Admins are the foundation of any employee community. Ironically, even if it is meant to be social, it needs the building blocks that can only set by Admins. As an Admin, you will have to lead by example for your end users. Whatever guidelines you and team define for the users, you need to follow yourself from the very beginning. We made an attempt to document some of best practices you should follow while setting up your employee community.
1. Site – true micro-sites with social touch
Define your site’s purpose. What kind of messages and information will your employees find here?
Consider your audience. Is your site intended for all employees, or a select audience? (The broader your audience the better.) What value will employees find here?
How may you “staff” your site? For instance, you should identify a Site Manager and determine how you’ll keep your site updated. Rely on help; encourage people to create content for your site. Promote useful information as a priority.
Keep your “stuff” on your site brief, simple and useful. These are good guiding principles so employees don’t have to work too hard combing through your site content. They will always appreciate simplicity.
Make your content easy to find and access. Think short, strong headlines (one line of 3-4 words is ideal for headlines) and always add “topics” (tags) to your content. Be sure to search for the stuff you create to ensure that it’s searchable.
2. Feed (Activity Stream)
The news feed occupies a good chunk of real estate on your site Dashboard and Home page; be mindful of its presence and influence. Try using polls or asking questions—anything to get easy input from employees to help you assess a program or solve a problem. Do not dump documents in the activity stream, use Resources to provide good description of documents and use links to documents inside or outside Simpplr.
Create sites that are meaningful to your user community. Identify pain points and form sites around business problems. It’s totally okay to just have sites by department names or by teams but it’s critical to get your users involved in the decision making process. Sites have to resonate to them so they can relate to the purpose and adopt them quickly.
Document purpose and identity of a Site in the description. Users should know why this site exists and what type of content should shared in this site. You don’t want and IT person talking about computer hard disk optimization in a Finance team site. Or Vice versa.
As the owner or champion of a group, keep it interesting and active. Post frequently. Give people a reason to keep checking in. Ask for feedback, capture ideas and solve problems together.
Your “news” should have one an only one purpose; keep your user community informed about what’s going on around them. Listen to your users and find out what they are interested in hearing about. They’ll provide feedback directly, which can be used to adjust the kinds of stories you put in front of your employees. Examples would be: Company PR News, Financial Results, Giveback Event, Competitor News, Partner News, Industry Award, Industry Trends, Big Customer Win etc.
Headlines are especially important to help “sell” your story. They should also be kept to one line be no more than 3-4 short words in length. Good headlines should often offer intriguing promises – they’re simple, direct and irresistible enough to compel an employee to learn more. The headline informs or teases to help get the attention of our busy employees. The headline is not abstract. It’s intended to draw the reader into the story and should work well with the graphic.
5. Branding the app
There is a direct correlation between user adoption and branding. Users need to feel like it’s their employee community, it’s company’s employee community that brings a sense of ownership. Make sure to personalize Simpplr to match your corporate brand. Simpplr provides basic branding features and makes it super easy for Admins to personalize the look and feel of overall application. Changing logo, header color, header links, footer color, footer links and text in the footer are the few easy customizations that you can do in minutes.
6. Don’t lose the social touch
Sometimes Admins get carried away and with good intentions want to control the application too much. Two-Way Conversations are now the Norm. Without a doubt, social media has vastly changed the way we communicate, creating an environment where two-way conversations are the norm. We expect it. We demand it. A similar expectation has translated into how employees want to engage with their employers. Employees are no longer satisfied with simply “being in the know”. They also want to ask questions about decisions being made within their organization, and voice their opinions – just like on social media platforms. It’s critical for you to find that balance and make sure you are not losing the social approach to how new employee communities are delivered and managed.
7. Training and Documentation
Simpplr team will provide you enough training documentation to get started. Please spend time reviewing those documents and customize them as per your organization’s needs. A little training for new users goes a long way. Help orient employees with a brief presentation (live or documented) on how to use the platform (be specific!) and share success stories from its use. Give explicit next steps for employees to take when getting started. This will ensure that open conversations are interesting, relevant and appropriate.