Stimulate online conversations

Employee communications channels

Yammer

Purpose Typical audience Pros Cons Can you do it yourself? Thinking points
Just the channel for stimulating instant, two-way communication  Mainly officer workers   Free, secure, fast – and available to all Generally not used by production workers, English-language only Yes This channel works best as a two-way medium, to spark discussion, debate and feedback 

What is this channel?

Yammer is our internal social media platform offering an easy way to engage with colleagues and receive bottom-up insights and views. It’s available to all DSM employees, on any device and it’s DSM-secure (contrary to WhatsApp, for example). Yammer is a great tool if you use it for its intended purpose, - to stimulate online conversations (rather than sending content only). You can ask for views, feedback, share best practices and respond to questions from others.

What and when is it typically used?

Think about your audience; can you share your messages properly and reach them via this channel? Check out the comparison notes below and weigh your pros versus cons. This will help you decide how to spend your time/ money for the best result.

Benefits

  1. It’s secure.
  2. Accessible to all DSM employees.
  3. Available on mobile phone via an app.
  4. A great way to build virtual networks.
  5. An ‘announcement’ message can reach many people, quickly.
  6. Powerful if you give it a clear objective in your communication mix.
  7. Low-threshold: easy to get employees and leaders connected.
  8. You can raise a question and obtain a fast answer directly below your post.
  9. You can easily see how much a message has been viewed. 

Challenges

  1. Messages are mostly in English.
  2. Mostly used by office workers.
  3. Lack of adoption by your audience is the biggest risk (you need to introduce Yammer to new joiners).
  4. Not all DSM colleagues check Yammer daily.
  5. Too many Yammer announcements.  
  6. Avoid turning it into another broadcasting channel; instead use it to drive a dialogue.

How to use this channel

Posting and responding to messages: It’s pretty straightforward:

  • Check which Yammer group is most relevant for your post.
  • Develop your message post. The shorter the better. If you have lots of information, link through to a site where users can find out more; or attach a document as a download.
  • Post the message and check for responses to your post.
  • Spice it up by adding a catchy visual, video, or gif that fits your message. 

Starting a Yammer group

  • Start by asking the question: do I really need to start a new group?
  • Do you need a separate group or could you maybe hold your online discussions in an existing group, perhaps by using a #? Check what’s out there already and contact the respective Yammer group administrators.
  • What’s the purpose of your group? Clarify this in your mind and with your team before getting started. Here are just a few reasons to start a group:
    • A help-desk function, that people can use for question & answers on particular topics.  (Example: Microsoft 365).
    • Connecting global functional teams to boost group engagement (eg, the Finance team).
    • Create conversation on specific topics (people matters, Sustainability, Powered by Digital).
  • Ensure you have (a few) Yammer ambassadors. Kick off with a few Yammer and topic enthusiasts and give them a monitoring responsibility.
    • Ensure you send periodic posts - and dialogue triggers. And always (always, always) respond to posts from your colleagues within a day. It makes them feel seen/heard – and likely triggers yet more conversation!
    • If you start a Yammer group to answer questions on a topic, ensure you have knowledgeable colleagues on-hand to monitor responses and either answer them or forward them to someone who can.
    • Leadership commitment tends to give things a good boost! It can trigger wider participation and help validate your efforts.

Posting an announcement message in your group, or the All-DSM group

Use the announcement function to ensure that everyone in your Yammer group receives an alert in their Yammer inbox (for some, even in their Outlook inbox).

  • If you’re the group administrator, you can do this via the icon with a blue circle and white star.  It’s a great way to make a splash…just don’t overdo it.
  • If you are not an administrator, find out who is - and ask if they can post on your behalf or make you an admin.
  • DSM’s All Company group also has an announcement function. We advise you to ask one of our senior leaders to post – preferably with a connection to the topic. If that leader doesn’t have announcement rights yet, simply check with a DSM communication colleague from CoE to help you out.

Things to keep in mind

  • Keep your posts short and sweet!
  • Visual content is key.
  • Think about the audience you want to reach and choose the most appropriate group or groups to post in.
  • Tip: if you plan on ‘Yamming’ a lot, create a Yammer test group with yourself as a member. It will give you a safe place to experiment with possible posts and how hyperlinking works. Try out your posts here until you’re ready to go public.

KPIs for this channel

How will you know ‘what success looks like’? Measuring the response to this channel /tool could give you a better understanding of whether you’ve reached your communication objective. KPIs can be qualitative or quantitative. Here are some ideas:

  • You can see how many times your message has been viewed. This means it showed up in a recipients’ timeline, but it doesn’t tell you if they understood or liked it!
  • How many people commented? A comment, whether positive or negative = engagement with your topic.
  • How many people shared the post? This is usually a positive.
  • You can also check the success per Yammer group: go to ‘about’, see ‘more’, and you’ll find some interesting analytics. For example, you can get an overview of member-and non-members’ impressions – to see if the message got visibility among non-members home feeds.

Final thoughts

If this a stand-alone initiative, then go ahead! However, if this is part of a wider initiative, you might want to take a step back and look at the broader communications perspective. A good starting point is our 9-step approach to creating your communication plan - which includes an overview of all the internal channels and tools.

Read more

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