Leveraging Community Engagement as a Performance Metric
Community Health Manager, Communities & Panels
Retaining active involvement and interest from community participants throughout the lifespan of a long-term community is crucial for the community’s vitality. Each community is unique, offering a fresh roster of projects and diverse participants. As participants become acquainted with their community, engagement activities are an optional avenue for increased involvement amidst paid research activities. These extra opportunities not only give participants consistent chances to contribute, but they also provide us, the researchers, with tools to assess the community’s overall health.
Sustaining Interest – The nature of research activities in a long-term community can fluctuate as the community evolves and the clients’ needs or focus areas shift. This shift can impact the overall online login and non-project participation rates, sending a signal for workflow adjustments to keep participant interest alive. If a community experiences a hiatus in research activities, the engagement calendar can be recalibrated to fill this void. Extra activities or an alternative activity format can be introduced to keep participants engaged during this pause in paid research activities.
Gauging Mindset – As communities progress, participant interest is constantly in flux. We, for instance, we are very different from who we were just a couple of years ago. Engagement activities offer an additional method to understand participant interests beyond their activities. Participation rates across diverse topics and member-initiated topics can offer a peek into evolving category-specific interests. A team can identify emerging trends and needs that have yet to surface in research activities by ensuring relevant, thematic engagement activities.
Capturing Health – The level of participation in engagement activities mirrors the overall health of a community. While it’s unrealistic to expect full participation from the entire community on an engagement topic, participation rates can provide another perspective on the participants’ interest levels and external circumstances. Engagement activities offer a series of data points every month to monitor participant interest. These data points, observed year over year, can aid in forecasting future participation. As a community develops, we can predict unique participation patterns for specific target audiences. This enables us to tailor our efforts to ensure successful insights within the community.
In conclusion, community engagement extends beyond merely catering to participants and their interests. It also enhances our research capabilities and assists us in customizing our approach to each distinct participant group.