For months, and possibly years, corporate communications professionals the world over have been trying to convince their leaders of the benefits of Yammer.
Claims of improved staff engagement and promises of real-time, two-way communication have always been offered and backed up by case studies and hard data, but not every leader has seen the benefits of the enterprise social network. At least not until now.
In March 2020 we find ourselves in a very different world, very different in fact to how it looked a month ago. In the UK alone, millions of people are now working from home in a bid to contain COVID-19, using technologies like Teams and Zoom to connect with their colleagues and customers. Technology many of whom hadn’t even heard of a month ago, let alone used.
And that’s great, the speed of change has astounded us, as has the ongoing impressive nature by which people survive and thrive. The important question we all need to answer now is, how do we maintain our culture, nurture our organisations and look after our people in this new way of working?
Enter Yammer stage left. According to Microsoft’s marketing department 2020 is #yearofyammer, and the clairvoyant marketeers of Microsoft seem to have got that right.
Here are five reasons why I think leaders need to take a refreshed look at Yammer to support their teams during, and after, the COVID-19 crisis.
1.Helping people feel less isolated, and part of a team
More than ever, your team is going to be relying on you to support them through these unprecedented times. For some, work and the daily interactions with their colleagues will be a welcome relief to the realities of the world. For others, this may be the only socialising they get.
As a responsible employer, putting measures in place like Yammer could help people feel connected to their colleagues, overcome some of the issues of isolation and loneliness, and help them see some of the more positive things in the world. A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say, and Yammer may just enable this for some.
2. Working as a team in a crisis
Your Yammer community could provide a place for your team members to come together and look after one another. During Hurricane Irma, the Johnson & Johnson family rallied on Yammer to support their colleagues who were displaced or made homeless by the hurricane, and used the platform to find them temporary accommodation and support.
You could use Yammer as a way of checking in on people who are experiencing health issues or need to self-isolate. Knowing they have a group of friends and a supportive employer around them can really help people in a crisis.
3. Being a visible leader
If you’re the kind of leader who walks the floors, meets with team members face to face, and enjoys interacting with your people, Yammer is going to help you do some of this virtually.
You’ll be able to start threads with your thoughts and ideas, and invite others to chip in. You can also record short videos and make them available (with captions and in many languages) to colleagues within minutes. You can even hold real-time YamJams or Q&A sessions in text or video chat.
Working remotely shouldn’t mean that you have be a remote leader, and Yammer really has some great tools to support you to be the visible leader you are.
4. Provide a space for your people to creatively solve problems
Necessity is the root of all invention so they say, and a crisis certainly helps to get the creative juices flowing. Yammer is the perfect platform for people to test an idea or crowdsource a solution to a problem they may be experiencing. This could be anything from “how can I get my IT to work better from home” through to “I’ve had an idea about how we can support our customers in a new and interesting way”.
Empower your staff with the tools, and they will reward you with innovative thinking and collaboration.
5. Keeping your culture in good health
You’ve no doubt spent many hours discussing and considering the culture of your organisation. So how are you going to maintain it and keep supporting it while you’re all remote working.
Symbols and codes are a big part of culture, and Yammer gives you a chance to showcase what’s important to your organisation by feeding that culture in real-time. Whether its via sharing recipes, taking an online workout class together or adding to a thread detailing what you’re grateful for, your culture can develop and grow with everyone feeding into it through Yammer.
This is also going to be a really helpful resource to anyone who’s new to the company or who joins in the coming weeks. As the usual onboarding processes won’t apply, you’ll have to consider how you do this and how they get to know what it feels like to work there. Yammer will help you do this.
So what do you think? Is 2020 the #yearofyammer in your organisation? Let us know if we can help.
By Danielle Phillips Changing Social O365 Adoption Specialist