Compensation for employee participation on internal community site


I run a site which relies on an internal social network for communication between teachers and students. Most updates to the news feed (think Facebook status update) are students posting their updates and success/failures with projects. How should a business like this compensate employees for participating in the social network, either by posting status updates themselves or replying to a student's updates.

In this case, my employees are paid hourly for work that is mostly completed outside of the social network. Creating courses, teaching, and writing.

On one hand, I feel that the employees should be self-motivated to see the site succeed and be willing to participate on their own, without compensation, for a couple of hours each week (2-3 hours for the entire week). Obviously, the onus then falls on me to make sure it is a fun community and I am ok with that.

However, I am not opposed to paying my employees, but my issue with paying hourly is tracking hours recorded. On a social network, an update might take five minutes. An employee might check-in in the morning, see a member update, post, and then in five minutes they are done. Other times, it may be 15 minutes spent a time. Add this up a couple of times per day and you get an hour or two per day on the site. If one were to compensate hourly employees, how would you go about tracking it?

Finally, what if hourly employees are receiving equity (1-2%)? Does this change how or they should be compensated?

Thanks in advance

Community Social Network Compensation

asked Aug 13 '11 at 21:42
154 points

2 Answers


Based on my experience, internet communities are usually moderated on a volunteer basis by the people who use it most frequently and receive the most value out of it. If you feel the need to pay moderators, it could be a sign of a fundamental problem in your site.

Did you ask them if they think they deserve compensation for it? Does it not provide them enough value to justify 5 minutes here and there for the overall well being of the community? The design, features, and functionality of your site should align with your goals and have a natural flow that motivates your users to do what is intended.

There's quite a bit of psychology that goes into getting your users to do what you want. Some websites use award systems and stats to motivate their users. You just need to find what will work for your community.

With all that being said, I don't think compensating your users is the way to handle this. My best guess based on the information you provided, this is likely a design problem.

answered Aug 13 '11 at 23:00
Jason Colantuoni
437 points


NO NO NO... Can't stress enough of that.

You can model the behaviour of participants by providing value to them. In your case the value could be the close communication and feedback from both students and teachers. Make sure that you communicate the value to each of them, and provide tools for easy usage, Make the site so dynamic that, they would have to love to come to the sire every day, if not they get the fel of losing touch at the work place.

answered Aug 14 '11 at 00:20
Shree Mandadi
599 points

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