When it comes to getting employees to participate in building a community online, most would likely regard the whole thing as nothing but more work for them. If it isn’t something that is part of their job description, and if you decide to somehow get them to do it by force, expect that they will usually do so by exerting only the minimum effort to whatever the task is at hand.
This is the reason that employers are advised to first look into the various needs and strengths of their community before making the decision of tapping the participation of the employees. Part of the evaluation process is to determine if there is indeed some positive effect towards getting the staff involved or if it’s a move that is just going to be an unnecessary distraction. Only after you have made the decision should you take on the task of strategizing for means and ways that can get your employees to take part.
Your next concern would be how you can get people to be invested in growing and participating in your community. It would help to come up with a scheme that will tap into the craving of your staff towards responsibility, ego-strokes or fame. When there are motivational reaps behind why they should be part of your community, it becomes easier to convince them to not only participate but to also put in more than just the minimum effort.
Requiring Participation
Online forums offer the advantage of a cost-effective means for communication. This can be a great medium for posting digital newsletters, memos, event announcements, policy change heads-up, as well as various other opportunities that have just been made available to the organization. To make staff more participative in the community, make it a point to post essential information. Make checking out the community something that employees will be motivated to do every day by providing something that they won’t be able to find somewhere else.
If the online community is part of your bid to implement a paperless office environment, then make sure that all of the materials that used to be printed out and distributed to employees are now added to the archives in the only community. You can even add training materials to the archive that people can access any time. Make sure too, that your staff gets to access the most important documents via the community to make it a great source of information not only for the new employees but for tenured ones as well.
When employees become more familiar and comfortable with logging into the online resource tools all the time, the next steps will now be concentrated on how to develop and grow the community. This would be most helpful for companies that have employees that are working virtually and on-site. The addition of an online forum can be helpful in ensuring that every group or department can connect with each other in real-time.
Reward Participation
If you would rather make your online community more of an option for your employees instead of something they are required to participate in, you’ll need something to motivate them to actually wanting to be a part of it. To succeed, you’ll need to get people to engage in these forums by making it something beneficial for them.
Among the things you can do to increase forum participation include, making them moderators so they will need to log in and be proactively part of the forums, run contests and other competitions that offer rewards for those picked as winners, get employees to write testimonials or columns, and tie both online and live activities together among others. When you get more people to be invested into the online forum, you’ll start seeing your online community flourish and develop into how you envisioned it to be. The key is implementing the right strategy.