Managing Your Staff
Your staff forms an integral part of managing a forum. We notice, so often, communities dying because the staff were too out of line with the general membership, or because of some avoidable flaws in the staff management protocols. In this post, I will shed some light on some of the fundamental steps that should be taken by forum administration, to ensure that staff management is running smoothly, and that they are doing what they are asked to do as part of the staff. Segregation Staff segregation is not odd to do these days. Powerful forum software have ensured the feasibility of 'specific forum moderators', and there are an increasing number of webmasters who are turning to this popular idea. It is important to segregate your staff into groups and assign them specific tasks, so that you know that every facet that are being used by the community is being taken care of. The advantage is obvious - You know the particular staff group needs and wants, and can be asked to do whatever is pending. This not only makes 'feature management' easier, but also ensures that your staff members have a clear feeling of the sense of responsibility and oneness amongst each other. Training No community is successful unless the staff recognizes the fact that members are dependent on the staff team. The merit of the community lies, at large, in the hands of the staff members who are able to give the feeling of being one within the community and to the members. As the first big step, train you staff members on properly answering a question which is raised by a member of the community. Remind them frequently to always start an answer with a informal greeting and conclude it by ensuring that help will always be given. Ensure you set up proper guides and tutorials, even if its for the simplest thing like moving or merging a topic in order to accommodate the less familiar, these are a couple of things you can do towards this end. Ensure Communication This is the one thing you cannot do away with! Have your staff members connect with you and their fellow staff members through a IM handle (preferably a group chat) so that one doesn't have to spend more time than needed to be spent on brainstorming and helping each other. Always give your staff members a chance to apologize to each other in your staff forum (at least once in six months) so that you can break the ice between the team members and help them concentrate more on work. Reward In Plenty By rewards, I do not mean money or any other assortments. When one of your staff member makes a really good effort, ensure that you appreciate it with a thank you (Preferably as a private message). Do not be afraid to quote their examples in In-Staff announcements that you are making, so that others would feel more encouraged to work better. Give Them Breaks And I really mean it! Make it a point to return to that police-keeping duty after giving your staff a fair break (at least once in six months). This not only helps to re-motivate staff members but also gives them time to settle and sort out the real life issues before getting back to business. Ofcourse, a huge staff team means more work, but keep in mind that you not only need an efficient staff team that is friendly and helpful, but also some robust ideas about managing your staff team to keep them motivated and going so that together with them, you can take your community to the next level. Please do not hesitate to share your stories about staff management or any other comments that you have. I hope that this articles has been useful for you.