Building an online community on LinkedIn

I’ve been thinking about a specific business problem set by a large client.

The problem is this; they have a mature pension scheme which they have properly funded for many years. They are keen that staff better understand its benefits and take sensible financial decisions to make sure they do the best for themselves.

They have tons of things they’d like to tell staff but they’d rather find a way that encouraged staff to ask the questions for themselves and find answers through forums and exploration of information posted both by the company and their colleagues.

They have a few things going for them

  1. There is enormous commonality of interest the company the pension scheme and  well organised union movements keen to help.
  2. The company is committed to the project and have some money to help.
  3. There is a strong pensions and communications department in place within the organisation.

The question is how to create a forum where members can feel they can talk with each other openly, access links to relevent contact and be made aware of events that can help them understand their company benefits and make the most of them.

I think the answer is a linkedIn group.

I run two of the things, the Pension Play Pen and the Bryanston School Alumni. the Bryanston group is an old boys reunion site but the Play Pen is much more ambitious. The Play Pen is used to organise events, share information, discuss pension issues, network (its easy to link in through a group) and find a  job.

I control the group – invite most of the new joiners, decide who joins by application, moderate content and postings and organise events. In two and a half years we have attracted 2200 members and we are growing by about 120 a month.

We don’t have a single company to hold us together so we have or organise ourselves around simple ideas like “pension” and “fun” .

It’s a lot of work but very rewarding. You can have a look by pressing this link.

Now there are of course problems with any group – linkedin is not  totally inclusive community and is biased towards white collar workers with ready internet access. Linkedin is not Facebook and doesn’t do pictures (unless you press a link). It is a little middle class and relative to Facebook it is stuffy.

However it does a job and for organisations which are principally organised around white collar staff it is getting to be pretty inclusive – if you are reading this and aren’t on LinkedIn I’m surprised!

So I’m going to have a meeting next week with my client and show them the kind of things they can do, very easily, to get things going.

Perhaps you can think of a business issue you could provide a forum for – my view is that if you can make “pension and fund” your key tags and make it work, you can do just about anything!

Nederlands: Linked In icon

Nederlands: Linked In icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to Building an online community on LinkedIn

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