Yammer for crisis support. Office 365 adoption route #2

By Linda Parkinson-Hardman on

Yammer for crisis support. Office 365 adoption route #2

It might be fair to say that most people who work get far more out of it than just the pay cheque. A large part of our work-life is made up of the many social interactions we have with colleagues. Banter in the office or on the shop-floor, coffee in the canteen, catch-ups at the water-cooler and in the corridor as we say hello and goodbye; and our friendship groups and shared hobbies all provide us with relief from the working day and a way of connecting with other people. Undoubtedly, the current coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdowns will have thrown this often misunderstood aspect of work/life balance into very sharp relief for many, especially if we are also one of the 7.7 million people who live alone in the UK. (ONS: The cost of living alone) The effect of isolation on the elderly is already a well-acknowledged fact and there are many voluntary and community initiatives that help address it. But for those of us of working age, the daily contact we have with other people through our work may be the only time some of us speak to another person. And study after study also points to the positive impact that work can have on our mental well-being (work-induced stress aside!). So, in the current crisis, how can a company respond to continue to support its employee’s and help them maintain that sense of social connection? Image: Yammer conversation lady sat on floor in bedroom on laptop One way is by using Yammer, the internal social network that comes with Office 365.

Yammer. Why it’s my favourite

Before I carry on though, I must put my hand up and say that Yammer is, without doubt, my all-time favourite Office 365 application. This is for many reasons but it’s mostly because of its ability to democratise an organisation and give everyone, regardless of who they are or the position they hold, a voice. Being able to say something that resonates with one or many other people is a powerful tool supporting change, and it matters more than ever today. Yammer gives every participant a way of sharing their concerns, asking for help or providing support to others. It also gives them the chance to create groups around topics that interest them, knit and natter anyone? But perhaps it’s biggest advantage at a time of crisis such as this is in its ability to reach into the heart of every organisational community. With posts from the Chief Exec and all-hands company meetings, it’s never been easier to make sure the community that is your company stays intact.

Yammer. Setting up a network

Setting up a Yammer network is relatively simple if you already have an Office 365 tenancy. Just turn it on, appoint some admins and you’re away. But there are a few points you might like to think about to make sure it works and doesn’t become a burden. 1. Decide who ‘owns’ Yammer. Ideally, it should be overseen by a team like Internal Comms or HR who have a vested interest in managing communications across the organisation. 2. Once you’ve decided who owns it, engage with them to make sure they a. want it and b. have some resource to support it. 3. Prepare your ownership team for the work they need to do. Setting up Yammer is not a ‘field of dreams’, just because you enable it doesn’t mean staff will use it. Like everything in life they need a good reason to do so and it’s up to your owner group to decide what that good reason is. 4. As a minimum, you will need one or two Yammer administrators. One from IT who oversees the technical side of things, and one from the owner group who will look after the community. 5. There are two types of groups created in a Yammer network, those that are hosted solely with Yammer and those that are Office 365 connected groups. Whether your Yammer users can create an Office 365 group depends on the governance you’ve set up for Groups Creation. The functionality is not the same for each type of group and it’s better to know what you want before you decide what people can or cannot do. To be sure of what you want a conversation with your owner team would be a good idea to clarify what they see as the primary use of Yammer. 6. Create an acceptable use policy to help guide your staff towards expected behaviour in the network. If possible, back this up with your broader organisational social media policies. An example policy can be found at Microsoft. 7. Finally, think about setting up some initial groups to get started. For example, you might set up a COVID-19 group where people can get the latest company focused information and announcements just in case they miss that essential email from the CEO. Setting up Yammer is easy, using Yammer is easy, making it into a vibrant, engaging and sustainable supportive environment takes time and effort.

How can we help?

And, if Yammer is where you want your organisation to start why not get in touch and we can talk you through getting started and give you loads of ideas about how to create your own ‘field of dreams’. At Silversands we have a dedicated Adoption and Change Management Practice which follows the Proscii methodology promoted by Microsoft. We are prolific bloggers and run regular events that you may be interested in as well.

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