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Q4: Yammer and Working Out Loud

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Former Employee

Q4: How does Yammer help your organization Work out Loud? What features should admins and leaders be aware of?

28 Replies
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The Discovery feed is something we recommend to use to get the pulse of what's happening in the network. A good option for execs to use and engage team members with kudos, reinforcing company goals/values, or answering questions.
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Yammer is a platform to - first, communicate with a specific interest group or audience, easier way to communicate v/s emails if its meets the use cases, capturing feedbacks and suggestions through polls gives insights to what your users really want and can benefit from..

 

Leaders need to understand the benefits of moving away from email to adapt to the digital transformation of workplace.

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We work in external groups with our clients to mitigate staffing turnover on both sides (another benefit of WOL).

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As you're asking about admin and leadership features, I'd focus on making sure that group admins know the power of announcements. For example, this feature can be used to help keep a weekly status reporting team on task as they adopt a new behavior.

 

Also, make use of praise, both likes and the formal praise function. I think that's second only to leadership modeling as the most effective driver in-platform.

 

Plus, because I'm from a company where email is oxygen... I always share and train on the fact that every Yammer group has an email address and the ability to subscribe to posts in the group via email. Groups are often not united where every person has signed on to moving to a new platform or process, and knowing about email interoperability will often help a team move forward without feeling they have to drive 100% agreement first.

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It helps me pull people into the conversation who don't belong in my team or are outside of a specific project. 

 

Leaders should be aware of the notes feature which is great for co-writing documentation with a virtual team.

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Some ideas on how to use the features of Yammer to support working out loud are here:

 

https://docs.com/yammer-team/1609/how-to-work-out-loud-in-yammer-in-10-mins-a-day

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Yammer helps with the integration of Office 365. Admins should have the views of reports to see how to measure and engage the community.

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It enables people to connect, to share and to solve each others problems in an open and transparent way. People can find each other. People can discover Groups and work that is relevant to their work. People can call for help, review, information and assistance to do their work.

For me it is not such an issue of the features of Yammer. It has all needed and the Office365 Groups integration brings even more. The value is in the community management, the cultural work and the adoption that administrators and leaders need to drive. That's where the value of working out loud comes from.
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The mobile apps, especially when people say "I don't have time for this".
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Also, to expand, any features that end-users should take advantage of?

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With the newer features rolling out, such as being able to create an Office doc from the Files section in any group, I've seen interest increase in Yammer overall. Though we've enjoyed a steady rate of participation. It seems that all it takes is for one person to try something--such as putting their entire project on Yammer--for others to get inspired to do something similar or a step further.

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Interesting outcome @Chris Slemp ... Would love to hear more about that use case.
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Some suggest starting in a private group and then switching to public when everyone is comfortable. You could make the argument for going the other direction: starting public and switching to private only if someone complains. Either way, just know that you have that option to switch if you're working TOO loud.

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Yammer is all about discovery! It is incredibly easy to join new groups geared around initiatives like Work Out Loud, philanthropic endeavors, or v teams. The curated feed gives you content specific to your behavior. The easy ability to apply tags, loop in coworkers, and share files makes the whole process simple. Users, admins, and leaders should pay attention to where they are posting, to make sure that messages and information are kept in the right places.
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to make connections: topics, groups, profile cards
to make contributions: likes, replies, forwarding posts by email
to share: groups, external messaging, external groups
to solve: creating and working on documents together, replies & much more
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Yammer the platform, gives the opportunity for the conversation, print or verbally, to happen to even start to disucss things like working out loud, and culture change. 

 

In my last company, one of my team members was in the industry when the fax machine was introduced. And it CHANGED the way they did business. Radically. Effieciently. Producitively. A fax machine!

 

The mobile aspect to platforms like yammer are the game changer.

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Our client engagements will often span several months to a year. In that time, we can almost be certain that staffing in our agency or on the client's team will change. Also, who on our team has corporate accounts with the client's network will vary from project to project. External groups frees us up from worrying about either of these things, and reduces the time I have to spend switching accounts or networks. Conversation history is retained of course for people rolling onto the project later. We also use shared task lists in either Asana or Wunderlist... so, the sooner Planner can support external guests, the better :)
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Sharing photos or video is huge too. So fast to snap something in your work and put up an image from the mobile app. That can be far more engaging and useful than a long post. Avoids detailed descriptions that can be time consuming and complicated. Can be better for security of information.

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I've also done much work with guiding people to just look at their own pertinent groups, if they find that the Home feed is too much for them. People have different tolerances for "noise." 

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It allows work groups to create themselves, organically.  What other tool does that?  I, the data consumer, the data creator, decide what information is pertinent to my work, what I need to read, and where my input would be helpful.  Conversations happen across time zones (asynronously), across languages (translate button), and across divisions (enterprise authentication).  I think it's the perfect tool to use to work out loud.  There are enough barriers in our work cultures, habits, and human tendencies.  At least with Yammer the technology doesn't add to those barries and rather encourages and rewards open collaboration and working out loud.  

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Fantastic to have retained an open record of the history of work, through collaborating together openly. Makes it so much easier for new people to come up to speed.
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We are a geographically dispersed team. Our best practice  only hope to survive is to thoughtfully and purposefully work in a project-specific group. When we on-board new team mates, they start by consuming as much of the group conversations as possible on their own. Makes getting up to speed so much easier when you can "point to a post" for the answer. 

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@Chris Slemp wrote:

Some suggest starting in a private group and then switching to public when everyone is comfortable. You could make the argument for going the other direction: starting public and switching to private only if someone complains. Either way, just know that you have that option to switch if you're working TOO loud.


Yes! Sometimes all you need to do is reassure people that they aren't going to break anything, that they can always switch back and forth...all the while having a few good examples of public groups that are just swimming in success because of the open collaboration. 

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@Dean Swann wrote:

We are a geographically dispersed team. Our best practice  only hope to survive is to thoughtfully and purposefully work in a project-specific group. When we on-board new team mates, they start by consuming as much of the group conversations as possible on their own. Makes getting up to speed so much easier when you can "point to a post" for the answer. 


That's a great use case right there--geographically dispersed + how to stay efficient and effective = need a place where you know for sure you're getting the most up-to-date intel...

 

...Yammer!

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Email doesn't allow for serendipitous discovery. The openness of Yammer does (when supported by community and culture). I can't describe the number of times the right answer just happened to appear in Yammer for something I needed.  The serendipity when people work out loud is amazing.

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I find these features helpful: Polls - Get votes and opinions fast! Praise - Celebrate each others' progress to keep the ball rolling. Group Notes & Files - Keep meeting notes, updates, and other content in the context of a group's conversations. There's version tracking too! Follow - Following people is a given. But you can follow conversations, files, and notes on Yammer to get updates on them in your Yammer inbox.
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Yammer is key in our organization for 2-way dialogue and transparency throughout the company. We guide employees to use Yammer to find expertise, people, and information to help them with their work. They ask questions and get answers (quickly!) from people they don't even know. It also helps senior leadership understand more about what's going on in the company at a grass roots level.
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