A shift from focusing on building a great company culture to creating a community both from within the organisation and with clients, is something that many organisations are undertaking. A sense of community at work seems important given that the majority of us are still working remotely.
"People are craving community now more than ever. For businesses, this means that community is critical to success. However, forming a community requires much more than simply gathering people together in the same place or accumulating a certain number of users on an app or site." (1)
Here, we will explore how to create a community, whether this be through technology or attributes of the organisation. As well as taking a look at how one of our own clients has used Clinked to create a sense of community.
What does Community mean in current times?
Community is needed to create a sense of belonging- a group of people united by a shared identity. Business can be a type of 'community'. Given current circumstances, functioning as a community can be seen as key to the success of a business. The importance of a community at work has been recognised to satisfy our social needs- a 'community' is often the social glue that brings us together to work well.(2) Forbes has defined community as a team or organization where there is (3):
- High Trust
- Effective Communication
- Respect for differences
- High levels of co-operation
Creating a sense of community is more important than ever, in a more isolated world, where many interactions are taking place over a screen.
So, how does technology help with community development & management today?
Technology enables everyone to participate. It brings together teams, clients and prospects - even when people are not in the same location. For instance, a webinar held for clients brings people together from multiple locations to interact with the community directly. This use of technology can keep participants of organizations - clients, partners and employees - engaged. Technology can be used to enable and encourage regular participation in a community based on flexibility and availablity. Especially when reminders or notifications provide a level of involvement that becomes second-nature.(4)
One type of community management is the SPACE approach. This approach is recommended by leading CRM and community development software company, HubSpot. This community management system stands for:
S: Customer support/ success
P: Product Ideation, Innovation & Feedback
A: Acquisition & Advocacy
C: Content & Programming
E: External Engagements
This approach recognises that providing strong customer support can help create a sense of community. One way to build this includes having a community website or discussion board - as we have in Clinked with our discussions functionality for group members to easily discuss topics! A secure place to receive and interact with clients, partners and teams is important for innovation and maintaining relationships within your community. Another example to build community is the use of real time interaction systems such as messaging chat or social media to provide community members with ways to engage with your organisation outside of regular interactions such as client meetings or email correspondence.
Community in Clinked
At Clinked, we focus on building human relationships. Our software is used by thousands of people every day to drive interactions of people - clients, partners, teams - across industries and geographies to work better together. In working with our clients, new and old, we realised how powerful of an impact our technology has - specifically when sharing knowledge in a secure way to enhance collaboration.
Our clients have been sharing their stories with us. Let's explore one of their community stories here:
In 2019, California Academy of Family Physicians (“CAFP”) started a program called California Primary Care Residency Program Collaborative - a year-long program with 30 residency training programs across California addressing education around substance misuse disorders, opioid use disorders, and medication assistance training and treatments. The geographic spread and professional commitments of the participants was a key identified challenge before the program started, as they wanted to nurture and build a community for the physicians-in-training to use going forward to meet this deepening health crisis. Luckily for Shelly, she knew the right digital platform to enable the participating physicians-in-training to remotely access all facets of their program in 1 place - from education materials and webinar videos to discussion boards and chat functionality - this platform was Clinked.
Does Clinked help with the community side of the program?
"Absolutely. And, it’s good for the entire team. It is not a one on one module where 15 people all have to go in individually to register and do the work. Instead, a team can do it because they practice in teams. Clinked supports the way they practice."
"External teams are all able to come together on a particular topic and improve our care and educational awareness around this topic.”
How did she know about Clinked in the first place? As Shelly says:
"Sometimes happenstance just works!"
Completely happenstance, in this case, equals a switched-on IT consultant, OPTeTech and a global Family Doctors project. CAFP and Shelly joined the World Organization of Family Doctors (“WONCA”) in 2018 on a project to help address mental health in the Asia Pacific region given the topic’s stigma. With 35 groups participating across 8 different countries, the project required a flexible, cloud-based platform that would provide secure access to physicians in countries with various qualities of IT infrastructure. OpTeTech suggested Clinked as the platform to create the digital home that could be branded to coordinate and house all of the project’s activities. They worked with Shelly to build out the portal based on the project’s requirements and Shelly quickly took over ownership after that. Over the next months, she managed the platform with OpTeTech as they enabled participants to collaborate together - uploading and downloading materials, posting discussions and more - without the fuss of dealing with proprietary logins or heavy IT restrictions.
Listen to Shelly explain in her own words here.
Know a community initiative that could benefit from Clinked? Read about our Community offer here.
Curious to learn more or discuss how your organisation could use Clinked? Get in touch below: