Making Yammer Work Successfully for Internal Communications - lessons from the frontline

Frequent Contributor

Its been a hectic few weeks launching Yammer across our organisation and I felt it was time to share some learnings (note there are some technical aspects mentioned). I have previously launched Yammer a number of times with varying degrees of success and in some cases complete failure. Our brief was to support Internal Communications goals to reach all our colleagues no matter where, how or when they worked (we have shift workers, front line and classic information workers) and to complement pure 'push' communications with more colleague stories, conversations and feedback.

So with our wider launch here are a few things to seriously consider (I'm not going to cover the usual 'best practice' guidance - that's already online):

1) Define a purpose for Yammer in your organisation and how you will support your colleagues with getting the best from the platform as individuals and as a collective (training, guidance, champion network etc). Create a set of 'Principles' which govern the use and purpose of Yammer and make this a 'living' document - your maturity in thinking for enterprise social will change over time.

2) Make sure your Active Directory (Azure Premium and 'on premise') is fit for purpose - is the data up to date, is it standardised and does it truly provide the information to understand who a colleague is and where they fit in the organisation. Yammer quickly highlights inaccurate basic organisational information and this will be amplified with senior colleagues.

3) Ensure your 'Joiners-Movers-Leavers' (JML) process works and is able to drive the maintenance of the information held in AD above as well as setting up access to Yammer and Core groups (see point 6).

4) Build a portfolio of different categories of groups - All Company (default), Functional or Location, Business Department/Team and Thematic (Business or Social).

5) Drive inclusiveness by actively encouraging open groups on Yammer by default and steer closed groups to say Microsoft Teams. Recreating business silos in another platform can be unhelpful and does not build the 'learning organisation' at scale.

6) Create a set of core Yammer groups for Internal Communications that represent how you wish to target communications with colleagues and create community based on organisation structure, location, type of employee. An employee needs to be a member of the relevant subset. Use the Azure AD Premium product (Dynamic Groups for Yammer) to easily manage how employees are added and removed from their Core groups based on their organisational information (typically fed from an HR system such as Workday). You can also prevent employees from leaving their Core groups ensuring Internal Comms need to reach every colleague is satisfied.

7) Map the end-to-end user journey for access to Yammer (based on your JML process) for colleagues who are desk based and those who only access via mobile (front-line). You may even have colleagues that don't have email addresses - how do they get their login credentials and how do they preform password resets? This helps to communicate how to use Yammer for those unfamiliar with using similar tools.

8) Ensure colleagues know the different levels of functionality available on the mobile app versus the browser and desktop app - these are very different experiences. You will double up on training and materials as some functionality is simply not accessible via the mobile app e.g. changing notification settings and some profile information.

9) Build an early adopter phase into your rollout so that there is engaging content and activity before wider launch. Creating a teaser or VIP early access is quite engaging and 'viral'.

10) Pre-load colleagues into their Core groups to help kickstart activity and ensure colleagues are ready for relevant Internal Communications.

11) Create 'coming soon' groups so colleagues don't simply go off and create their own groups because 'there wasn't one'. This helps ensure some thought is given to group creation and reduces intial group sprawl. Social research tells us colleagues will create groups familiar to how they currently work or attract members similar to themselves restricting diversity in thought.

12) Create a #topics post to seed groups so that topics are setup early on that can be re-used and reduce the problem of spelling mistakes or obscure subjects.

13) Using the SharePoint document library with Yammer Connected Groups is a great idea but has been implemented poorly and is practically inaccessible via the mobile app.

14) Seriously test the Yammer mobile app - there are security considerations you should understand but can mitigate by process.

15) Be brutal in removing 'dead' groups - treat your network like a bonzai tree, it needs to be pruned regularly early on to achieve the right shape, form and activity.


16) There seems to be a growing move away from external 'social media' so we found that for many talking about Yammer as a new two way communications tool for our colleagues was more acceptable than using the word 'social' - think about how you engage with the demographics in your company. If it's uncool then it will be uncool ... (this is very different from a few years ago when 'social' was frowned upon by senior execs, now its gone full circle).

These are a few learnings that have resulted now in a very successful launch and rollout for Yammer. We expect a full 'sign-up' (due to pre-load and our link in with the JML process) and certainly significant engagement activity on our network. We next need to tackle the support of business operational activities on Yammer with a view to removing our unofficial use of WhatsApp ...


If you want to find out more, get further advice connect on Linkedin and let's have a chat!


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3 Replies
Thanks for sharing and continued good luck with your launch.

I think your point #13 will get easier in the not too distant future.