Staff Engagement Framework for Community Participation

(Marjorie Anderson) #1

Does anyone have any examples of a staff engagement framework they have seen or used for staff participation in your community? I have something in the works that covers 4 points I want to hit (observe, participate, collaborate, create), but I’m waiting on some research to be published within the next couple of weeks to use industry data to support it. I might need to frame my thoughts a bit differently but if there’s anything anyone has or has seen, I would be very appreciative.

For context, our community is a member-facing community but staff participation is encouraged where it makes sense.

Thanks for reading.


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(rhogroupee) #2

Here’s our instructions for both internal and external [staff] (hope it’s helpful!):

Be clear. Have clear and stated policies and rules of conduct for users and moderators.

Be consistent with your policies and their enforcement. Treat every user as an individual, but be consistent in your handling of them. Don’t make people guess or wonder how you’ll handle issues. Being clear and consistent with stated rules allows the Community to police itself.

Be honest and upfront. If you make a mistake, admit to it, and have a clear and stated plan as to how you’ll fix it. 

Be a role model. Your behavior within the community should be an example of how you wish your participants to behave. 

Be thorough. You can never give too much information. An answer to a problem or question that is too short, or is missing information, doesn’t solve an issue, but rather creates new issues.  Always answer as fully as possible with as much detail as possible.

Be visible. If you edit or remove someone’s content, make sure both they and the community know that you edited or removed it and why it was unacceptable or needed repair. Let them learn good conduct or habits by their mistakes.

Be trusting. Let the Community feel invested in itself. Allow them to police themselves, with proper guidance. Allow strong, trusted community members to answer questions, make suggestions, or even be promoted to moderator status. Reward helpful community members with things like special titles or avatars.  Using items such as titles and avatars will let new people know who they can trust for help or guidance.

Be a listener. Communicate. Regard your use of your community as two-way conversation and not a one-way broadcast.

Be innovative.  Make use of the community outside the community. Use tools and widgets to spread the wealth of your community throughout your entire website.

(Sarah Hawk) #3

Note: I moved the reply above from a private thread with @rhogroupee’s permission.

(Marjorie Anderson) #4

Thank you! This is very helpful. I appreciate it!

(Doug Agee) #5

This a good discussion @marjorieandersonpmi. I really like your four points[quote=“marjorieandersonpmi, post:1, topic:2705”]
(observe, participate, collaborate, create)

And your instructions @rhogroupee are great guidance for community champions as well. Thank you for sharing.

I would add a line or two that reminds the staffer or champion how much our participation helps the members and our community. I sometimes sense hesitation from staff when it comes to contributing the same way we talked about in the We need to change our behaviour here at Experts discussion. I see the list as a good way to prepare for participation just like the way you would prepare for public speaking.

(Marjorie Anderson) #6

Thanks @Doug_Agee. I really wanted to lay it out in pieces, so to speak, to give some guidance. I’m trying to balance hesitancy/overeagerness and the need to connect participation with operational/organizational goals while also keeping in mind the purpose of the community (i.e., community is not a free marketing channel). It’s a fine line we walk. I like your idea about adding something that reminds staff how much the participation helps the community. I think that’s super important to remember. Not only that, but framing participation so that it doesn’t look like “added work” but more of a meaningful contribution. @richard_millington sent a newsletter out a few weeks ago, I believe, that touched on that.

Thanks for your feedback, everyone!

(Paul Wehking) #7

Hi Marjorie, Doug and rhogroupee,

Great conversation and good points. If I may be so bold as to add to @rhogroupee 's great list, when working with our clients we often tell them to have their staff…

Be accessible - staff are a necessary, valued part of the conversation in many cases, so being visible and participatory is a plus. It also helps to fuzz the lines between “members” and “staff” and has everyone feeling like they are truly a part of something bigger, something important that they can contribute to.

Be a Connector - staff does not necessarily need to chime in on the conversations but may often play the role of connector, connecting the person who asked the question or has a challenging problem, to someone they know may be able to help. This serves at least three functions that are great for the community.

  1. Connects one member to another
  2. Furthers the conversation
  3. Builds engagement and familiarity with the community

“Connect” could be the fifth point in your plan (observe, participate, collaborate, create, connect)

I hope these help and good luck in your efforts!


(Marjorie Anderson) #8

Yes, Connect! @Pwehking, that’s a great point. Thank you for adding that to this list.

This is great feedback.

(Annaleeshelton) #9

I have an orientation-type document [for staff], here's what it looks like: 

How do I create a profile?
[step by step instructions]

Do I have to get personal?

The Community is a place to share, find support, and learn.  If you have questions or want to share a personal story, you’re welcome to.  But you don’t have to, and as an employee it’s understandable that there are reasons you might not want to.   

Here are some ideas for non-personal posts (you can find more at the Staff Community Templates doc):

  • I tried this recipe and loved it (link)
  • Finished this book last night and had to share (link)  
  • Did my self-care today by going for a walk with my dog [photo]

What if someone asks a question I’m not comfortable answering?

If you get a question about treatment, or someone asking for help, or anything else you’re not comfortable asking, notify Anna immediately. Please do not respond until she has provided guidance. 

What if I get negative feedback?

Please inform Anna.  We have a negative feedback plan in place, and Anna will work with the appropriate person to ensure the best response. 

How can I possibly post that many times in a day?

Once you get the hang of it, posting is easy.  Just be yourself, and if you have any trouble come chat with Anna.  

What if I get addicted and want to spend all my time on the Community?

The more time you can spend interacting with members, the stronger our Community will be! But we do still have individual jobs to do. If you find yourself spending more time than you should in the Community, Anna can help you create a schedule. 

What are our members like?

They’re grrrreat! At launch, our average member is [demographic info] 

(Marjorie Anderson) #10

This is great, @annaleeshelton . I had started something like this, but it certainly needs to be expanded upon. I appreciate the share!

(Jeanne Carboni) #11

Hi @marjorieandersonpmi! Great topic. If you mean community management staff, we have general rules of engagement that they use to govern member behavior. We also use the community for communicating noteworthy topics.

For SAP employees we had complaints about too much marketing material, so we created this “Rock Star Blogger” video and game. Feel free to give it a try.


(Sarah Hawk) #12

What a cool idea! I know that @jhb317 was struggling with a similar issue earlier this year. This might be of interest to you Jess.

(Marjorie Anderson) #13

Thanks @jtcarboni! I agree with @HAWK that is a cool idea! Thanks for sharing it here! Everyone has really given me a great push in the right direction. I appreciate it!

(Robert McIntosh) #14

Thank you @hawk for hooking me up with this older conversation. I’m responding in part to bring it back to life in case others, like me, might find it useful. The topic of the internal audience for an external community is one I have not seen that much about, but is very relevant to me.

@marjorieandersonpmi are you able to share what the resulting document looked like after this conversation?

I am working on something for a UK based organisation and want to give staff guidance on how to walk that fine balance between participation for themselves, and participation as support (and to some extent, marketing).

Thanks all for making this such a great resource with great advice

(Marjorie Anderson) #15

Hi @thirstforwine, I’m happy to share what I put together. I’ve attached it here for reference. It isn’t perfect, but I hope it helps! Staff Engagement Framework.docx (166.2 KB)

(Robert McIntosh) #16

Perfect timing as I am trying to organise my thoughts at the moment. Many thanks :heart_eyes:

I will probably have one added dimension because the staff here might WANT to participate in the community as a member/participant and not for commercial reasons, and therefore I need to give them guidance about how to keep the two separate (enough) to avoid accusations of either misleading members, or upsetting the organisation (for expressing a personal POV)

this should be fun :wink:

(Marjorie Anderson) #17

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out!