Stop. Yammer time.

Jul 28, 2017

Taking a look at the top digital workplace priorities, most organizations highlight connections between colleagues as a key consideration. Collaboration, culture and employee experience also landed in the top five priorities. Intranet effectiveness tied with collaboration for the top spot, highlighting the ongoing importance intranets play in internal digital workplace communications.

The 2017 State of the Digital Workplace report, CMS Wire

Most CEOs are now publicly acknowledging the importance of enterprise social in reducing email overload, fostering healthy debate or just building and enriching organisational culture.

But sometimes things can get a little quiet in Yammer land. Perhaps you just launched with great ceremony but after a week… crickets. Maybe there’s a new CEO and no one is sure of the rules. People might just be really busy. Often in times of stress, we retreat to the tools and processes we know best – in many cases – Excel and email. Having just introduced everyone to the collaboration and culture-building advantages of enterprise social, regressing back to departmental silos would be a shame.

Here are some ideas that might get people talking:

1) A fun question from the C-suite: preferably someone senior enough to generate response but not be intimidating. If your CFO is generally considered terrifying, him or her asking for puppy name ideas might not work. “Planning the Christmas party – any theme requests?” “what’s the best local place to take the Hong Kong team for lunch?” “free coffee if you guess how many times I presented to Head Office this week” – keep it light and quick.

2) Give departments a voice: Target questions to certain departments, particularly those that might not often get the spotlight. Ask customer service for the most ridiculous questions they have had this month, ask Helpdesk what needs an upgrade, ask HR for the best (anonymous) “sick note” excuses. As well as feeling acknowledged, front line teams can share some useful and interesting customer interactions this way.

3) Involve people in decisions: Asking employees their thoughts on organisational developments increases engagement and provides useful feedback. An office move, flexible working hours, new company phones, which song the Marketing team has to sing on karaoke night… staff will appreciate the opportunity express their opinions on these things. It goes without saying that this technique must be used carefully – if a decision has already been made, asking for opinion may have negative impacts.

4) A vote: Asking people’s opinions on a set of options often generates greater response than requesting ideas which require a lot more effort. “Which option do you prefer for our new marketing campaign?” “Which charity should we support with this month’s sausage sizzle?” “HR will fill the lolly jar on Friday – vote for your favourite”

5) A competition: make it work-related or just a fun distraction. Again, if the aim is participation, don’t make it too difficult or you risk scaring people off – remember, Yammer is public and therefore risky especially for introverts. Ask for the best idea to save paper in the office, place some magnet words on the fridge and ask for a photo of the best 5-word sentence, a scavenger hunt or a rubber band archery tournament.

Just as there is often a natural lull in the conversation at the dinner table, a bit of ebb and flow can be expected on enterprise social. It’s a means, not an end, so don’t panic if the lively banter or thoughtful problem solving is intermittent. As long as users are having positive experiences and relying less on email, Yammer is doing its job and your intranet is contributing to organisational health and happiness.

To get your staff and colleagues involved, it’s a good idea to feature a Yammer feed in your intranet home page, providing dynamic, engaging content and exposing users to conversations every time they log in. If your intranet is more like a car park than an information superhighway, give us a call.

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