How to launch an online community at your organization

by Mike Sharkey

We’ve explored the reasons how to get the best out of your online community at work. But how do you launch one? From getting buy-in to choosing the right platform, here’s how to get your online collaboration off to a good start.

Online communities are places where members form friendships, share ideas, receive support, get feedback and provide mentoring.

They can foster an atmosphere of togetherness and connection where everyone can feel a part of something.

Just 14% of companies believe their internal processes for collaboration work well

And because they’re online, they can have a wider and deeper reach than other types of traditional communities.

Workers have an appetite to be part of a community of their peers and influential leaders. Yet only 14% of companies believe their internal processes for collaboration and decision-making work well.

So how do you launch a community online that’s built to last?

Get buy-in from management

First things first. There has to be support for your online community across your organization from the top down otherwise it won’t get off the ground.

Senior managers should understand the objectives and the benefits the community will bring to the business. Focus on the increase in productivity and the improvements to collaboration across diverse teams as a way to gain support.

Focus on the increase in productivity and collaboration to gain support

You’ll also want to find people in all departments willing to champion the cause. They may even volunteer to be part of your online community management team.

Organizations deploying Workplace often enlist a dedicated Chief Workplace Officer to coordinate and energize the community deployment.

So right from the first day, people began to spontaneously interact with each other with no effort and in a genuine way. No training required!

Choose the right platform

Once you’ve got support for the idea, you’ll need to find a suitable online tool to build your community. Look for a platform that’s easy to set up, user-friendly and cost-efficient.

Your chosen platform should integrate easily with the other tools you use

To get the most out of it, the platform should have enough space to grow with your organization and easily integrate with other popular tools your organization uses every day.

With Workplace, for example, you can connect to apps and services you already use to streamline everyday tasks like managing your payroll using ADP software.

Draw up a clear plan of action

Developing an online community won’t happen overnight. You should plan it as a long-term project that will grow over time. But there are things you’ll need to put in place from the get-go, including:

  • An online community management team to run the operation
  • Community guidelines and a moderation policy for online etiquette
  • Tools to make it easier for people to do their jobs
  • Metrics to determine employee engagement
  • Content creation schedule

Launch the community and invite members

Before the big rollout, make sure you give your online community management team some hands-on training in the software they’ll be using. You can then make some set-up decisions.

Workplace Groups enable people to share and engage with company updates

Workplace Groups are a good way to organize your online community and enable people to share and engage with company updates. You also have total control over the type of groups that you set up.

They can be open, closed or secret which helps you set clear expectations about the types of content for any given group.

Teams often work together in project groups that are usually closed or secret. These are spaces for people to securely share files and collaborate on documents via your preferred integrations like Box or Sharepoint.

Give people a reason to stay

Once you’ve got your online community up and running, you need people to use it. To keep your members coming back, the platform needs to be fun, engaging and, above all, a useful work tool.

You’ll effectively be building a searchable and dynamic knowledge base

Encourage members to post updates, ask questions, upload documents and share ideas with each other. They can also use the online community to stay informed about what’s going on in sales, marketing, HR and other areas of the company.

This way you’ll effectively build a searchable and dynamic knowledge base for everyone in your organization to find better ways of working together.

Watch how Telenor uses Workplace to connect people and get more done. And try Workplace Premium free for 90-days.

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