Some organizations are welcoming Yammer into their company for the first time with the new Yammer experience. And others have had Yammer for ages. With the new version of Yammer, customers used the opportunity to take a step back and prepare for the upcoming changes, modernize communications efforts, and plan community building within their organization. Here is a look at how NI’s use of Yammer has evolved from the beginning of 2020 to now.
NI has had Microsoft 365 since 2015, and employee adoption of Yammer has gone through a variety of ups and downs. In 2019, they won a Gartner Communication award for their “Honk the Horn” campaign celebrating successes across the sales organization. But Yammer didn’t truly gain momentum across the rest of the workforce until 2020 when the new Yammer was introduced.
When NI employees were asked to work remotely in early 2020, Yammer’s role as a communication and engagement tool in the new virtual environment became clear. There was an immediate need to communicate frequent updates in an ever-changing environment and to create a central place for answering an influx of employee questions. The NI Global Communications team took a strategic approach to stand-up communities that enable two-way conversation between employees and leadership to increase transparency and answer questions. The result? The team was able to increase new Yammer adoption 38.5% from February to June.
Increased usage for specific communities The NI Global Communications team stood up a “COVID-19 Q&A” community to help answer real-time questions from employees during the ever-evolving situation. A “Work from Anywhere” community that started out organically, grew with many employees sharing best practices of what they learned as they continue to work from home. And not surprisingly, an important community grown while the workforce has been remote is the community for VPN, providing self-help and community help around remote connecting and related issues.
Executives are engaged NI’s Global Communications team also leveraged the new Yammer functionality to encourage executives to communicate more frequently and openly with employees.
Today, NI leverages Yammer Live Events to connect with all employees on a quarterly basis to drive alignment and one-to-many communication across the organization. It also provides a central forum for employees to post questions in Yammer before, during, and after the event, which executives answer in real-time. Yammer Live Events keeps questions in a single place, so community owners can keep track of activity and build a repository of frequently asked questions for future communication efforts. Employees now have a direct line with the executives and a form of two-way communication that is informal and less intimidating. After the success of their all employee live events, more leaders have elected to host their discussions via Yammer.
Supporting employees everywhere The IT Collaboration Team at NI supports their employees by understanding that employees will work how it is most productive to them and their role. Specifically, the IT Collaboration Team has created a SharePoint Communication site to communicate all things M365, including guidance on when to use Microsoft Teams and Yammer. They have pinned the Community app in Microsoft Teams, to have the additional visibility and reminder for their employees to continue to engage in conversations in Yammer. And there are specific Yammer communities around using the M365 tools like SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, and the community manager posts #NewTeamsFeatures as they roll out. So regardless of where NI employees do their work, there’s opportunities to connect and learn from one another as they become even more productive at work or at home.
Best Practices for launching Yammer Finally, the team at NI wanted to share some best practices from the lessons they learned along the way.
Get leadership engaged! Build a partnership with your Communications team and work together to create opportunities for leaders to lead by example.
Create guidance but show value directly by providing clear examples of success.
Create ongoing conversations with business partners. Relationships with leadership and Communications helps grow and improve adoption. Adoption is not over when you launch.
Use influencers to help get change adopted to the pockets of the organization and provide them clear actions they can ask of their peers.
Tag employees in your posts. This helps those who aren’t active on Yammer to get involved through Outlook notifications.
What does your Yammer adoption look like this past year? Any surprises or changes?
Kerry Lambert is a Collaboration Platform Engineer at NI in Austin, Texas. She is a subject matter expert in Microsoft 365 including SharePoint, Yammer, and Microsoft Teams. Kerry brings both wit and wisdom to Modern Workplace transformation and Microsoft 365 adoption.
Allie Zahn is a Senior Internal Communications Manager at NI in Austin, Texas. She partners closely with IT to find new and effective ways to leverage Microsoft 365 tools to communicate and drive engagement with employees.