Why you need group leader coaching to build engagement on Workplace

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You've launched Workplace to your organization, and early adoption and engagement are strong. But as the initial buzz calms down, people are starting to ask - how do I use Workplace for... real work? It's up to you to have the answer. We know that building strong group leaders is the secret sauce to a thriving Workplace community. To keep employees interested, engaged and productive, you need to support the mid-to-senior leaders who will bring their processes and work out of email and into the community.

Building productive, confident, responsive and inclusive group leaders requires a bit of preparation and sometimes a lot of practice. It's not always natural for leaders to shift their work habits away from "what they know" into a more open, collaborative home like Workplace. One-on-one coaching with a Workplace expert can help take your community from needing a kick-start to engaged and eager.

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Building Strong Group Leaders in Four Steps

Who are your group leaders? They are the manager, director and VP-level employees who are responsible for a team, a project, a function or an area of the business. Inside Workplace, they will build and lead their people to work more openly and together. Group leaders will build the group and drive engagement for the purpose of achieving their intended business outcome.

Here are four tried-and-true ways to get them up and running in Workplace with confidence.

1.    Teach them the basics of engagement. Not all group leaders realize the importance of their role within Workplace, or how the platform can be leveraged to create dialogue (rather than a one-way broadcast channel). Some are thrown into the position simply as a part of newfound Workplace job duties, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to facilitate employee connections (yet). At minimum, one-on-one coaching sessions are of value in establishing a baseline for group leaders and how their role is essential to creating a positive employee experience. Some daily expectations of group leaders might include:

  • Greeting & tagging new members as they join. You wouldn’t want to walk into a dinner party without any acknowledgement. Group leaders should operate as hosts by @ mentioning new members in a status update.
  • Ensuring questions are answered in a timely manner. Point out resources, including other people with an @ mention, if you are not the best user to answer.
  • Starting and continuing conversations with members. It has to be somebody’s job to present the icebreaker questions – and that somebody is the group leader.

2.    Provide accountability, based on the group’s specific objectives. Each group within Workplace is unique. A one-on-one coaching session can help group leaders to hone in on a few concrete goals, and exactly what is to be accomplished within workplace. We always tell group leaders to avoid "boiling the ocean" and keep their focus narrow. Developing customized daily and weekly Workplace action plans based on these objectives holds group leaders accountable – and helps co-leaders to remain on the same wavelength. Group leaders can ensure objectives are met by:

  • Establishing two to three concrete goals for the group and specifically spelling out how Workplace will be used to accomplish the goals.
  • Communicating these goals clearly – in the group description and/or as a pinned post at the top of the group – is important for keeping the focus, too.

3.    Highlight opportunities for improvement. Groups that aren't prioritized by group leaders will often receive the same treatment from users. If a group leader is only posting to the group once every two weeks, post frequency obviously should be an area of focus. But other opportunities for improvement aren’t always so obvious. A seasoned community coach can help you determine less-obvious ways to boost engagement. You might coach your group leaders to be more engaging and signal the group's importance by:

  • Responding to questions or posts in a timely manner – Response time is important. It helps group members know their questions and contributions are valued. Establish a one-hour goal for acknowledging posts, even if it’s just a simple “like.”
  • Calling out and encouraging others to post – If group managers are the only users doing the posting, members might be waiting for an invitation. Choose a topic for discussion and @ mention key users to signal that their response is requested.
  • Giving thanks – Don’t forget to thank members for their contributions to let them know that they’re valued. Give thanks by @mentioning the user in a thread they’ve started or in a new “kudos” post giving a bigger shout out to the @mentioned individual(s).

4.    Build confidence and peer support with a Group Leader Hangout. Group coaching is a great opportunity for group leaders to bounce ideas off of a each other and more experienced community leaders. Are you looking to onboard a new hire population primarily on Workplace? Not sure where to start in launching your first crowdsourcing campaign? Build a dedicated group in Workplace for all of your group leaders to join, share best practices, and offer advice to each other. The organic support that group leaders receive from their peers will work wonders in boosting confidence and competence in leading a team in Workplace.

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Talk Social to Me's "How to be a Great Group Leader in Workplace" is a practical resource that can help boost engagement on your organization's Workplace platform.

How can the community professionals at Talk Social to Me help coach your organization's group leaders? Connect with us for a copy of our How to be a Great Group Leader in Workplace guide today.