Just like within the community, trust is key. I ended up hiring someone who I’d known for a few years already, who I’d observed organize events and other projects.
This is a little bit different from hiring someone who knows they want to be a community manager, or hangs out in community manager circles - and I’d argue gives us much much better results. Hiring someone you already know even a LITTLE bit gaves us a HUGE running start in working together. At the same time, I know that it’s not always (or often) possible. But I usually suggest that people scour their existing communities and relationships before hiring someone they’re just getting to know - it puts you at a huge advantage.
This also leads to the second thing that I’ve learned in hiring for communities, the qualities that I look for:
- the person needs to want to be a member of the community, but perhaps doesn’t have the means or a “reason” to.
- the person is curious about other people, and curious how things work instead of having a lot of their own assumptions about how things are supposed to work.
- the person has goals that the community can help them achieve - personally or professionally.
Almost everything else is trainable, from technical skills to communication skills. But those things…you can’t train someone for.
In the case of Dana (our first hire), she was about to graduate from college with an MFA. She said to me, almost literally, “I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with this MFA. I wish there was a job where I could just be at Indy Hall and figure out how to support myself”.
I asked her, if she could do that, what would it need to look like. And together, we designed her job. Sound familiar?
This, by the way, is how you build that ownership, just like you do with members. Every new person I’ve hired since has gone through the same process of making the job their own. Their first job is to figure out the job, ask a lot of questions, and learn how we make decisions. What they do beyond that is more of a coaching experience than a management experience - helping them find, set, and achieve goals both for the community and for themselves.
Realize that an employee is probably the only person in your community who needs to be at the space, and that’s a liability. I’ve dealt with this by focusing so much on that individual’s goals as a part of the job expectations. A good employee needs to be getting more out of the job than a paycheck, just like members need to be getting more out of their membership than a desk.
Because so much of our community actively participates, there wasn’t quite 40 hours a week worth of “operations” work needed. So with the rest of her time I encouraged Dana to explore, learn, try things…and figure out how she would support herself long term as a member rather than staff.
Part of how we did that with Dana, was that I personally invested a portion (about half) of her salary into the business and made it clear that there was a finite amount of time that the money would be available.
Her goal was to not need that income by the end of the year, and to be able to supplement the Indy Hall portion herself. If things went well, she’d have MORE than replaced my supplement, and would be asking for me to look for her replacement.
Which is exactly what happened, and is exactly the process that we’ve repeated now for 7-8 generations of “staff”. They get a 1 year runway (though it’s artificially imposed now), and at the end of that year, their goal is to be at a member desk instead of a staff desk.
This model has morphed each year, as we’ve added more team members and some have ended up staying involved in other, more advanced ways.
I’ve found that in a lot of coworking spaces, they have a hard time hiring great people because the best people are likely to want to do their own thing. I think that there’s a ton of value in hiring people who want to do their own thing but don’t know what it is yet, and building their “exit” into the hiring model from the start. If they choose to stick around at the end of that period, that’s great (so long as the reasons are right, and not just because they’re comfortable). But putting the “time bomb” on the job makes it easier for a different kind of person to feel comfortable taking on such an open-ended position.
Basically, the same things you need to do with your community you’ll do with your first hired gun: Alignment of ambition. Layers of participation and leadership. And above all, communication communication communication.
On Sat, Nov 28, 2015 at 7:09 PM, [email protected] wrote:
Its been two years of fits and starts, landlords, real estate brokers, money gone, money found, planning, envisioning, taking bids, negotiating, negotiating, and negotiating, architects, engineers, designers, IT people, and so on…
So even getting to this stage has taken some blood sweat and tears, and yes… I’m still excited to build a community of creators, innovators and collaborators!
One key person from the beginning I knew I wanted onboard is a fantastic Community Manager.
It sounds crazy to me but, this is starting to be more difficult than finding the contractor (an that was not easy!)
So would anyone have any pointers, advice, a website or meetup group to suggest where Community Managers go or hangout? Because after the salary, (what I can afford) and resume… Meeting this person will be key for my.
If anyone has any guidance it would be greatly appreciated!
14-16 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn NY 11201
Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.
Join the list: http://coworkingweekly.com
Listen to the podcast: http://dangerouslyawesome.com/podcast