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Recruiting and Managing the Community of Practice (COP) Support Team R.A. Dalton, MKMP, Master Facilitator 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Recruiting and Managing the Community of Practice (COP) Support Team R.A. Dalton, MKMP, Master Facilitator 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Recruiting and Managing the Community of Practice (COP) Support Team R.A. Dalton, MKMP, Master Facilitator 1

2 Training Standards Define the term volunteer and discuss the importance of volunteerism to the COP Discuss why the monitor should recruit a support team for the COP Discuss why volunteers are preferable to designated or conscripted personnel/Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) Identify where to recruit new members and volunteers Identify how to recruit from the membership Explain how to manage support team members Discuss the need for a COP support team recognition program Share and discuss multiple real world examples where of support team recruitment and management Explain if they have recruited COP support team members and, if not, why not Identify ways to get someone to volunteer Identify and discuss techniques for dealing with an inactive support team Identify and discuss techniques to reward or recognize support team members Identify and discuss techniques to deal with COP support team problems 2

3 Definition of a Volunteer from Wikipedia A volunteer is someone who works for free serves in a community or for the benefit of natural environment primarily because he chooses to do so. The word comes from Latin, and can be translated as will; As in doing something for ones own free will. Many serve through a non-profit organization – sometimes referred to as formal volunteering, but a significant number also serve less formally, either individually or as part of a group. By definition, a volunteer worker does not get paid or receive compensation for services rendered other than reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses. 3

4 Why Recruit A COP Support Team? Passionate COP members will form your support team and are crucial to your success since they often have more subject matter credibility then you do. You cant do it all no matter how hard you try. A support team extends your capabilities by handling many daily COP operations for you. Members need to feel that they are running the COP and not you. 4

5 Why COP Volunteers Are Preferable To Designated Or Conscripted Personnel/SMEs Volunteers do it because they want to – not because they have to. Volunteers do it because they are passionate about it. Designated or conscripted personnel/SMEs usually arent. Volunteers from the membership often have far more credibility with other members then those who are designated or conscripted. Volunteers often far out perform designated or conscripted personnel/SMEs. 5

6 Where To Recruit From? Your own professional and personal contacts. From the membership of your site either by email or personal contact. This will often be your primary source of volunteers. Centers of influence such as schools, institutions and organizations Dont forget to consider recently retired personnel, if your COP will allow that. Retirees are an absolute gold mine of expertise and often have the free time to take on the role at your site and the desire to do that. Retirees often make great mentors and topic leaders! 6

7 How To Recruit From The Membership? COP members are an excellent source of potential volunteers! Use email for initial co-send out an email to your entire site membership requesting volunteers. It never hurts to ask! Ask people to volunteer, dont expect them to volunteer. Dont set up a support team member for failure or embarrassment. Support team members must be at a sufficient level of experience and knowledge in order to be credible to the community as a whole. Make sure you have a public topic at your site covering volunteerism and application procedures. Often you will be contacted because of this step. 7

8 How To Recruit From The Membership? (cont.) Be on the look out for those site members who are frequent contributors. When you spot one, send that individual a message asking them if they would be interested in volunteering for a role at your site. Frequent contributors are often good contacts but wherever and whenever possible try to talk with them over the phone to finalize. Email cannot build strong inter-personal working relationships. You will be surprised at what a difference talking with them on the phone will make in your recruiting efforts! Do not be afraid to approach members you want to recruit for volunteer roles. Most people are very flattered when approached. Be sure to have a guide for volunteers you can give out which defines the roles and responsibilities involved. Dont have one? Just modify the one I have created for your own use. Always use the personal touch when recruiting! Remember: Passion cannot be conscripted! 8

9 Recruiting A Support Team Is Often Easier Then Managing Them. Why? The most competent volunteers are generally ones with very strong and often dominant personalities who tend to be very senior in grade or position. Coordinating the efforts of a group of such volunteers is often very much like trying to herd cats. Each volunteer wants to go his or her own way but you must make sure they all head more or less in the same direction to ensure results and that your overall mission is accomplished. If you arent familiar with the concept of herding cats seem this humorous YouTube video at: Volunteers often try to run their particular portion of your site as if it were an extension of their own daily job instead of a separate location with its own rules and ways of doing things. As a result they often get highly territorial. Not all volunteers are good ones for a variety of reasons. Some start off well and then fizzle. Some never get off the ground at all. Some, because of career changes, no longer have the time to perform the role at your site. Weeding such volunteers out over time is often necessary. 9

10 Strategies For Successfully Managing Support Team Members Have a guide for support team members that clearly spells out their duties within the context of your CoP and what they can and cannot do. Dont have one? Just modify and use the one I have created and used myself on several COPs for which I was the facilitator. You can find my example guide at my website which is listed on the last slide of this presentation. Ensure the perspective team member has read this guide and agrees to its contents before accepting them into a support team member role on your COP. This will save you a lot of time and grief later on. Consider starting support team members off as mentors first and then, as they prove themselves capable, advance them to more responsible volunteer positions such as topic editor/lead or community coordinator. It is a lot easier to let a mentor go than a topic leader if you have to do that! Realize that no volunteer is ever going to be truly permanent. Real life and career often get in the way of every individual at one time or another. Volunteers come and go but you as the facilitator are the site continuity. Weed out non-participating team members religiously! Volunteers who do nothing just take up space while getting membership recognition for it. Better a smaller support team of active volunteers than a larger group of inactive ones. Remember these personnel are often volunteers and not full time staff! 10

11 COP Facilitator Best Practice: Establish a COP Member Recognition Program People like recognition, even if they arent willing to admit it, and this is a basic human motivation. Recognizing exceptional COP Members is one way of encouraging other members to contribute in a like manner. Periodically give recognition to one of your COP Members who has contributed in some exceptional way by placing them on the front page of your CoP. Example: Member of the month with a picture and a link to their profile. Periodically give award certificates or other items (coins, hats, coffee cups or similar items) to truly exceptional COP Members and if possible have someone senior present it to them in person on your COPs behalf. When the item is presented try to obtain a photo of that presentation with information on the event and post it on your COP. 11

12 Author of this training presentation and license for use R.A. Dalton, MKMP, Master Facilitator Office Phone (870) 365-7496 (Mon-Fri 9AM-4PM U.S. Central Time Zone) Email: Website: http://rdalton.biz LinkedIn public profile: dalton/46/634/836 dalton/46/634/836 This PowerPoint presentation is released for use under the following license: 12

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