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5 Questions to Ask Before Creating an Employee Community

It’s been very encouraging to see so many companies come around to the idea that keeping employees happy means creating and maintaining an environment in which they can thrive. One of the biggest and easiest ways to do this is to ensure they have what they need at their fingertips through an employee community.

Also called an “intranet”, Salesforce Employee Communities shed that stigma of boring, outdated and user-unfriendly websites. By leveraging the environment they’re already in with Salesforce, you can provide a one-stop shop for collaboration, self-service, and gamification. Plus, out of the box it’s mobile-responsive and available on any modern browser or OS!

Great, you’re in. Now where do you start? Every company is different, but I’ve narrowed down the top 5 questions to ask:

Who are your employees & how will they be using the community?

Define your business units and the roles associated with each. This will help determine visibility of information and content, profiles, and what audiences you need for your community. In addition, doing a deep dive into who your users are will give you insight into what experience will give each of them the most value.

What methods of promotion are you going to use to get employees excited?

You’re in the planning stage of your employee community, and that’s a great starting point. What’s super important in this phase is to map out an “Excitement” campaign. Whether using Marketing Cloud with Journey Builder or Pardot, or another marketing automation platform, set up an email campaign that previews functionality to come in the new community.

A cool way of gaining buy-in from your employees is to run a contest to name the community or come up with a mascot. You might end up with “Boaty McBoatface”, but if it keeps ‘em coming back, then who’s to say it’s a terrible name?

How do you want them to communicate with each other and with the company?

Allowing a forum for employees to collaborate, ask questions, and connect with each other gives them a sense of connectedness, especially when your company has several remote employees who can’t benefit from face-to-face interactions.

Salesforce communities come with a plethora of collaboration and communication options. Out of the box, you can offer Chatter Questions (a peer-to-peer or company-to-employee Q&A forum), Chatter Groups, and the ability for users to direct message each other.

In what ways will you surface self-service to lower the load on your IT/HR departments?

Salesforce employee communities are built for case deflection. Employees log in to collaborate together and, ideally, get their questions answered before creating a ticket or case. Offering up a knowledge-base, a forum, and a comprehensive search goes a long way toward case deflection, which is even more important in companies that have one person IT or HR departments. Beyond that, and perhaps most importantly, it clears up inboxes with random requests to track and keeps them neatly organized in Salesforce.

As you can imagine, the benefits are exponential with larger companies that need to handle a larger volume of requests about even more topics from employees of varying start dates and experience. On top of the built-in deflection available, something like Live Agent may be a good fit for a big company to immediately handle requests or questions rather than having them sit in a queue.

How do you plan on making improvements?

Adoption of the community is going to be key in maintaining employee happiness. They’ll keep coming back if they know their questions are answered successfully by an active and current community. But how do you know if your employees are happy? Salesforce recently came out with Saleforce Surveys that offer community users the chance to give feedback right there inside the community. This is a really good tool to use for quick feedback on how your employees are using the community and how you can improve.

You could also utilize global actions on a Case or Lead record to set up a feedback form for users to fill out in the moment they have a suggestion or feedback, rather than waiting for a survey to come out.

Next steps

The 5 questions above will give you a good starting point, but don’t overlook a key resource: the employee. Involve them in the process of creating the community and they will have a built-in interest in using it.

So get out there and get it started! What other functionality or information do you have (or want) in your employee community?

Senior Business Consultant, UI/UX Design

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