Joining a new community is nerve-racking. Just think of the first day of high school - you don’t have any friends yet, not sure where you fit in, and you wander around trying to figure out where everything is. Your first day or week at a shared workspace is not so far off, just swap out that research report for a pitch deck.
It doesn’t matter how cool your coworking space is or how strong your positioning strategy is, you will also need to do your part to make them feel part of the community. You can’t afford to leave it up to chance and hope connections grow organically.
The first few weeks will define who they will be in your community. The good news is the hardest part was getting them in the door. Now that you have them, it just takes a little extra effort to keep them. Show them, not tell them, how to be successful in their new home away from home.
Take them out to lunch or coffee
Your new member may not know anyone so think of yourself like their first connection and even friend. Treat them to lunch or coffee to make them feel included. Know someone in your community who you think they may hit it off with or relate to them? Great, take them with you. Can’t afford lunch or coffee? Make them coffee (or show them how) and have a conversation in your space.
Connect them with your members
Think of another member in your community where you see a potential mutually beneficial relationship and make the introduction. Maybe they’re both preparing for funding or looking to scale their manufacturing (or maybe they just love baseball). Open up some free conference room time for them to meet or just walk them through the space to make those intros! Maybe you’ll want to take a step further and create a buddy program. Be careful not to force relationships.
Have a new member meetup
When you’re new, it’s nice to bond and connect with others who are going through the same experience as you. Plan a small gathering for all the new members who joined this month. Even a brown bag meetup with some fun icebreakers would make all the difference to your new members.
Announce them to the community
Other members are curious about who joins the community so tell them! Use social media, email or a bulletin in your space to educate the community on who’s new and what they’re up to. A brief introduction will fuel more curiosity to help start internal conversations and potential members will see how active your space is! Effective and free!
Invite them to the next event
Everyone loves to feel like they are wanted or missed at an event. Send each new member a personalized invite to your next event. Don’t just add them to your email list! When they come to the event, hang out with them and include them in other conversations. The worst thing would have them in a corner or in the back of the room not talking to anyone. Awkward! If they couldn’t make it, follow up with a “We missed you!”
Swag! Make them feel included on day 1
Lastly, don’t just introduce them to the community but officially make them part of your community. Swag can make new members feel apart of something bigger. And why not let them explore the city proudly wearing your brand!
And big kudos to you for growing your coworking space!
What onboarding programs work well for your community? We would love to hear them. Comment below or tweet us at @NexkeyInc.