Earlier this year, we shared the top 5 qualities of a community manager as told by Iris Kavanagh during her GCUCALL presentation.
The role of community managers in flexible workspaces has been discussed extensively, with no set conclusion as to what exactly the job should encompass and what should be left for another position. To better understand this, we reached out to Iris Kavanagh to shed some light on community managers, their role in the workspace, and how to know if they’re successfully fostering a healthy community.
“It’s always been part of the community manager’s job to connect with people; what they do beyond depends on the workspace.”
This is a phenomenon that’s often been observed, with some community managers in charge of day to day activities and event organization, while others are also in charge of overlooking a workspace’s social media, blog, and overall online presence.
From Kavanagh’s perspective, it all really depends on the flexible workspace, its business model, and its brand identity. Yet, she believes that “the really impactful community managers are those that have a stake in the health of the businesses and are empowered to make weighty decisions affecting the community and the workspace business overall.”
To Iris, a community manager has to, at the very least, facilitate community. But they also need to be seen and thought of as leaders, peers, and advisors who can help members and staff alike deepen their relationship with one another and with their surrounding space.
“This job isn’t for everyone.”
Kavanagh has a point. It’s a job that demands a lot; it asks you to constantly interact with people, to constantly put on your best face, and to oversee all types and kinds of operations and interactions.
“Running a flexible workspace can become all-consuming, and there’s always the risk that one will become so enmeshed in the community and the space that one loses focus on life outside of work.”
Which is why it takes a special type of someone to be a successful community manager; one that fosters and nurtures the right kind of community. “You have to love people, you have to be flexible and accountable, and above all you have to be a genuinely happy and fun person to be around.”
But what is or defines a successful workspace community? How does one measure this? How do you know your community manager has nailed the job?
“My favorite barometer for gauging a community’s health or ‘success’ is to sit within it and observe the interactions and observe how the community manager interacts with the members and the space. If a community is highly interactive, supportive, and helpful to fellow members and newcomers; if members create initiatives or work on projects together and if the community is generally ‘buzzing’, then it’s safe to say the community is a vibrant, healthy, and successful one.”
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Another indicator to look out for is word of mouth referrals and how members reach out and meet newcomers. “If a member jumps up to give a tour, make the coffee, or bring in a friend, then the community is in my book a high-functioning one.”
But, there’s no set formula to making a flexible workspace community work. No two individuals are alike, just like no two workspaces are alike. Which is why finding and hiring the right community manager is essential to your flexible workspace success.
More on how to find and hire the right community manager in the coming weeks.
*Feature image by Vincent Perini, GCUCALL 2016