When advising on Microsoft 365 projects, I’m asked by my clients, "What does good look like on Yammer?" As Yammer caters to a variety of purposes, my usual answer is, it depends. It is important to first have clarity of what your organisation, a community or a group want to achieve from engaging our workforce.
When we break it down into several scenarios, we can explore what good looks like from the perspective of these three: senior leadership engagement, connecting firstline workers and active communities.
This is a common scenario for successful adoption of Yammer. Yammer’s success is particularly dependent on digital leadership: the visibility of senior leaders, managers and influencers to set the tone and the agenda.
Leaders can move beyond just broadcasting their messages to listening to employees. One of the most important behaviours of a leader on Yammer is to listen. It’s a place for conversations, discussions, and stories. Leaders listening and responding to the employees' conversations tends to lead to a more engaged employee.
We need leaders to be involved in Yammer to help get others talking. A leader responding or liking a post really makes an impact, their presence matters and sets the tone of the Yammer network.
As this research from SWOOP Analytics shows, if a senior leader recognises a post by liking or responding, the person affected increased their activity per day by over 50%. This is incredibly significant – this shows the power of leaders to engage us rather than simple to tell us.
Here’s what good looks like for leaders:
Yammer is one of my favourite ways of engaging firstline workers with the activities and, most importantly, people of the wider organisation. Firstline workers, often without access to corporate systems, are typically well out of the loop, relying on their managers to communicate matters.
Yammer provides a simple way to both connect and facilitate full circle of two way engagement. Organizations can get the perspectives from all roles, which becomes essential if we really want to get a handle on change and innovation in complex working environments.
If firstline workers experience a disconnect from head office and their colleagues, Yammer can be where they can connect with both. Yammer gives them a platform to share and to be seen – and most importantly, be encouraged to be heard.
Here’s what good looks like for firstline workers:
Communities are the bread and butter of Yammer. And with Yammer groups being rebranded as communities, this reflects the natural position of Yammer as a place for community conversations, as opposed to specific team and project-based conversations.
Very simply, communities are where people come together through a common need or connection. With large and distributed workforces, Yammer is often the only place where we can all get together.
Once a need arises, communities can be incredibly powerful due to the diverse nature of people they comprise. Work-focused communities, ideally, are made up of individuals from completely different teams and business units who have a common interest or need.
The success of a community, however, depends largely on one thing: A community manager. The activity spreader, the network glue, the conversation catalyst.
Here’s what good looks like for community managers on Yammer:
Example network map from SWOOP Analytics of a Yammer community showing well distributed conversations, with most members responding to each-other relatively frequently.
You may only need a few tweaks to what you are currently doing to help evolve your conversations and communities in Yammer. By listening and learning from one another, you’ll be able to use Yammer as a tool to meet the needs of your organisations using their most powerful asset – their people.
And that’s what good looks like.
A diverse group of people meeting their needs and the organisation’s needs in one place.
I'm Andrew Pope, and my passion is helping medium and large organisations connect their technology with their people - finding new and important ways of work that meet everyone's needs.
I help improve collaboration and make digital working safe and purposeful through facilitation, strategy development and virtual card games. If you'd like a chat, please ping me at email@example.com
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