Internal community

Definition

An internal community is a closed community used to help people in an organization communicate and collaborate.

The community will typically have a specific purpose within an organization. It could be to connect people within a team or department, or it could be to organize projects.

An internal community is a closed or private community with a clear intention or purpose within a larger organization. Internal communities are usually created to streamline communication, making it easier for members to collaborate to accomplish a goal or objective. 

An internal community has a specific purpose within a larger organization. For example, it could connect specific people within a team or department or organize and complete projects. Internal communities usually have a certain number of employees within a larger organization. 

Internal communities are created because they make completing a project more practical and efficient. They centralize all project communication into one source with only a certain number of members. 

Since internal communities are typically smaller in nature, they offer leadership opportunities to members or employees who may not always have a voice. As a result, more diverse voices can be heard within an internal community.

Why is it important to make an internal community? 

Here are key reasons to build an internal community:

Communication purposes

  • Internal communities make it easier for collaborators to communicate and form significant connections with one another. 
  • Internal communities contribute to better cross-functional collaboration. Internal communities give employees the power to be heard, resulting in talent development and more diversity of ideas within the organization.
  • Internal communities provide the opportunity for more peer-to-peer connections, resulting in a more human and kinder approach. 

Information tracking

  • Since internal communities are usually smaller, they make tracking project activity and processes more streamlined. 
  • Internal communities centralize relevant and essential information. Internal communities can standardize business processes, so everyone can stay on the same page, which reduces onboarding time. 

Structural change

  • Internal communities can contribute to structural and cultural organizational change and make sharing best practices more accessible.
  • Internal communities can act as strong governance communities for larger organizations. Internal communities can solve common business problems and processes. 

How do you build an internal community?

Get clear on the goal of your internal community 

To build an internal community, you must first clearly define your community’s intention or purpose. Consider what problems or processes need to be streamlined or fixed within your organization. Perhaps you need to streamline your onboarding process, or maybe you would like to create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Community. Decide what types of problems or projects your internal community intends to tackle. 

Internal communities are often easier to grow than external ones as you already have a group of people to invite.

Decide which employees or members are a good fit for your community 

Next, decide which employees would make the most sense to include in your internal community. You should consider the present skills of your best employees and which employees have the potential to grow over time. You could conduct a survey or ask employees or members to sign up voluntarily. Consider including members who could benefit from the leadership opportunities available within a smaller community. 

Finally, choose a community platform for your internal community 

Decide on a community platform that best suits your internal community and connects your members. Research which ones may streamline communication the best so your members have all they need to accomplish the community’s purpose or goals. 

Example of an internal community

IBMs CSR Influencers Network is a group of IBM employees dedicated to making a social impact. The community helps people organize activities and also helps new people get involved in these programs.