This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Tech Community.
Official communities are designated communities to ask questions and get answers, to connect and learn from others. When communities are marked as official, they create legitimacy and build trust over the conversations and content shared. Network admins can now designate official communities in your organization.
Official communities offer a way to guide employees to the correct communities when they are searching for answers by using a familiar ‘verified’ icon represented by a check mark.
Many organizations already create and manage communities in this way, but this update allows admins to officially designate and mark these communities.
Here are some examples of how customers are using official communities today:
- Managed: Actively monitored and managed by a person or a team of dedicated community managers / corporate communicators / business admins.
- Company-wide: Relevant for most people across the company / region / organization.
- Strategic: Drives business value or is vital in building company culture
- Open: Anyone can join and participate in the conversation.
How to set a community as an official community:
Only Yammer network admins can mark existing communities official in their network. To do this, follow these steps:
- In the community, click on the More Options ellipses.
- Under the Network admin options, click Mark Official Community.
- The badge will appear next to the community's name.
Tip: Create an official community program
As this feature rolls out, we’d encourage your organization to put some thought behind an official communities' program to determine what constitutes the criteria and process for a community to be designated an official community.
Will your organization have engagement, membership, or admin requirements for an official community? How will that community measure success? Where do new hires learn about the official communities?
Below, we have outlined some best practices for setting up a program for your Yammer network below.
Get a baseline.
Before you start going down the list of existing communities, here is a few questions to use to build out the criteria for the official community program…
- What are the communities that you would reference in your network as fundamental to your organization's culture and business?
- What are the communities that you would recommend for new employees?
- What are the communities who have active and engaged community managers?
- What are the communities that have clear leadership support?
- What are the communities that are strategic to building company culture?
Using these communities as a starting point, you can leverage community managers to help build a baseline for expectations for engagement, membership, and rules of the program.
Determine official community guidelines.
Once the qualifications for an official community have been determined, publish a clear definition as a reference point for existing and future community owners. Typically, this statement will capture the purpose and guidelines of the program.
For example, “Official Yammer communities created at a company-level need to encourage broad communication and collaboration to build company culture.”
Publish a form to request an official community
Create a form that lists the criteria and have interested community managers submit their communities to become official communities.
Use this template to customize this to fit your organization’s needs.
Determine the official community review process.
Define when official communities will be reviewed. Is it on a monthly / quarterly / annual basis? How frequently will you add new official communities? What happens to communities that fall below the threshold of engagement expectation?
As you create the official community review process, remember to establish a simple baseline for your communities. Official communities will evolve at your organization. You may need to step in and offer guidance if engagement isn’t as expected, or to revisit the need for that community to be marked as official.
Evaluate ongoing official community engagement.
Official communities may naturally set the bar for engagement in your network. Help community managers keep momentum or create new content or campaigns to continue to engage the community.
Create a community for these community owners to collect ideas and share best practices. Determine if there is a metric that an official community needs to maintain, and what actions to take if it falls below those guidelines.
Get the word out.
Create a list of official communities that are recommended for new hires. Determine essential business partners that need official communities. For example, company-wide initiatives, events, product launches, or specific leaders may require their own official communities.
Here’s an example of the criteria needed for communities at ANZ to be considered verified.
Check out more community and adoption resources at the Yammer Adoption Resource center.
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