Does anyone has experience of employees as super users?
We are starting a Super Users program for our community member. This program should only be for member who are not employees, but at the same time we would like to implement a similar program for employees, encouraging them to participate in the community.
How to implement this kind of internal super users program, and how to get everyone "on board" with this, without this being imposed from "above"?
We have quite a few clearly identified staff who participate on their own time to our forum and they are often very helpful members. When formulating our own superuser program we decided to include unofficial staff (people who had no responsibilities for the forum) in the program due to this. I am confident it has helped to strengthen their loyalty to the company and as an added bonus I know they actively advocate the forum in their own teams/business units, which only helps to improve community exposure internally
My company requires that staff identify themselves on the forum, all social media actually, when discussing our products or partners to ensure transparency and also that they follow our staff social media guidelines. These guidelines are all that I required to manage their participation in the forum generally and the superuser program, no additional work required on my part!
What is the reason or identified risks that resulted in the decision to run parallel programs rather than a consolidated one?
If your business does not have a set of guidelines for staff participating in forum or social then I would recommend that you create a specific set of guidelines for staff for the forum at least. These can then form the first plank of your new internal superuser program.
I would be interested to hear if other CMs run consolidated or separate programs too.
As a small B2B community, we rely a lot on a small team of very helpful internal super-users. Most contributions are voluntary, but we also have management buy-ins to have team members respond to unanswered posts. Employees have their own ranking structure, and we do have internal recognition programs (quarterly recognitions, annual award presented by executives) to encourage participation.
@Vanessa_Simao that makes sense, employee participation (outside the mods, admins and official support staff) on the forum is 100% voluntary and we try to treat them as just another user as the work is done on their own time.
If employees in your company are encouraged to participate and/or required to participate in a certain way a separate program makes sense.
@ac we used to have separate ranking structure for employees but found that overwhelmingly customers treated these staff as official reps and expected them to capture their details, proactively contact and then personally resolve every issue raised. These employees were contributing on their own time, often at home not work so it was a poor experience for all parties due to a misunderstanding of our community intent. Our desire is to have issues discussed between members and where possible resolved on forum so we removed the staff ranks.
We have invited our team members to participate on Workshop as individuals. They are passionate and knowledgeable about home improvement and gardening, so they have a lot to offer the community. We are simply asking them in the interests of transparency to declare they are a team member if they ever recommend a product or service. We don't have plans to formally identify them because Workshop is a community of interest, not a customer service channel, and we have official representatives to respond to customers if needed. There is certainly no compulsion for our team members to participate, but we hope they enjoy it as well as learn from the experience.
We don't have a formal program as yet. But I don't expect to include team members when we do, I don't feel that would be appropriate.
We are quite aligned with @DanK where employees who voluntarily participate on the forum are treated the same as our superuser.
This means that participation is voluntary for both and usually people spend their time online, in their own time
I must say that many of the employees have very supportive management who allow them to spend a certain amount of time helping users on the forum. This is usually the case if being on the forum provides them with insights wrt to product questions/issues first hand, from the users. Employees are required to take a social media guideline training before participating on any social platform plus we train them on how to use the forum and the what & what nots.
Some more information if you like.
- Everyone ranks up through the same system in our community. All users are equal. This is also applicable for our badge/gamification structure.However we do assign our employees an HP label next to their user name (which is done through a separate rank structure) and we ask them to disclose they are an employee through the signature (legally obliged and good from a transparency perspective as Jason pointed out)
Our ranking structure is totally detached from the expert program by the way
- Our expert program eligibility also works the same for all. The way we track and measure participation is not different and admittance is based on an audit we perform bi-yearly and yearly.
- The offering in our expert program are pretty much the same for all with some exceptions. For example, all get access to the private expert board, extra permissions, invitations to our yearly meetup (which is the best moment of the year and employee experts get to meet their colleague customer experts) etc. Due to internal regulations we can not equip our employee experts with a product loan for example, which is one of the very few things that is different for employee experts.
Employees may have gained a lot of product knowledge in their previous our current role and if they like being in the community to share their knowledge it is more than welcome. Diversity & common interest is a lovely community thing. We think by treating everyone the same we tap in to the same intrinsic motivation for participating in the community. It's worked quite well and of course we've had our glitches here and there. We tried the other way years ago by making employees who participated on the forum part of the expert program instantly but had a lot of challenges there. This seems to be the better way for us.
Good luck with your program @Vanessa_Simao!