In brief

The Happiness Index is a SaaS technology business that helps organisations measure employee engagement and happiness drivers to power their people strategy.

Their award-winning data and insights platform helps HR leaders gather actionable feedback that can their improve employees' work life and “enable thriving cultures”, improve productivity, attract and retain talent and boost employee engagement.

Co-founder Matt Phelan began his organisation's community journey with “a few drinks with PR professionals at a pub”.

He created a WhatsApp group to facilitate these meetings and connect professionals in the sector, but found it quickly became difficult to manage. He wanted to set up separate groups for his investors, fellow founders and CEOs and was concerned about privacy and GDPR compliance on the consumer messaging app.

Initially the team used Slack, but found that member engagement levels were low the lack of community features frustrating.

Matt found that Guild’s easy-to-use community platform offered the professional feel and privacy safeguards he needed, along with a focus on mobile messaging, human connections and networking.

The Happiness Index has migrated its communities from Slack to Guild. Today they have a number of branded, professional communities and networks for their key audiences and stakeholders on Guild, including:

The Happiness Index Owners Community - a private community for owners and investors of The Happiness Index to connect, communicate and collaborate

Happiness & Humans - a community of HR, DE&I, People and Culture Professionals dedicated to making the world of work a happier and more human experience

CEOs for People, Purpose, Planet & Profit - where CEOs share their challenges, ideas & stories from trying to balance the 4Ps of People, Purpose, Planet & Profit

Results in brief

  • Lead generation - >20% of new customers come through the Happiness Index's Guild communities
  • Lead generation - 50% of new customers have attended one of their webinars which either take place in the Video Room or are shared in the Guild communities
  • Customer acquisition/retention - Strengthened connections with customers and prospects through the community
  • Insights - audience insights, hot topics for content marketing and enriched first party data from communities
  • Insights - feedback for product and service development
  • Marcomms efficiencies for The Happiness Index team
  • Easy migration of users from Slack and LinkedIn to Guild
  • Investor community fuels growth through providing investor expertise, support and insights
  • Community growth from Guild’s built-in professional network
The Happiness & Humans community helps The Happiness Index build relationships and support both customers and prospects
The Happiness & Humans thought leadership community for 'People Professionals' helps The Happiness Index build reach, relationships and the brand. It support both customers and prospects.

How did you start building a community for your customers and prospects?

“We didn’t realise we were building a community at the beginning – we just held regular social drinks with our HR professional contacts, where we could chat about the industry but also get to know each other as humans.

We created a WhatsApp group – which we called HR Punks – purely to let people know when and where the next meet-ups would be.

We shouldn’t have been surprised that people who had so much in common relished the opportunity to have conversations more regularly!

You could almost say the community found us, but as soon as we realised the potential, we wanted to do it as well as we could.

WhatsApp is designed to be “in the moment” and it just wasn’t something we could scale.  It’s also not very welcoming to new members – you don’t get that conversational history, and you don’t have a profile it’s hard to understand who everyone is.

To develop the community in the way our members deserved, we needed more structure and a way for people to have profiles to get to know each other one-to-one as well as in a group.

We looked for a place where some conversations could go deep and keep going over weeks or months, but also to allow for the quick and ephemeral types of chats. We also wanted to respect our members privacy and the GDPR issues with WhatsApp were a nagging concern for us.

LinkedIn felt like it would kill the community feel that was so important. Other platforms tended to be over-elaborate, or too informal or unprofessional.

We tried Slack for a while, but engagement levels were frustratingly low and the team felt that there weren't enough community features.

When we tried Guild it was the perfect fit – streamlined, easy-to-use, and professional but with a focus on people and interactions. And the support we got from the Guild team was instrumental in us getting our community strategy right and growing and scaling successful communities.

They helped us migrate our communities from Slack and we've never looked back.”

What do you and your members like about Guild?

“The profiles are a real plus – if someone turns up tomorrow they can drop in to a conversation and see who they’re talking to, what they’ve got in common and build one-to-one connections if that’s what they prefer.

And filling out  your profile is a great first step in to the community – we find it helps people think about what they’re here for, what they can offer and what they might need help with.

The structure that Guild brings to community, with pinned and featured threads and a search option, means new joiners effectively get access to a knowledge bank of information from conversations that happened before they arrived.

Nobody needs to miss out just because they’re new to the community and that’s really important to us.

One of the features we all love is the Video Room – we have regular meetups in the group which allows us to get to know each other a bit more informally.

We often have a theme where someone shares their experience or knowledge, and increasingly those are members stepping forward from the group. That saves us time but it’s also great for those members who get to showcase their skills and build their confidence and profile.”

The Happiness Index hold regular community meetups in the Video Room - this fascinating lunch and learn session focused on the impact of alcohol on employee wellbeing 

How has Guild helped you to grow your community offering?

“The Guild plan that we’re on lets us build additional groups, so it was incredibly easy to start a separate community for our investors.

By building more communities for different groups and being part of them, we get a real all-round understanding of all our stakeholders. It’s a real human, two-way relationship, which we wouldn’t be able to get any other way.

Having our communities hosted on the same platform makes it much easier for us to manage and for our team to be active participants.

The same goes for CEOs for People, Purpose, Planet and Profit. That’s more of a personal passion project for me and it’s aimed at CEOs and founders rather than HR professionals. Again, I can drop in to Guild whenever I’m free and take part in all these groups.

I love having access to other communities on Guild that complement our own purpose, like Future of Work and Building Inclusive Cultures. We learn from how other people run their communities on Guild, we and our members can widen our networks and pick up all kinds of useful ideas and news.

It’s also easy to grow our communities. The underlying professional network on Guild (like LinkedIn) means that many our clients, prospects and investors are already on there.

One of our members had a LinkedIn community and her priorities had changed, so she wanted to close it. Because she was member of Happiness & Humans, she asked if we could help so she didn’t leave her members with nowhere to go. It was an easy decision for us, and an easy process for her to migrate her community to ours. Kashi, our fabulous community manager was able to welcome them all personally as well as in the group, and they felt at home instantly.”

The Happiness Index send regular community newsletters driving their audiences to their communities for discussions, events and announcements

What tips would you give to someone wondering if they should build a community on Guild?

“Don't just talk about it! Do it!

A lot of technology businesses know that WhatsApp isn't the place for their important communities so use Slack, like we did, because they think their audiences are comfortable. But Slack isn't a community platform. Guild is. And we wish we'd have chosen it earlier. Our engagement levels have gone through the roof.

If you're yet to create a virtual community, I would say you might already have a community that just needs help to get going. Think about all the different groups that you work with and how they need to connect.

Your prospects and customers have so much in common and you can make their lives better and understand them better by bringing them together. Your investors can be your in-house experts and champions if you give them the chance – and they’ll get value from being connected to each other too.

Even just by having your own team on Guild, they’ve got easy access to each other in a safe space.

You do need to consider who’s going to be responsible for your community – you need to be there consistently for your members. As a leadership team, we take community, community led growth and Community Based Marketing seriously and have invested in a dedicated Community Manager, Kashi Chellen, who does an incredible job.

I know not everyone can resource in this way but for us, having one person coordinate things and who can be the face of your community makes a big difference. They can encourage and cultivate members, set an example for members and help build the culture you want to see.

We get so much value from our communities and they’re a big strategic priority for us. So we're happy to invest in them for our continued growth.

Having said that I’d also encourage everyone in your organisation to jump in and take an active part in your community.

At the end of the day, people want to connect with people - and if your community fulfils that very human need, your members will recognise it, remember you, choose you and recommend you.”

Other professional communities on Guild

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Trade Association Forum boosts membership offering with community on Guild

Agency Hackers host online member communities on Guild

PRCA powers the communications sector with Guild groups

Renewd moves from Slack to Guild for its B2B membership community

Independent Print Industries Association hosts buyer/supplier community and internal communications groups on Guild

CIPD sets up HR Leader support group on Guild

Looking for a better way to build and engage your community?

See for yourself how the Guild experience is different to WhatsApp, Slack, LinkedIn or Facebook Groups.

Guild is a safe space to connect, communicate and collaborate with others.

Join us on a platform that is purpose-built for creating groups, communities and networks on mobile.

Contact us if you want to know more or have any questions.