Establishing an internal community starts with a preliminary analysis that aims to uncover the challenges and needs of the organization and of the potential community members, continues with designing the community concept, and closes with defining the community goals and its key performance indicators (KPIs). The community goals are an essential part of creating a successful community, and the KPIs are the way to measure the community performance in terms of those goals. Clear community goals and KPIs that support them are the first steps in creating a successful and healthy community.
Community goals are defined in the stage of creating a new community. The goals are part of the community strategy, and as such, it should support the community concept, and especially the community purpose. Each community defines its own goals according to the community type and through taking into account other specific needs.
For example, a knowledge internal community of the HR department will naturally have different goals than the organizational women’s employee resource group community.
Internal communities may have many goals or just a few. The goals should be clear and straightforward, as they act as a kind of compass that leads the community to achieve its purpose.
Internal community goals may support different organizational objectives. For example, they can support business objectives such as reducing training costs in a case of an internal professional knowledge community. In another case, the goals may support the potential community members’ objectives such as having easy access to learning materials or providing networking opportunities in the case of an interdepartmental community.
Defining the community’s KPIs
Defining community KPIs is a complementary stage to set the community’s goals.
KPIs are used as a method that aims to assess performance by quantitative measures for certain objectives in a predefined time frame.
The advantage of setting KPIs for the community is gaining more transparency and a focus on performance and results. Community KPIs benefit internal communities in different ways. KPIs contribute to strategic decision making, they assist with implementing any needed adjustments, highlight the achievements or the failures, and all in all, help make sure that the community is successful. Community KPIs are not a “one size fits all” measure. The defined KPIs are in most cases, community-specific.
However, there are few KPIs that are typically found in most internal communities. These KPIs are usually related to the number of community members, engagement rate, and the time that members spend in the community.
The community manager’s responsibility
The internal community is influenced by the organization it is part of. Therefore, any organizational shift may affect the community goals and KPIs.
Hence, it is the community manager’s responsibility to track the community’s strategy and to revise the community goals and KPIs in case of an organizational change.
Internal communities should incorporate a certain level of flexibility mainly because community goals and KPIs which are outdated are a risk to the community’s success.