Today’s post comes courtesy of Roger Francis, MindLeaders services and HR director, who’s been yammering and rather likes it.
Oh no, I hear you say, not another social network! Well, in fact Yammer has been around for nearly four years and whilst its user base may be tiny (4 million), compared with the big boys, its growth has trebled in the last three years. The reason you may not have heard about Yammer is that it is a private as opposed to public networking site. Membership is open only to the employees of an individual company and as such, its value proposition is very different to the public networks.
At MindLeaders we are constantly searching for new ways to engage our people as we recognise the strong relationship between engaged employees and satisfied customers. As such, we became one of the 200,000 companies in 16 countries to open a Yammer network several months ago. It is only within the last few weeks that has it started to catch on and our people began to understand how they could use the platform to share information, communicate, collaborate and learn. We have deliberately kept Yammer low key – no big launch event, no dictates to join and contribute. Instead, we have let the network spread by word of mouth. We want it to become part of our culture, not an additional task on the To Do list.
To date, we have been delighted with the results. Nearly 70% of our people have joined our Yammer network in the last six weeks. We expect the vast majority of our company to be on board by the end of the month and usage is rising daily. Here is one small example of how Yammer is adding value. One of our managers wanted to know about the “70:20:10 Framework for learning”. She posted the question on Yammer and within an hour answers had come back from different corners of our global business. Problem solved. And of course, it also meant that everyone else on the network gained the information – a genuine example of Social Learning in action.
We also use Yammer to share success stories, post hints and tips and as a short-term knowledge storage site. We can of course also discuss things on Yammer which we wouldn’t necessarily want to share with our competitors. Finally , the rate of information flow has increased dramatically. Information which previously took time to filter out through the organisation (and occasionally did not arrive at all), is now available immediately to everyone.
Not surprisingly, Yammer is particularly popular with our field-based people who now don’t feel that they are working on their own and as such are brought much closer to the heart of the business. Of course, Yammer won’t replace emails when communicating on a one-to-one basis but we do expect it to reduce the overall levels of email traffic. For example, have you ever sent out an email to a group of 10 people asking for input and feedback and got 10 different replies thereby starting 10 different threads? That’s no longer necessary with Yammer.
It’s still very early days and we are still learning how to gain maximum benefit from the network. However, we think we may have found a powerful collaboration tool and certainly at the moment we are very much “Enamoured with Yammer.”