The struggle, of course, is how to reconcile new, more formal CoP processes with the current methods of working that many like and enjoy. We talked about doing an assessment of key stakeholders and specific communities to discover the best of the current program as well as gaps that need to be filled. Additionally, they have an opportunity to link communities to the talent management issues (finding expertise, linking it together, identifying and embedding best practices, and improving personal networks) and growth needs (bring best practices to bear anywhere, anytime with greater efficiency if people are connected and content is appropriately collected). I think they need to focus on creating a few formal communities where it makes sense according to these two drivers and continue to support those informal groups that wish to keep operating.
One interesting question they had that I would like to get an answer to as well - are there any studies/metrics on how participation in CoPs affects retention of individuals inside an organization? APQCs study on CoPs last year asked study participants to survey their CoP members on their perceptions of value of the community. We had about 800 respondents, mainly from the best practice organizations we studied, so the results are very positive. I wrote an article that will come out in the March KM W0rld issue on the results of this - some of the info is below. However, we didn't get a clean look at how participation affects retention - anyone have anything out there?
- 93% said their CoP has a clear, compelling business value proposition for participation,
- 84% said their CoP has a senior sponsor,
- 88% said business/line management supports the time spent on CoP activities,
- 88% said business/line management recognizes the value of CoP output, and
- 70% said their CoP has a communication strategy to promote outputs and results of CoP to outside stakeholders