The Community Roundtable was started because we recognized how critical the emerging discipline of community management was to the future of organizations. We work with members of TheCR Network to shape and evolve cutting-edge research into community maturity and community management best practices. Today, we gather and utilize data from hundreds of online communities each year, giving us insights into both the qualitative and quantitative elements and artifacts of community success.
Starting with The State of Community Management in 2010, our research portfolio now also includes the Social Executive, Community Manager Handbook and Community Careers and Compensation platforms. Our research also informs our advisory work and shapes the content and programs for TheCR Network, ensuring that we are providing the topics and information most timely and relevant for community management professionals.
Meanwhile, our frameworks, The Community Maturity Model, The Community Skills Framework, The Social Executive Framework, and the Work Out Loud Framework provide structures for understanding and evaluating and building strategies for improving communities, understanding the roles of community, building executive engagement and creating a sharing culture central to community success.
Report: The State of Community Management is our annual research platform that tracks the performance of communities and community management across the eight competencies of the Community Maturity Model. The State of Community Management 2016 marks the seventh year of this vitally important resource for community professionals and organizations, and builds on the insights and expertise of our past reports.
Our Community Careers and Compensation research traces its roots to the Community Manager Salary Survey, which TheCR first launched in 2014. In addition to questions about the salaries, roles and titles of community professionals, with the CCC, we expanded our efforts to capture the skills that community professionals across the spectrum find most valuable, and added questions about where community sits within the organizational structures of businesses, nonprofits and other organizations.
Learn more about the research, take the survey yourself, and learn how to get access to the full report by visiting the Community Careers and Compensation 2015 page.
One of the major challenges of the community and social business teams with whom we work is the education of their executives, who vary widely in expectations, priorities for and engagement with social tools and approaches. Because this is such a critical issue, we consider The Social Executive research platform to be key in helping our members and clients make progress in their own organizations.
The goal of The Social Executive research is to understand the following:
- How executives connect business strategy and social tools and approaches
- How executives use social tools and approaches for their personal goals
- The process and triggers that move executives to a more mature use of social tools and approaches
From this research we are publishing both aggregate findings as well as specific case studies of organizations where we’ve interviewed a number of executives. Additionally, we use this research for executive assessments and executive education sessions.
The Community Manager Handbook: 20 Lessons from Community Superheroes combines research findings and advice from The Community Roundtable with short case studies and tips from some of the smartest community professionals in the space, for community managers looking to start, build and grow their communities. The superheroes include current and recent members of TheCR Network, sharing their tested approaches to address the challenges facing communities large and small, old and new.
We developed the Community Maturity Model (CMM) to help organizations understand, plan for and assess the performance of community and social business initiatives. Our clients use it both as a community management checklist and as a organizational road map. At TheCR, we use it to organize our research, our curated content and our training services so that our clients can easily connect the dots and use our research and content in their strategic planning.
The Community Skills Framework
The Community Skills Framework defines the 50 skills seen as most central to community management. Divided into five skill families: Strategy, Engagement, Business, Content and Technical Skills, the CSF captures the inherent challenges of the community role, while giving community professionals and program owners a framework for staffing and for evaluating community management resources.
The CSF skills can be used to gain insight into the skills that community professionals value – and they also provide a great tool for conducting reviews of community staffing and gap analysis for community management programs. It’s unlikely that any one person will have every skill (or the time and resources to utilize every skill), but by comparing the skills seen as having greatest value to your organization’s community program to the skills of community practitioners and stakeholders, you may be able to find critical needs or underutilized resources.
The Social Executive Framework
The Social Executive Framework defines the five stages of getting executives involved in community – from the “traditional” stage, where executives are unsure of or even fear social engagement, to the “networked” stage, where executives are not only comfortable with social technologies but are using them to enhance personal and organizational value on a daily basis.
Rather than assume that executives simple need to “get it,” the Framework recognizes that executive engagement, like community engagement in general, is driven by a series of small steps that increase comfort with and effective use of communities and social media.
The Work Out Loud Framework
Put simply, the Work Out Loud framework provides a frame for visualizing the increasing value of sharing work in a community or social context. From “Sharing Out Loud” to higher levels of cooperation, support and collaboration, the framework captures the value and metrics of workplace engagement.
We run weekly practitioner calls for members of TheCR Network on a wide range of topics. We facilitate these calls to include both expert perspectives and practitioner experience so that our members can understand both the ideal and theoretical underpinnings of each topic and the way different competencies are implemented in the real world. Both perspectives help our members understand the state of a practice and the opportunity to improve it.
We transcribe the learnings from each call with our members – over 150 at this point – and make them available to members. See the library of reports here.