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Knowledge Workers: How Yammer is Changing your Role in Corporate Culture

By:Christine Fettinger

As Microsoft launches full integration of Yammer into its multi-billion dollar Office 365 success story, you need to sit up and take notice.

Yammer

Let me start by telling you what Yammer is not:

  • Yammer is not Facebook for companies. While there are visual similarities in features, the goals and processes driving Yammer are vastly different.

  • Yammer is not helpful for a company where everyone works in the same room. If your marketing department can brainstorm with engineering without actually standing up, Yammer may not be for you.

  • Yammer will not solve your document sharing needs. Let’s be clear, this is not a replacement for SharePoint.

Now let’s jump into what Yammer actually is, and how it may impact your work:

For Employees, Yammer is:

  • Your opportunity to shape corporate culture in ways you never could before.

  • Your way to bring attention to issues that affect your ability to succeed in your job.

  • Your insight into the concerns of other departments, giving you the opportunity to add value to the firm.

  • Your automatic email inbox clean up – rather than 100’s of emails to wade through conversations are sorted organically by issue, department, goal, etc.

For Employers, Yammer is:

  • Your window into what is happening in your company from the ground up.

  • Your channel to reach out and respond to employee and customer concerns without clunky emails or memos.

  • Your instrument for getting new employees up to speed and immersed in the organization’s culture.

Yammer is a private online network that allows businesses to become more agile and encourages employees to engage, collaborate, and innovate.

Employees and employers can form groups and coordinate through message boards, newsfeeds, and private communication.

For more information about the layout of Yammer, visit my previous blog post “What is Yammer?”
on Seattle IT services Office 365 Advisors’ site.

What does this look like? An example:

Imagine a Seattle-based company that sells soft drinks across the United States implements Yammer. The company just launched a new product, and has distributed it to retailers. Yammer was used by this company in the following ways:

  • An employee in Salt Lake City notices that the design of the bottles makes them prone to breaking. The employee posts about this problem on Yammer.

  • Several other employees see this post and agree, giving more detail to the post.

  • The product executive sees the post, and immediately begins working on a design solution with the product development team.

Within a few hours, the problem first noted in Salt Lake is on its way to being solved by the design team in Seattle, increasing business for the company across the United States!

Innovation, collaboration, and teamwork, oh my!

Logging in to Yammer, you might find the similarities between it and Facebook striking. Of course, unlike your personal Facebook page, you probably will not be using this platform to stalk your friends and post videos of cats. So what can you use Yammer for?

  • Inviting Innovation:

    Ever sought advice from Facebook? This usually results in a mixed bag of comments – some unhelpful, some simply random, and that one or two truly useful ideas that you would not have thought of otherwise.

    This type of innovation and new perspective generation is at the heart of what makes Yammer useful for businesses. Yammer lets you take the same crowdsourcing principle of posting a question on Facebook and applies it to your business as it encounters day-to-day issues.

  • Increasing Internal Connectivity:

    Social media is great for keeping people connected, and with platforms like Facebook I can stay in touch with friends and family around the world.

    Yammer does the same thing, but on a business level. Many organizations are becoming more spread out and departments or branches become disconnected from the company as a whole. This means that company culture can become fragmented, ideas generated in one branch may not reach another, and the driving company message can be lost!

    Yammer breaks down those geographical barriers by inviting all members of an organization to communicate freely on a shared platform. This means a shared company culture, higher moral, and a unified message to customers and employees.

  • Increasing Communication Efficiency:

    Let’s face it, all of us get a few too many emails. Think about all the time you spend each day going through and deleting emails that you don’t really need. Sorting through company-wide emails can be tedious and inefficient, and you can lose important messages in the clutter.

    Yammer helps significantly reduce this issue moving more general communication to Yammer newsfeeds and groups. Rather than sending out a company-wide email blast, employees can post to the general Yammer community, or to specific interest groups!

  • Planning Events:

    Coordinating schedules and planning shared events is always a hassle. Yammer has several functions such including customizable poles that make planning a company or department event significantly easier.

    We used this function recently to plan an upcoming company event. Would a bunch of Seattle IT consulting guys rather have a company BBQ, an Early Thanksgiving Party, or go Paintballing? Paintballing, of course, winning the pole by 75%!

  • New Hires:

    Getting someone new immersed and up to speed can take a significant amount of time and energy. Yammer can ease some of that burden by immersing a new hire in the company culture right of the bat.

So even though Yammer looks like your personal Facebook, it clearly does so much more. More than just an instant message service or even a document sharing program, Yammer allows your employees to connect on a level that promotes increased innovation, higher moral, and through this higher customer satisfaction.

CyberStreams Inc. is a Microsoft Certified Partner and has extensive experience helping employees move to Office 365 and find IT solutions that work for them. For more information on Yammer, Office 365 migrations and sales, and Seattle IT Consulting, contact us today!