What are you doing to drive staff engagement internally? 👩‍💻


One of the things that comes up time and time again in my conversations with community builders is how to get staff members more involved.   

I've found that these 3 key things work for me:

  • Thinking about what’s in it for them & communicating value  
  • Personal, 1:1 relationships 
  • Specific, clear asks  

📣 Thinking about what’s in it for them & communicating value  

As community builders, we know the value of community and what problems it can solve, but sometimes we’ve got to take a step back and think about the staff member we’re trying to inspire to get more involved in community – what’s their role? What makes them tick? What are their pain points and problems?  What are they awesome at?   

If I was thinking about asking a colleague in support to participate in community, I might ask about current ticket drivers to see if we can collaborate on an education piece. If it was someone in sales, I might ask what they’re hearing from prospects and what kind of content they might want their leads to see. 


🙌 Personal, 1:1 relationships 

I used to pop into team meetings, send emails to half the company and post in random slack channels asking for community posts – these aren’t bad practices, but (at least in my experience) they don’t always get the reaction I’d hoped for.  

The problem with asking a huge group of people a broad ask (more on that in my last point) is that it’s just to easy to get (halted/slowed) by the bystander effect or imposter syndrome.  

With the bystander effect, it’s just so easy for folks to think “there are ten other people in this meeting/email thread – I’ll let them reply” – we feel ok ignoring an ask directed at a large group and are much more likely to reply to a 1:1 ask.  

Imposter syndrome can factor in here as well – folks sometimes think they need to have a background in writing to make a community post, or that they need to be a next level expert for people to want to hear what they have to say. When asking a colleague to make a post or reply to something in community, think about what they are already good at – what conversations are they having with your customers today? What problems are they already solving? Take the time to get to know the person and what they are good at.  


📌 Specific, clear asks  

Ever try and choose something to watch on Netflix with your family? There’s just too much out there and everyone has decision fatigue – you can avoid a lot of stress by providing clear options -- asking your family something specific like if they just want to watch Happy Gilmore again or check out Guardians of the Galaxy 3 can save an hour of scrolling and debate. 

If I ask someone to ‘post in community’ they’ll likely agree, but the ask might fall through the cracks with everything else on their plate and ultimately the post may or may not happen. 

However, if I think about what they know, what great conversations they are already having, or problems they’re solving, and tie that to a specific program or date, I almost always get buy in.  

“Do you have bandwidth to make a community post about that cool integration you mentioned last week for our #TipTuesday series on October 7th?”  just works so much better than “Can you post in community”

🎯 Tactics & Asks

Here is a graphic I sometimes refer to when thinking about how to get different departments involved, but it really needs to be used in tandem with the tenets above:

🤔 What are you doing?

There are so many strong community builders in this community, I'm so curious to hear what you all are doing to drive staff engagement in your communities — do you agree or disagree with my advice above? Have you found anything that works well (or fell flat, the best way to learn!) I'd love to hear what you've been doing!



  • LiselotteP
    LiselotteP Vanilla Ice Cream

    Great topic, I am actually working on this right now!

    I'm the type that hates to convince and sell… therefore, I am trying to get over this fear by reaching out to product managers and other staff on a one-to-one basis, either by sending an email or a quick Teams message, asking if we can meet for 30 min, where I can go through a quick run through of what's on the Community now, where I see it going, and how I want them to contribute, and most of the time, I've been welcomed with open arms, as many did not know our Community existed!

  • BrendanP
    BrendanP HLV Staff

    Here at our HL Vanilla on the sales team, we use our own Ideation section of the Success Community to demo the product because:

    A) We have access to it

    B) It shows that we subscribe to Community-based ideation and that our customer votes and ideas affect our roadmap and

    C) They get to see our community.

    I imagine it's a little different given that we are the ones selling an online community platform but I do routinely hear from prospects that their sales teams are asked in RFPs or use it as part of sales the fact their company offers a customer community.

    Having the sales team briefly talk about community in the right contexts can help with getting those eventual customers to become community members.

  • Firmy
    Firmy Vanilla Seedling

    This is a great topic.

    I am struggling with this right now. At first, I thought if we can keep them motivated, things will get better, however, things are always not going the way you plan.

    I will give it a try to encourage the team.

    Thanks 😉

  • Shauna
    Shauna HLV Staff

    @Rav Singh

    >Its been a bit of a change in trying to stay hands-off a little longer than I'm used to so that our wider teams can join in and reply to discussions & questions 😄

    Love this point — it can be soooo tempting to reply to stuff you know instantly both in the community and in events, but you've got to leave room for others to discuss. When asked about my career goals last quarter, I told my boss one of my goals was to 'shut up more' haha and leave room for others to talk. If a reply doesn't come in 24-48 hours on community, or around 10-15 seconds on a call (yes i'm counting in my head haha), reply for sure, but you've got to leave those little spaces.

    @LiselotteP Thank you for sharing, I think a lot of folks feel this way and then end up with positive results like you have

    @BrendanP love this take — I also find if you've got salespeople showing the community regularly, they will tell you if there is a glitch or broken link etc immediately which I appreciate! Make something that sales is proud to show and they will show it!

    @Firmy — you got this! 💪 if you're running into any particular issues, feel free to bounce them off the community :D

  • Heather Wendt

    This is such a great topic! If you want to make sure your community stays on the 'must have' list, company buy-in is huge!

    What I found to be most effective is to meet with the various teams 1:1 and get to know their needs, their goals, and their pain points. Not everything is able to be solved by community, but there are so many opportunities to help!

    It isn't so much about showing them what you want them to do in community as it is finding ways to support the work they are already doing.

    Find something small that can show value. An FAQ section for those questions they get asked over and over again can be an easy win. Ask them to document the # of calls, tickets, emails for the month prior and compare it to the month after the FAQs go live. Show them the best way to direct folks to the new section. Maybe even come up with a template message to help.

    It is all about WIFM without a lot of effort. And while your other teams are not community experts, you can bet they have some opinion about what it is, and often it is a very incomplete/inaccurate idea.

    You aren't going to sell them on community by telling them what they need to do to help (that just sounds like more work for them). You are going to get them on board the community train by showing them how you can make their lives better and their jobs easier.