A network of active facilitators will make it possible to inform users of the arrival of the new platform, to relay the project team communication, to answer the users structural and technical questions and to promote information sharing within the different communities of practice. Above all, this network will allow the creation of a strong group of ambassadors. They will drive the project, initiate sharing dynamics and online activity after the launch of the platform.
Dedicating a facilitator to each and every space will encourage conversations and help users. Most importantly, it will guarantee the durability and life of these spaces. At the beginning of the project, facilitators are often appointed on the basis of certain criteria (motivation, expertise, enthusiasm for social tools, etc.) It is essential to be mindful towards motivated users, people already facilitating conversations in their field, active and prolific users: they can be promoted as “official” facilitators of the platform. These individuals are dynamic, diplomatic, self-emergent and like social networks. If they are well supported and surrounded, they will become real ambassadors of the solution, not only online but also offline! They become valuable assets for the project team and will greatly contribute to the platform adoption.
Facilitators are often the first level of technical support (connection, browsers, passwords, etc.) in the departments or regions where the platform is deployed. Support them in their evangelization mission by offering them training, advice, tutorials and guides. It will enable them to fulfill their mission to the best of their abilities. The creation of a network of facilitators within the organization will facilitate the exchange of good practices and make the implementation of dedicated governance easier. Dedicating a specific space to the facilitators will allow them to exchange animation good practices and to communicate with the project team.
The role of facilitator is often not well recognized within the organization. It is perceived as a task performed in addition to usual activities with an impact difficult to quantify. To increase recognition, the facilitator role can be included in the employee’s job description and performance indicators specific to his/her space can be added to the evaluations. Some indicators may be quantitative (e.g. 50% of users active in space, 20% increase in the number of contributions per month or on a wider scale, growth in activity and comments). The qualitative aspect of this work should not to be neglected. It is evaluated by observing the questions leading up to the debate, the facilitator’s ability to gather/highlight the essential information (creation of at least one newsletter, a summary collection or specific tabs).