Even at the best of times, starting a new job can be daunting. With remote working becoming the “new normal” for many organisations, starting a new job without meeting new colleagues in person can be a very strange experience, particularly for those who have traditionally been office-based and surrounded by a working team.
Yammer can play a key role in onboarding, especially with an all-virtual on-boarding experience. Yammer provides an open, online platform that allows new employees to discover and connect with others, without the need for formal introductions via email or video call.
Ask HR community in Microsoft Teams
In our organisation, we’re finding that an all-virtual approach to on-boarding requires more of a structured method. Previously, day one included time physically in the office, even if they would be based primarily remote, to give an immediate chance to put names to friendly faces and experience the office atmosphere. However, with our physical office environment out of the equation, there’s less opportunity to ‘bump into’ other employees who may be useful to know from a professional and personal point of view. HR and Line Managers are working together to set up scheduled Microsoft Teams meetings with appropriate contacts. While this is of course a sensible approach, it doesn’t provide the opportunity for the new employee to connect with others across the company who aren’t directly related to their role.
Yammer’s open community structure closes this gap, allowing new employees to virtually observe their new colleagues interacting, (as they might in an office) and giving them a chance to display their personality by joining or starting conversation threads.
We’ve learned a few things along the way for community managers, HR and line managers for setting up the onboarding experience to make sure new employees feel welcomed into your company through Yammer:
1. Introduce them to the network
An introductory post from the new employee's line manager into All Company, or relevant community works really well, usually encouraging lots of other employees to follow up with replies of welcome. Friendly hellos can settle those new-job nerves even if they’re not in person.
2. Help them realize the benefit of Yammer
New employees may not have come across platforms like Yammer previously, so during the first couple of days is an excellent chance to help them discover the benefits of being active in the Yammer network. Even if they have used Yammer in the past, it's still a great chance to explain the particular setup of communities and use cases in your organization and point out which ones could benefit them.
3. Suggest Communities for them to join
Have a list of 5 tops work related communities you’d recommend by their role and interests. Work with their line manager or HR team to get a list of recommended communities.
Additionally, we spend a lot of time with colleagues and sometimes it's nice to take a break from work stresses and be reminded that we are all human. If your Yammer network includes communities that offer some light relief from work, make sure your new starters are included, so that they can start getting to know colleagues on a more personal level.
For example, my favorite non-work related communities in our Yammer network are:
Office Chat – Somewhere to replicate not-necessarily-work-related office chat
Rate My Plate – Brave employees put their cooking skills on show for the admiration (or amusement) of others
Respond to their first few posts in Yammer if you can, to give them a positive experience from the beginning, making them more likely to continue using the platform. You might not have the answer to their question, but you can @mention the right people or help to share the message into the right communities to get the conversation in front of the right community for the best response.
5. Get the mobile app or add Yammer to Microsoft Teams
Encourage them to use and interact with Yammer wherever they are to do their work. They might use a variety of tools, and Yammer can be integrated with them.
6. Timing is key! Start early
You’ll want to introduce new starters to Yammer as soon as possible, to get them plugged into the right communities and conversations right away. This helps to connect them, regardless of where they are physically located and make them feel part of the larger organization and initiatives going on.
We want to ensure that that new starters feel welcomed, get to know their colleagues remotely, and become an active part of the Yammer network themselves, especially within their first few weeks on the job!
Are you using Yammer with your new employees today? How can you add Yammer to your existing processes?
I'm Lyndsay Ansell, Internal Communication Specialist at Modality Systems. I'm working to reinvigorate our Yammer network as part of a wider Internal Comms strategy. Having spent the last 4 years working in the UC industry, communication of all forms really interests me, and I'm constantly looking for new ideas and opinions around the subject.