From our readers: Guild Retention

Amanda Dean
A. Dean|05.27.09

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From our readers: Guild Retention
We get lots of email from our readers trying to find their way though WoW. I'd like to take a moment to answer a question about membership retention. This also builds on a previous response regarding the trials and tribulations of starting a guild.

Hi I been reading your posts and listening to the podcast and you recently made a new guild. I have a guild with around 140 members and we do some raiding weekly but every time I log off, it seems that people start arguing, and drama just starts building up. I went away for a couple days and when I come back from my vacation, Alot of people have left the guild. Maybe 10-15 people. Now they are stealing my members and have made a new guild. Do you have tips on member retaining and stuff like that, would be cool if you can do a post on that kind of stuff and how you work that out, thanks

Hello reader,

Thank you for the email. One of the hardest things I've noticed about a guild is dealing with a certain amount of churn. Acceptance is the first step. People leave for all kinds of reasons. There will be those that come and go. The stronger you make your core, the stronger you make your guild.
That being said, there are some things that you can do to help reduce churn:
  • Create an environment where people want to be. Encourage members to run dungeons together and get to know each other and their abilities. You'll find that people are more likely to stick it out in a place that feels like home. In my guild I tend to call people by first name, and know just a little bit about them. (Though it's perfectly acceptable when people don't want to share that information.) As an extra bonus this makes it easier to keep track of alts.
  • Similarly, be selective in who you invite. There are a lot of guild hoppers out there, so if you invite one, don't be surprised when they take off. Remember that if you invite folks as a group, they will likely leave as a group if one or some of them become disenchanted.
  • Make sure that the folks you invite have similar tolerances. A guild can quickly seem hostile when personalities don't mesh. If you know that someone is drama waiting to happen, it's best to avoid inviting them in the first place.
  • Be consistent. You said that you're doing some raiding, but do players know when to show up for raids. Use your raid calendar. Let everyone know what your expectations are. If they show up late without a valid reason, PUG out their spot and let them come in if someone drops.
  • Make sure you are fair. Anything from dispensing loot to giving praise. Don't play favorites with your friends. Remember all of your members are important to your success. Whatever rules you establish for your guild, enforce them equally among your members.
  • Set a good example for your guildies. Don't arrive late for guild events. Be respectful and successful on your own. You don't have to be an expert on every class, but make sure you can prove that you are competent. People will come to you for advice and suggestions, but will likely also do what they see you doing. (Yup, I'm off Polishing the Helm again.)
  • Don't give up at the first sign of trouble. Sometimes you will have to rebuild from obstacles. No matter how frustrated and angry you get, try to avoid burning bridges. Remember you're all still on the same server, and will likely run into each other again. Sometimes guildies come back, sometimes they don't- but either way you're better off without hard feelings.

In many ways, running a guild is like running a business. I use many of the same techniques when leading my guild that I do when managing employees. Take a gander at some management books and websites. I'm a firm believer in "The One Minute Manager." Praise for a minute; correct for a minute; praise for a minute; let it go.

The guild leader has a ton of responsibility. It's fine to take a day or a week off, but give your guild members as much notice as you can. Make suggestions for what they should work on while you're gone. I raid when I'm off on business trips (which has included sitting on the hotel room floor to get a decent wireless signal), but don't feel like you have to. A good, strong guild will survive a few days without you.

You'll find that some things get harder, and others get easier. I think of myself more as a benign monarch than a dictator (though some of my guildies seem to disagree.) Once you've gotten through those agonizing, rocky first steps in creating the guild, just hang in there. With the number of guildies you have, it sounds like you may be on the verge of breaking through. If you've got the time and patience raising a guild can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

For love, for honor, for pony,
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