Employee Online Communities
Vanessa writes an interesting post on internal online communities for employees.
I worry that she misses a key point. Employee communities are very similar to any other type of community.
Organizations focus too much on enabling staff to participate and too little on motivating staff to participate.
The same rules apply to internal communities as most other communities.
You still need to find and communicate a strong common interest. You need to give members a reason to join. You need to give members a reason to participate. You need to stimulte activity. You need to produce community-orientated content. You need to satisfy basic human drivers. You need to start the right sort of discussions. You need to convert newcomers into regulars. You don't launch with a big announcement, you launch slowly, find your first 50 to 100 members and grow from there.
Fundamentally, you need to work just as hard to capture and retain the interest of the people you want to participate. You can't order people to participate, only motivate them.
Like future members of any community, your staff aren't sitting around waiting for a community to participate in. They don't know they need one. Your job isn't to create a platform that enables but, but to work hard to persuade them to join and participate.