#WomenInTech meet Britt Newton, Wiretap, Culture & Collaboration Innovator #Yammer evangelist!

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An interview with Britt Newton by Lesley Crook Yammer adoption consultant, Perspicuity, Microsoft Gold Partner (UK).


#WomenInTech is a key theme at Ignite taking place in Orlando 24-29 Sept with +25k delegates. The blog spotlights outstanding #Yammer #WomenInTech from around the world and how we #WorkOutLoud. Britt is based Ohio, US.


We met preparing #MSIgnite GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Yammer story session, for Ignite, Wednesday 27 Sept. GSK is a customer of Wiretap and we all collaborated on this blog: How does Wiretap's Yammer Retention tool help with regulatory compliance?  I realized immediately Wiretap is a tool of choice for any collaboration network as provides priceless "peace of mind" particularly for highly regulated industries, all the more relevant under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements and deadlines.


I am so looking forward to meeting Britt for the first time at #MSIgnite which kicks off tomorrow. She has the most contagious giggle! Find Britt and the Wiretap team at #MSignite booth 963. Jeff Schumann, CEO is presenting this session.


Tell us a little bit about where you work and your role in the organization. 

Currently, I'm working for Wiretap which is a technology platform that complements collaboration tools to provide more insight and control over who and what is being shared. My role here is to build alliances with partners who have a similar mission as Wiretap is to impact and understand workplace culture. Wiretap can automatically identify and diagnose issues that may be critical to culture based on what is being said and shared through the collaboration tools. I work with several people at Microsoft and we communicate through Yammer rather than through email. External and internal collaboration are a key to culture.


Prior to working for Wiretap, I was responsible for Culture Programs with another technology company and I was manually trying to understand more about what mattered to our employees (Wiretap can help automate this). I worked very closely with the internal communication team to implement ideas, share announcements but MOST IMPORTANTLY, to listen to our employees. In the four years that I was with my previous employer, we had multiple tools we used (some more effectively than others). Yammer was one of the first ones implemented with great success. Something as simple as sharing photos and finding a similar interest can truly change the dynamic in a company. In addition to the elements, there are also SO many ways to use collaboration tools like Yammer and Teams for creating efficiencies, breaking down silos, unifying groups, and improving processes. Communication is critical to building connections within your community of employees.


Part of your role includes driving adoption. How do you approach driving adoption among employees? How do you handle individuals that are especially resistant?

When Wiretap works with customers to address adoption, we can help in a number of ways. Whether it's to provide access to more individuals such as regulated users or in the case of companies with concerns related to security compliance, we are able to help provide additional security to give more people access to collaboration tools. Wiretap helps to give companies the confidence and ability to enable collaboration and do more with it. One of the Wiretap features that can be really powerful is automatically hash-tagging content related to specific topics so that specific teams can discover it and react or potentially even providing answers for FAQs like IT helpdesk questions or HR benefits. From gauging sentiment of messages to providing coaching when certain files are shared that have sensitive information, Wiretap is able to immediately take action.


What I've seen work well at one company may not always work at another company, but I think that it's important to have leaders involved and to continue to listen to employees. I definitely believe in trying new things to see if they stick because you may be surprised what is effective. When I was wearing more of the Culture hat in my previous life, I loved seeing employees share knowledge and information across offices and teams.


Some of the ways that I've seen work well to engage employees on social platforms included reinforcing our company values, recognition efforts, corporate initiatives such as diversity or wellness, polls, philanthropy efforts, photo contests, quote of the day, developing common interest groups, promoting marketing events, celebrations, and many others. Certainly, some of the resistant employees may see some of this as noise unhelpful to follow some etiquette and clean things up a little from time to time to allow people to quickly understand the information that is relevant to their role or company-wide announcements. There are often many resources and ideas that are generated and, ultimately, create a synergy amongst teams that didn't exist before. Social platforms help employees stay aware of trends in the market and industry. Other teams may the platform to troubleshoot situations cross-functionally or to provide product updates. AND, whether you are in sales or not, sharing wins related to customers especially if many people were involved in closing a new deal can be a great way to recognize and celebrate success company-wide.


One of the most interesting things about conversations in collaboration tools, the tone is much more informal and information can be shared very quickly (potentially information that shouldn't be shared to certain audiences). It also gives a platform for everyone to have a voice and this can be very valuable. Even when the tone is negative in conversations, it is an opportunity to find an area to improve. With Wiretap running behind the scenes, companies are able to prevent a PR nightmare as well as understand sentiment of messages posted in your community.


A friend recently told me about a situation that spiraled out of control on their social platform related to their office recycling based on false information or a rumor. She had actually worked really hard to identify a vendor for the recycling program but wasn't aware of this conversation in real-time until the ripple effect had been felt by many people. Fortunately, she was able to quickly share the correct information company-wide to clear up any confusion.


What would you say is your most valuable skill? Why?

I'd say that my most valuable skill is having a positive attitude. Energy is really contagious so I always aim to be a ray of sunshine in someone's day. Social platforms make this even easier to really make a difference on a local level and beyond. I love to think outside of the box and put ideas into action with a glass half full approach.


Can you share a bit about how you see social platforms enhancing productivity and processes? Wiretap works with many organizations of various sizes and industries. Each organization has unique ways that they are leveraging these tools to interact with employees. Some of the ways that I see the tools providing significant value is answering questions and having a transparent way to share that information with a wide audience. This could be relevant for questions that are asked by employees, customers, vendors, etc. Providing employees in the field with resources and answers that can be accessed quickly is one way that I see social platforms increasing efficiency. It also may help with developing training and identifying questions that are important to employees especially during the onboarding process for new employees who may be asking Where do I find... How do I... types of questions in their first few weeks.


Employees define engagement and culture differently but there is no doubt that these tools impact both and that there is immense value in retaining engaged employees.


1 Reply

Huge thanks for this opportunity @Deleted  - tools like Yammer and Teams offer companies a great way to understand and shape their culture.