If you haven’t heard already 2020 is the Year of Yammer! Not only are we getting a new UX with Microsoft’s new fluent design for mobile and web, but many things the community has been asking for has been included such as being able to favourite communities, pin conversations, mark best answers, close conversations, filter questions as well as shiny new features like Live events, O365 people cards, and the ability to make any post type into an announcement!
The New Yammer experience is based on three main concepts: Communities, Knowledge, and Engagement.
I’d like to share practical examples from the Hall & Wilcox Yammer network of the four things Yammer does exceptionally better than any other tool; Leadership engagement, Company-wide communication, Knowledge sharing and Employee experience.
Leadership engagement One of the main reasons Hall & Wilcox has been successful with Yammer is because our senior leaders have been engaging and also engaged themselves. We recently moved into a brand new Sydney office and before the move our COO Sumith Perera made a quick video using his iPhone before uploading it to Yammer to give us a virtual tour of the place (and also make us jealous). Sumith likes to mix up his updates with a variety of different media (not just walls of text) such as video and also narrated photo montages.
Company-wide communication Hall & Wilcox is a national independent law firm with offices across Australia. As we have grown opening offices across the country Yammer has been the place to collaborate seamlessly across offices and teams and also promote our firm’s culture and values. One of our Newcastle Partners Daniel (who is infamous on Yammer even to people who have never met him in person) shares personal stories and thoughtful posts not only to his team in Newcastle but also to the wider Hall & Wilcox population.
Knowledge sharing As a technology trainer my role is all about sharing expert knowledge and we have hundreds of experts who can be accessed through Yammer. At Hall & Wilcox we have a Technology Tips & Tricks community where I post regular tips that could help our people. It’s even better when our people help each other by asking and answering questions themselves. As a firm we’ve also gotten better at using the @mention feature to tag multiple people who might benefit from the answer which then sends them a notification.
With the new Yammer, Microsoft has made the unique post types like questions and answers stand out even more. Once a question has been answered we can now pin the best answer which promotes it to the top of the thread. Another new feature is the ability to filter the feed by post type so if you wanted to search for all unanswered questions you could just adjust the filter.
Employee experience Back in mid-2018 when we were running out of physical space in the Melbourne office we started an ‘Evolve Our Workspace’ campaign to see how we could better utilize the existing space. One of the ideas that came out of that Yammer community was a suggestion to consider a ‘dress for your day policy’. This gives employees the discretion to select appropriate clothing the business of each workday which can have a major impact on productivity. After much discussion and feedback we eventually launched Dress for your day officially just two months after the initial conversation started on Yammer.
One of the most popular communities you see across many Yammer networks is a dedicated pets community. People who have never met before can easily make a connection through being pet owners and sharing candid photos of their fur babies.
As @Matthew Dodd mentioned in his Ignite presentation in 2017, “Nobody ever got fired for liking a picture of a dog”. It’s definitely a low barrier to entry for those who are just testing the waters with Yammer.
Another employee experience idea which is good for (smaller) teams who use a private Yammer community is a photo/selfie relay. Our Finance team came up with this idea to encourage people to step out of the office and take a photo to improve their overall well being. Each team member in the office would take a photo and upload it to their private yammer community and then tag the next person in the relay until the entire team had posted a photo. The idea has since evolved to other themes like photos of street art.
Keep calm and Yammer on As you can see, Yammer is getting an extreme makeover and continues to be the best tool for; Leadership engagement, Company-wide communication, Knowledge sharing and Employee experience. I hope that the above examples from our Hall & Wilcox Yammer network encourage and inspire you and your organisation to keep calm and Yammer on!
@Jason Soo is a Technology Trainer at Hall & Wilcox an independent business law firm. Jason connects people with technology and has taken a leading role engaging their people on Yammer for better performance and collaboration. Jason specialises in E-Learning, Office 365, Enterprise Social Networks and eDiscovery.