Using intranets and other workplace networks to engage new members

Our reps’ communications survey told us branches use a range of channels to engage with members. This often varies by what is already widely used within an organisation or company.

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But Yammer, Workplace, WhatsApp, Teams chat, Slack, as well as more traditional Intranets are all in use.

The tips in this section are designed to be helpful on a range of different platforms.

1. Choose a platform that people are familiar with

When starting a new group or channel, its success will depend on engagement and people are far more likely to engage if they know the platform. Throwing in a new platform to ‘learn’ can be off-putting when people are busy.

2. Don’t use too many different platforms

For group communications, stick to as few platforms as possible. Different threads about the same topic on different platforms is confusing for members and difficult to manage for you.

3. You should choose the right platform for the right activity

Steer away from a highly populated chat platform for important announcements and use email instead so the message doesn’t get lost. Or, to get ideas, you might ask people to contribute using a Google Doc rather than spamming the channel with hundreds of different messages that will be hard to collate.

4. Identify some champions

You might have colleagues who will act as advocates for a platform by posting regularly or directing other colleagues to the platform. They might also help with technical queries or hints and tips as to how to use the platform successfully.

5. Gather thoughts from members

Be open to ideas from members around which platforms they prefer and how to make the most of the channel. . If it will help them engage more, it’ll only help you!

6. Welcome new members to groups/channels

It can be quite daunting being added to a new group if you don’t know anybody so, as the admin, welcome new members by introducing them and ask your advocates to say hello too. New members will feel more comfortable and be more likely to voice useful contributions.

7. Keep the group/channel membership fresh

If people leave the organisation, make sure they don’t remain in the group – and remember to add new members.

8. Respect people’s right to switch off

If you get loads of messages and conversations happening on the platform you use, that’s great but respect people who may only want to engage occasionally. They shouldn’t be expected to read every single message. This is another reason to make important announcements using a different channel so no-one misses out. . Say that you don’t expect people to reply out of hours and make other people aware of your approach. People have a right to switch off.

9. Keep the discussion focused and on topic

Try not to stray into conversations about the previous night’s TV or recent football results. It can exclude people from the group and, therefore from hearing  the important discussions. Remind people of the community guidelines if needed.

10. Keep your posts engaging

People have hundreds of messages to read across multiple platforms, every day. Keep people in your group engaged by only communicating when you have something to say, share or ask, and attract their attention using photos, emojis, videos, voice messages and gifs. Keep your content appropriate and don’t go overboard – a gif with every message can get quite annoying

11. Stay engaged

If your goal is to engage your members on the platform, you must stay engaged yourself. Keep an active presence up, answer queries quickly and don’t go absent for long periods of time. You can’t expect the community to engage if you’re not doing so yourself.

12. But…you can switch off as well!

Set some boundaries for when you engage and when you have some downtime. You might want to mute a group at certain times of the day so you’re not constantly getting notifications. While it’s important to stay engaged, an ‘always on’ culture helps nobody and we all need to switch off for the good of our mental health.

Some useful links