Are you ready for the New Yammer? 6 ways to get ready now

Published 02-03-2020 09:30 AM 20.3K Views

The Year of Yammer is coming, haven't you heard? The new Yammer coming soon, and there's a lot to be excited about. People are delighted by the bright new user interface, with an increased visual emphasis on special kinds of posts such as Questions and Polls. There are new features to increase engagement with users of the platform, such as being able to pin posts and close conversations. Most importantly, Yammer Groups will now be called Yammer Communities.



Are you ready for this change?


Here's a list of some items that network admins, community managers, stakeholders, and power users should consider working on before New Yammer becomes available in your tenant.


1. Update your Yammer usage policy

This feature allows Yammer network admins to define a usage policy that all users must accept the first time they sign in, as well as when there are any changes.


Why would you update the Terms of Use? Well, do you have usage guidelines that mention "Yammer Groups"? That will need to change to refer to Yammer Communities. If you haven't updated the Terms in a while, you might want to provide guidance on when Private Communities should be used, and when other tools such as Microsoft Teams might be better fits for the scenario. The automatic storage of files in SharePoint is another recent platform change that might affect your Terms of Use.


Providing "things to know" or "best practices" in your Terms of Use  is a good way to get eyeballs on those tips. And since many of your users will be excited to see what's going on with the New Yammer, this is a perfect time to present (or, re-present) those tips to your users.


2. Prepare your Community Managers

Next it’s time to update your documentation and tips for community managers to reflect the changes coming in the New Yammer. Be sure to highlight the new community manager features such as pinning posts and new cover photo.


It may be appropriate to hold some meetings, brown-bags, or other virtual Q&A sessions with these community leaders and influencers. Get them excited about the New Yammer and they'll get their colleagues excited as well.  Share with them the recording for the New Yammer Webinar, or they can attend the next one. 


Additional Resources: New Yammer FAQ by role; What's new in Yammer

3. Get ready for Cover Photos in Communities

Your communities come alive with the new cover photo feature. The large canvas allows you to select images with details, on-image text, and more. These can serve as inspiration and provide information about the community or upcoming events.


The Cover Photo image dimensions are 1360x550, which is a fairly "wide-screen" aspect ratio. On mobile devices the cover image appears slightly less wide. And remember that the community icon sits on top of it over there on the left, so an image with open space in the lower left corner is best.

Sample Community Cover PhotoSample Community Cover Photo


One technique you might want to employ is add text to the image. This could be used to add context to the purpose of the community, or to promote an upcoming event.


Community Cover Photo and IconCommunity Cover Photo and Icon



To preview what cover photos will look like, check out the Cover Photo Preview.  Or if you need some inspiration, check out these sample cover photos for you to get started with. 



4. Choose a new company cover photo for All Company

You can (finally!) brand the All Company community with your logo. Choose an appropriate logo that stands out and fills the space (avoid logos with lots of white-space built into the image). All Company gets a new cover photo, too.




5. Communicate and prepare your users

Many people are averse to change, especially when it's unexpected. Though New Yammer will initially ship with a toggle in the "off" state, it will prove beneficial to give your users a heads-up about this. Remind them they can continue to use the older experience for a period of time but emphasize the benefits of the new user interface and features.


This is even more important for your champions, power users, and colleagues who love to play with whatever is bright and shiny. Because New Yammer is super bright and shiny!


6. Update your Yammer documentation

A lot of things have changed in the new Yammer, so your documentation will need to be updated. Here's a few of the changes you may want to address:

  • How to enable/disable the New Yammer
  • The new feed (there's only one feed type in the new Yammer)
  • The change of location of where the notifications are now in the Office 365 suite header
  • Announcements can be type of post
  • Setting up a new Community

Leveraging Microsoft’s Yammer documentation during the early stages of your new Yammer rollout is something to strongly consider.


Stay updated for future change and improvements

There are several phases for New Yammer, and additional features will be available over time. Stay connected to the Yammer Blog and the Office 365 Message Center for updates from the Yammer team.



Are you excited for the New Yammer? What are you doing to prepare for this change? Be sure to leave a comment or question below.





Kevin Crossman is the IT Service Owner for Content Collaboration at Juniper Networks, Inc. He’s been a Microsoft MVP since 2016 with a focus on Yammer, Microsoft Teams, and Online Communities. Outside of work hours, Kevin is a Tiki Bar and Mai Tai enthusiast.


Super Contributor

@Kevin Crossman, can't wait for it to roll out!  

Great advice!

Senior Member

Hmmm none of the links seem to work, is anyone else experiencing the same?

I tested all the links and they seem to be working for me (even in a second browser not logged into OneDrive). Maybe the is somehow blocked in your browser @bernie?
Occasional Contributor

Good advice - thanks, as always !!


This is very helpful Kevin, thanks!

New Contributor
Great tips @Kevin. I cant wait to get the new Yammer rolled out to my Network. Its hard to prep though with the dates not being clearly defined. I am however starting to link people to the Meet the new Yammer webinar you posted above.
Thanks. A fellow Microsoft MVP Martina Grom took good notes in that seminar and tweeted the timeline slide you're probably looking for. Certainly things are a little fuzzy ("1st half 2020"). But not too much longer, so exactly the right time to start getting ready now.
I've read this post multiple times in the last few weeks trying to absorb everything changing in Yammer, and this statement beneath Update Your Yammer Documentation stopped me dead in my tracks, "How to enable/disable the New Yammer." Does that mean users will have the option of continuing to use the older interface?
Yes, Dinorah. The phasing will look like this Phase 1: New Yammer defaults off, but users can enable it Phase 2: New Yammer defaults on, but users can disable it Phase 3: New Yammer is on for everyone, no way to go back to old Yammer.

Hi @Kevin Crossman  I looked at the "Microsoft's Yammer Documentation" link above but it did not have anything specific to the new Yammer. I would like to start creating some job aids and materials and I would lobe screenshots of the new interface. And maybe even verbiage about what's changing. Where can I find that? Thanks :)

Hi Katie, That link was added in by our friends from Microsoft so in this respect I can't say for certain. What I would expect is that once New Yammer starts to get out there more then the documentation should reflect it. But I appreciate it's a little bit of a catch 22 right now for network admins. The recent seminars and other New Yammer blog posts should address some documentation questions.

@Katie O'Leary  - Hi Katie - the documentation on that site is being updated behind the scenes now. I am also working to update the resources on our Yammer Resource Center we will have a new resource site coming with the new Yammer too. As the resources are updated and release they will be reflected on the current Yammer Resource Center  already.  I have a few more I am working on having ready soon for you, hopefully by the next webinar (Including new Yammer tips and the screenshots!)

Super Contributor

@Allison Michels, I like the updated Yammer Resource Center.  Thanks for posting this.

Occasional Contributor

Super good article! Nice explanation! 


A lot of the links don't work for me. Example, I can't open a lot of the links in the Adoption Resources. I receive the follow message:




@andrewclarke Thanks for sharing -- I just updated a few of the links that got changed when we updated the Yammer Resource Center. If there's something that's still not working let me know which specific one. 


Currently you can update the Community Profile photo on mobile devices. When Yammer officially changes over to desktop, will the Community Profile photo transition over?

Yes, since Cover Photo is a New Yammer feature, if you update the cover photo from one app it will also show in all other experiences when you're using New Yammer.

Frequent Visitor

Hi, I'm still a bit confused about what will happen to the users "old Yammer-profile" - will they lose access to private messages sent to the 'old' profiles once Yammer is set to recognize their user via their O365 account?
What if they are Group Admins today - will they lose access and this status to existing groups?

How do I best plan to modernize Yammer and take care of the existing users and groups - will the old user profile simply co-exist along with the 'new' one? Can existing communities carry on as always, while new communities benefit from the O365 group + services?

Found this:


Would it be helpful to ask my users to make sure their current Yammer profile has an updated e-mail address (their O365 mail)? 


@RBygballe, to be clear, we've almost done syncing the profile metadata for everyone that is AAD-backed. There's no action needed on your part, or any further changes to the user profile. Everyone still uses their existing Microsoft 365 or Yammer account.


However, it sounds like you may be referring to Native Mode?


Hi @YammerTeam and @Kevin Crossman: I uploaded a cover photo to one my communities on my mobile device using the recommended image dimensions 1360x550, however, the text on image and sizing doesn't look right (it gets cut off). 1360x550 may work for desktop, but what are best practices for making an image that works on both desktop and mobile?


Hi - you are right, @andrewclarke it's slightly cropped for mobile. Its been on my list to get the exact dimensions and update this, so let me get back to you when I find out! 

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