Coworking Business Tips

How to Attract and Keep a Great Community Manager

​Community managers are the heart of any coworking space. ​But finding one who truly gets coworking and community building can be challenging. ​So how do you attract and keep a great community manager? This Cat Johnson Coworking Convos episode took it on. (Want the whole replay? Join The Lab!!)

The all-star guests for this Convo were Jamie Russo from Everything Coworking, DeShawn Brown from Coworks, Tracy Wilson from Pacific Workplaces and Garrett Tichy from Hygge Coworking and COhatch. Over 50 operators and managers from all over the world joined. 

“Take all the blame. Give away all the credit.”

Tracy Wilson, Pacific Workplaces

Tracy emphasized the importance of openness, forgiveness, and a service culture. Operators should share everything with their community manager that is appropriate and legal. Give the CM access to budgets, strategic plans, member data, etc. so they have full context. 

Also, give yourself and the community managers grace — no one is perfect. Have an "all hands on deck" mentality where no task is beneath any team member's role. Build a human-focused culture that cares about individual needs. Bring everyone together to creatively solve problems. 

The operator should always take the blame for anything that goes wrong and give credit away for everything that goes well. Offer continuous training and improvement, but also give your CMs autonomy. Know that great CMs will eventually move on, so embrace developing their talent. View it as a professional position worthy of strong compensation, not just an admin role.

“Make their lives as easy as possible.”

Deshawn Brown, Coworks

Deshawn noted high turnover and stress as challenges. Community building skills differ from operations — know the difference in who you are looking to hire. And choose your KPIs accordingly, measuring your manager on the job you hired them to do, such as member retention versus accounting.

Support your internal team community, just as you want the CM to support members. Give them ownership, engagement opportunities, and strategic input. Invested managers will be more successful.

Make the CM's job smooth with documentation, software, procedures. But don't overload them — prioritize essential tasks. Understand that burnout is a real risk

“They wear a lot of hats. Prioritize the hats!”

Jamie Russo, Everything Coworking

Articulate the role clearly when you are hiring. A great community builder may not be an operational whiz. Break down their day into key tasks and percentages based on business needs.

She notes CMs wear many hats: marketing, events, member support, sales, etc. Prioritize where to focus time, given other staff skills. Average pay is $55K salary and a two year tenure. 

Have weekly check-ins on KPIs and success metrics. Discuss professional development and transferable skills. Watch for burnout signals. People want to excel:  give them feedback!

“Without a community manager, you’re screwed.”

Garrett Tichy, COhatch

Community managers want operators to understand their role and value. "Out of touch" owners struggle to relate to the day-to-day of space, the further they get from it. 

CMs want efficient systems and processes to gain time for community work versus mundane tasks. They shouldn't be stuck at a desk alone. Ensure they can disconnect for breaks.

Use a CRM for automations and surveys to close feedback loops. Without an empowered CM, operators will face severe challenges. Recognize most spaces would falter without them.

About Coworking Convos

Coworking Convos is a monthly virtual event series hosted by Cat Johnson. Each month, a different topic is presented by guests with real experience, who are subject matter experts and walk the walk in the coworking and flex space industry.

​Who should attend?

  • ​Workspace operators
  • ​Community managers
  • ​Coworking space marketing teams

​What should you bring?

  • ​Ideas, insights and strategies
  • ​Questions for other workspace operators
  • ​A spirit of collaboration and cooperation

Coworks is a sponsor of Coworking Convos, and we have the privilege of sharing these dispatches afterward — spotlighting the amazing insights and sticky note worthy thoughts.

But by no means does this replace the real value of being there! Check out the next Convo and be in the room when it happens. 

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