Topic: Community-Led Growth: The Future of Employment Success by Marta Rocamora
About the Speaker:
CEO of GroundInn, a one-stop shop agency for growth through community, grounded in the art of shared spaces. Marta Rocamora González gained a lot of experience at the top coworking space company worldwide, where she led the opening of markets in Canada, Spain, South Africa and UAE, helping the company become the biggest coworking space company in the world.
Q1. What is Community-Led Growth?
I think you did a great job of introducing how we were talking about marketing growth and then product LED growth, and now we're already at that frontier where, you know, I don't want to be radical and say that product LED processes are over, but there is a component of yeah, you can keep on innovating, you can keep on being the best, but now with all of the no-code AI of these new ways of entry, you can even copy things that are already existing and make them better. That really differentiates the platform that people want to be using or the space that they want to be sharing with the community.
So the reason we're gathering, as well as the movement behind community-led growth, put that at the heart of everything we do. I think, uh, Bomb Sword did a very good job of doing a slideshow. I don't know if you've seen it where, like, Community was, you know, at the center, and then all the other components and departments were like, "Uh, orbiting around it," and it's that new perspective of thinking. Putting the human at the center, but also the human's relationship to the community, and then building from there is what community growth is all about.
Q2. Should your organization build a community?
I mean, the question is broad, right, like, "Should any of you, um, know anything about community?"I guess a company should build that community. I would say, "like, no, it depends on why you want to build the community." A lot of the companies tend to think of a community more as an extension of their marketing strategy, so it is about a relationship with their customers and their clients and the external relationships, and they often forget about the organizing itself. You know, the talent that is inside is a community that is often unmanaged, so should everybody build one? Foster an internal talent community. In general, I would say yes, because the core of that organization is people working together, and that's a great opportunity to foster a community; in fact, because you're already building a business together, you already have a mission together.
Q3. What are the biggest challenges of community building?
I guess one of the biggest challenges that we face in general when talking about community is that it's still a new industry, so there is a lot of confusion or miscommunication about things like the term "community" itself, what it is that we're trying to achieve, getting everybody on board, and where the KPIs are that we're trying to measure because we're doing metrics even though we're talking about basically relationships and soft skills and things that are harder. Having those tangibles, like what language we're trying to build, is already a big challenge because if you don't have that, it's going to be more difficult to create those rituals that have consistency, create a site to have those standards, and ensure the quality of the community that you're building, and in general, any community.
I think maintaining a good level of engagement, participation, and understanding is a dynamic thing; it's not a one-time exercise that says, "Hey, now I've listened to my customers or I've listened to my team, they've told me what they need, and then my job is done." No, this is a repetitive exercise that you have to keep doing. Yeah, so balancing, you know, competition with collaboration and being able to act while also listening is something that I believe we're all learning to do, and to the question, "Brother, is there a secret formula?" I don't think there is a secret formula, but there are more and more models that we can use depending on the goals of the community.
Q4. What are the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations behind joining communities?
Motivations are diverse, depending on the type of community that we're building. When it comes to intrinsic motivations, I believe that in general, as humans, we have a desire to be a part of something, a sense of belonging, a desire to share, you know, purpose and meaning, and a sense that you're not alone, whether it's learning or doing something, building a product, or being a part of an organization. It's very important, and in general, a lot of the reasons are because there's a personal growth that comes with it; there's a desire for personal development; you're learning from one another; it's easier to learn when you're in a group; we see a lot of courses now that they realize that community education is a way to ensure that people are participating more; they have that accountability; you know, you get questions that come from other people that you're learning from.
So, that's really interesting: there's no sense of belonging, growth, or short-term purpose and meaning, and then, um, I guess the instinctive motivations are the desire to network, meet new people, and avoid being redundant. But I think there's a component of recognition, like wanting to be part of something but also being recognised and having some sort of status in the communities that have different roles, whether it's someone that is more actively championing a part of the community. You have an ambassador, you know there are certain members who are more or less quiet but that their status is important, and then I believe that general access to information and, yes, access to new ways of doing things are good reasons why people want to join communities here. When other people are creating for you, it is easier to step up in mind.
Q5. Community-Led Growth as a strategy: Where to start?
I come from an agency where we create five workshops that help kick off when you're thinking of community strategy, and the five pillars that we always cover are identity, so really knowing why the purpose of the community is the moment you're trying to create, I spent some time just honing in on that, and then we talk a lot about it. So what's going to happen, you know, and why are people gathering together? Are they gathering digitally? They don't. Are they gathering physically? Is it a hybrid model? So what's going on? What are the rituals? What is really happening, um, on the community level to bring people together is the third pillar structure, which requires a lot of structure to build the Eye Community because it is about consistency and repeating tasks.
So what are the tools that the UK has that can help you do it? You know, what's your budget? Is it a self-sustaining community? Do we actually make it another source of income for your organization? So all the structural aspects, the fourth pillar that we go about is really space, and as we said, we don't focus only on online communities; we really work a lot on real physical spaces, so we're leaving break rooms or other shared spaces. So space is an important component of how it facilitates, you know, people being together and understanding each purpose of the space, and when we think of space, we also think of mental space and digital space, and finally the fifth pillar, which is playfulness, which I think I mentioned a bit on The Talk today. But, you know, I think it's very important to include things that will be joyful and make people want to be a part of it because you can have a very serious community, but it's just harder to stick around, and I think all of us, as we're building this new way of working and doing, if we can make it playful and joyful, I think it's a good thing to include in your strategy.
Q6. To build and grow an engaged community, you’re going to need a team of people dedicated to it. Depending on your team structure, define who should “own” the community on your side, who should they report to, who else should be involved, from whom you expect continuous involvement, and who might jump in occasionally?
I believe it is a critical question because it is complex, especially when we are attempting to put the community at the center, so there are power dynamics in relation to the organisation that occur. I think it's wise to surround yourself with people who have done it before, and if we're talking about community talent, you might even have to interview them first, but like Dot Nelson and the Eco Council, they're really like building a whole talented platform to help people structure and navigate this relationship, so that's a good resource to also look into and understand that whether you're going to do it alone or not, it takes time. As for the questions, no, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, right? It comes back to identity, to be able to create instructions that aren't the same for creating a community for a thousand people or something much more niche for 150 people, and what kind of bridges will be built? So yeah, but in this case, not as much.
Q7. Is Community-Led Growth the future of employment success?
I think it has a lot of potential to be right, like it's playing a significant role when we think about how many challenges a lot of companies are facing right now, like retaining talent, and whether you should retain talent or not, or just like build an amazing employment experience treaty as a community or as a customer, and then whether the employee's life cycle is two years, three years, or needs to move on, that's something for the organization to decide. But I think it has the potential right now to be the key to a lot of the success of how people will be happy working for organizations, feeling heard, and understanding that it's no longer the job for life model. So I've seen right now, not with the tech layoffs, that it's the employees themselves who are taking on this as a community to, like, create alumni of other companies and help one another. So those are pure, um, community actions. Yeah, they're not led by the company, and yet you see that within the company there was already that spirit that wanted to be expressed; there was just no room in the organization to do it. Yeah, so I think that if we're talking about people who are successful in their careers, they should spend some time figuring out what has been done in the community and bringing that into that space.
I feel we're at the beginning of community management in that sense as well. More and more people are realizing the importance of the role, and like the ones that have done it, they see the benefit and think it's extraordinary. The tools are going that way, too, like all of them are going in that direction, so, um, I just thought it would be beneficial to put my own experience to use, and the team that we have is amazing, so yeah, that's how the journey started. Yes, it's been around for a few years and it's almost taken off, and I think being part of a gaming company is that I saw communities being built back in the day, and now I think there's a bloom there as the web3 there are SAS platforms having a community to now EI products like Journey, Etc., having a big, sort of thriving community on Discord. Oh yeah, exciting times lie ahead. If you have any questions around community building, reach out to our team and even Martha, and she will help you out in any aspect around committee building and growth. Uh, thank you to everyone; now it has been a pleasure having you. Thank you for a lovely day. Bye-bye.