- Corporations involve complex interactions between many different groups of individuals; the most successful corporations are the ones who have understood the unique needs and desires of the individuals within each of these groups.
- Three of these groups are particularly vital to understand: current employees, alumni, and customers.
- Building a strong corporate community that engages each of these three groups takes time and energy, but the rewards are worth the effort. A strong community not only adds value and benefit to the individuals within these groups but also contributes to a flourishing and successful business.
Subscribe to receive updates when we publish new and interesting content.
How readily could you list the various sub-groups of individuals who contribute to the success of your company? Depending on the size and type of corporation, there can be quite a few networks at play, including: leadership, governance, current staff, alumni, investors, regulators, stakeholders, customers, reviewers, media, and even competitors. But turning any of these sub-groups into a solid community is no small feat. It’s important to understand which of these groups merit the energy that community-building demands.
In this post, I’m going to focus on (1) Current employees, (2) Alumni, and (3) Customers. I’ll list some top reasons why companies should prioritise putting in the time and effort to build and nurture communities for these groups of individuals. If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits and values that arise from building these communities, you can find more information in Top 5 Corporate Benefits of Building a Community for Current Employees, Top 3 Corporate Benefits of Building a Community for Alumni, and Top 5 Corporate Benefits of Building a Community for Customers.
Understanding your community
Before we explore how a community adds value, it’s important to make sure that we understand what exactly a community is. In, What is “Community” and Why Does It Matter?, I explained that a community is much more than a simple group of people. Communities enable and encourage ongoing engagement and support between individuals. They are also intentionally designed and nurtured to increase communication, build trust, and create a sense of belonging.
To successfully create a community, one must work first to understand the individual members’ unique wants and needs. Only after you’ve properly understood individuals’ needs can you set out to build the appropriate community infrastructure.
There is no shortcut for understanding your community members. You need to not only show up and ask good questions, but you furthermore need to know how to listen in a way that actually hears their replies (including their implicit and unvoiced messages.) And, on top of all that, you need to first establish trust so that people can and will communicate openly and honestly. All of this takes time and skill to do effectively, but it’s worth the upfront investment. (And if you need help with this, Aluminati’s team of Community Experts can do this for you.)
How do companies benefit from forming strong communities?
A strong community will take a different shape depending on your own company’s needs, values, and resources. There isn’t one singular way to build and nurture a community, just like there is not one singular version of a healthy community.
Let’s look at some of the top benefits that a corporation reaps when they invest their time and energy into forming a community for their employees, alumni, and customers.
Five of the top company benefits that come from building and nurturing a community for current employees:
- Engaged employees increase workplace productivity. 
- When staff feel that they are a part of a community, they are more likely to remain in the company.  
- Healthy and happy staff members communicate with each other, which leads to dispersing talent, skills, knowledge, and innovation throughout the company.   
- Satisfied and valued employees are more likely to recommend the work environment to others, which helps to bring in new talent.   
- Creating an environment where employees feel valued can give a branding advantage over your competitors. 
Three of the top company benefits that come from building and nurturing a community for alumni:
- Like current employees, alumni can become powerful brand ambassadors.    
- Re-hiring alumni maximises productivity and saves the company money.   
- Alumni engagement brings in new business opportunities.  
Five of the top company benefits that come from building and nurturing a community for customers:
- An engaged community increases brand loyalty, which leads to repurchases.   
- Turning customers into fans leads to word of mouth referrals. 
- An active client community supports each other and, in doing so, reduces company costs.  
- An engaged customer community enables the company to gain important insights about how it should interact with its customers. 
- Customer-led conversations about ideation can provide free product development ideas to the company.  
Deciding to build and nurture a strong community for employees, alumni, and/or customers
Company leaders around the world are realising the value of community and launching community strategies to realise the benefits we’ve outlined here.
If you would like support in building your own community, whether it is for current employees, alumni, or customers, Aluminati is here to support you. Our consultancy team is available to help with early-stage community strategy development or growth stage community scale-up projects.
We’ll work with you to better understand your corporate community and how to build and sustain deeper interactions between all your members. And of course, the stunning Aluminate Community Builder, our cutting-edge community platform, is available to meet the critical digital requirements of any modern community.