If you think of talent communities simply as a holding tank for potential future employees, you’re missing the bigger picture. And missing out on a great opportunity.

Fully functional talent communities not only offer members information about job openings, but they also provide valuable content about the industry and the company and its products. They should be an active forum where customers, staff and job applicants alike can turn for information, guidance and connecting with individuals who have shared interests. While not all companies have embraced the idea of online talent networks, the number of those that have continues to grow.

In particular, many tech companies, such as Jive, Higher Logic and IBM Connections are seeing the value in talent and customer communities. IBM Connections sees them as “a way to empower and engage people, inspire innovation and safely collaborate with customers and partners, bringing them into the conversation.” And, Higher Logic has several different communities to address varying needs. For example, their Collaborative Development community lets members submit suggestions for items they’d like to co-sponsor the building of, and their Feature Requests and Ideas community encourages suggestions for improving the higher logic platform.

With interactive online communities, members will get a solid understanding of the company’s culture and values, as well as the chance to share ideas and connect with other members. Job applicants can build relationships that lead to referrals. Employees can strengthen relationships with clients. And, customers actually have a forum for discussing their needs and preferences. This makes customers feel heard and appreciated, while at the same time allowing online community managers to capture data that is invaluable to businesses.

The key to success is providing customers and potential employees with useful information like upcoming product releases, business news, and job openings before outsiders receive it. You want to give community members the opportunity to regularly interact and network with leaders and decision makers so they begin to see the community as a place of value. Having a forum where they feel heard while also gaining important insights and lasting connections will keep them coming back for more, which, in turn, will strengthen loyalty to your company’s brand.

If you’d like more information about turning your talent communities into customer communities, and staying connected in the most effective and meaningful ways, visit us at TalentCircles.com or contact us at sales@TalentCircles.com.

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