout the year and give people the chance to bow out if life ever becomes too busy. We want coverage, but I don’t want to deal with a lot of dead weight that doesn’t bring value to the program. My advice is to be okay with bringing new blood in and letting people go if they are no longer interested.

Hope this helps!