It’s no secret: implementing and maintaining an employee community or social intranet is a significant investment for any business or organization. With ready-to-launch solutions costing between $50,000 and $75,000 to launch, and custom communities designed from scratch costing between $100,000 and $300,000, it’s important that businesses work with the right employee community solutions provider and maximize their ROI. How To Measure Online Employee Community ROI Businesses and organizations launch online communities for their employees for many reasons. Some need to speed up communication. Others need to increase employee engagement. It’s not easy to assign a specific monetary value to all of these benefits. However, to assure stakeholders that an employee community is a worthwhile investment, it is possible to roughly calculate the specific monetary value that each benefit brings. Start by looking at all the ways employee communities may add value for your organization. Examples include: Centralized, Faster Communication: The chat and discussion functions your community offers reduce the amount of staff time required for email and meetings. To calculate how much monetary value your business derives, subtract the total time employees spend communicating through your community from the time they would have spent on meetings and email. Then multiply the hours saved by the average hourly salary of your employees plus benefit costs. Over time, that should add up to significant savings. More Efficient Onboarding: Employee communities offer powerful ways to onboard new employees and integrate them into company culture. Look at the speed-to-productivity your new, streamlined onboarding process adds as another way to derive ROI from your employee community. Information Sharing And Fostering Collaboration: Any revenue from innovations or new ideas conceived via the collaborative functions of your new community should be looked at as part of the community’s ROI. Additionally, the instant access to subject matter experts among your employees provides tangible time savings that should be included in your ROI calculation. Improving Employee Engagement And Happiness: Saving your employees time and helping them build stronger connections with colleagues and management helps increase employee engagement. In addition to boosting productivity and making the workplace more pleasant, employee engagement has been proven to significantly increase shareholder return. How To Maximize Your Employee Community ROI While employee communities do offer tangible value, keep in mind that these platforms don’t simply launch and instantly offer returns. Businesses need to work to derive the greatest value from their online communities. Working with a provider that has significant online community experience helps businesses to learn the best ways to achieve their community goals. Your online community provider should help you to maximize user adoption, foster collaboration and increase employee engagement with your community. You also need to monitor employee activity in the community to make adjustments as necessary. An online community manager may be very helpful with community monitoring. It’s important to note that while online community management and monitoring is important, your employee community needs to feel like a safe place for employees to interact and share ideas. Issuing too may rules and restrictions could significantly hinder the platform’s capacity to unleash collaboration. As online employee communities do represent a significant upfront investment, it’s important to gain the most value possible. Follow the strategies above to measure your community’s ROI and maximize its impact on your business.