With your whole company’s employees in one network, and conversations across multiple Yammer communities every day, the temptation to ‘keep on top of’ Yammer might seem a little overwhelming.
Would you try and keep up with every meeting and conversation taking place in the office too? Probably not, and we can apply the same logic with Yammer – you don’t have to be part of every conversation all the time.
For example, let’s say you already have an overflowing email inbox after a holiday break from work. Instead of feeling the pressure to keep up with every single conversation on Yammer as well as all those emails, you can be selective on how you catch up with and consume Yammer content.
Having just been on an extended break from the office myself (for the strange new world of Maternity Leave) and just missing the launch of our company intranet – I’ve been glad to see updates, queries and feedback about the intranet in Yammer rather than my email. It’s been easier to keep up with all the suggestions, without trawling through lots of email chains and duplicate ideas, plus I can easily see which ones have already been implemented, so I don’t have to worry about those when I’m back full time.
You don’t have to read it all!
Start thinking of Yammer less like another email inbox and more like a packet of biscuits – something nice to dip into every time you fancy. If you had a week’s break from Twitter, you wouldn’t bother spending time to catch up with every single tweet you’ve missed because there’d just be too many! Apply the same logic to Yammer and use it for when you want to connect with your work community.
Be selective on the communities and users that you follow
Unless you’re a community manager, you probably don’t want to be following every single community and user that your Yammer network has to offer. If your organisation’s Yammer communities have well defined use cases (and they should), pick the ones that will be most useful to you and just follow those. As I work closely with the sales team in my organisation, I belong to a group called ‘Our Customers and Market’ as it keeps me up to date with what customers are telling us they need. I’m not, on the other hand, a member of the ‘Motor Chat’ group, as my interest in cars is limited to getting myself from A to B.
Similarly, if there are particular users who often post content that you find interesting, follow a few of those. For example, we’ve got a few MVPs in my organisation who always keep us up to date with key Microsoft developments, so I follow those to keep my knowledge current. On the lighter side I also have a sales colleague with a very dry sense of humour, so I follow that person for when I need a little laugh. This way the content that you see first will have most relevance to you, and you can dip in and out of other content if you have the need (or a coffee break).
Update your notifications settings
The default setting for Yammer notifications is to have everything ‘on’, which means that not only do you get all sorts of notifications within Yammer itself, but you may find that Yammer is emailing you as well with lots of updates that you may not need – increasing the pressure to ‘catch up’. Modify your settings so that you’re only getting the notifications you care about.
Currently, I’m back in the office once a week at the moment with a full return in January. When I am in the office I catch up with Yammer bit by bit and here’s how:
Searching for #joined to find out more about all the new starters we’ve had since I’ve been away (and say hello!)
Skimming through the newest conversations in my key communities and bookmarking ones I’d like to follow up. I’ll be setting some time aside to go through these bookmarks later in more detail. For example – one of these was about the Ice Breaker bot in Microsoft Teams that I think could really help colleagues get to know each other, so I’d like to raise awareness about it once I’m back.
With my community manager hat on I’ve also been checking:
New communities to make sure they have more than one owner and a clear use case with examples.
Communities with little/no activity to see if they are still worthwhile keeping open moving forward.
No matter how your organisation uses Yammer, you can be sure that the intention is to help, not hinder, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed – try the tips above and see if keeping up with Yammer becomes less of a burden.
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.