Fast Food for Thought

When I applied for a job at my local KFC at the age of 14, I would never have thought it would result in a 10-year career journey including having the opportunity work in head office as KFC’s Internal Marketing Officer. My first memories of Yammer were in the form of an incredible campaign launch music video sung to the tune of MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This”. The chorus is still stuck in the minds of KFC employees around Australia; “Stop … Yammertime!” The rest is history.   


KFC launched its Yammer network for all field employees in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since. Fast forward to today and the network now boasts a membership of more than 30,000 users and is achieving more than 40% active users every month. Check out the SWOOP case study for more insights.  

Emily O’Brien, right, with some of her in-store team at KFC.

The KFC Internal Marketing Officer role is rotated every 12 months by selecting a team member from store to manage the Yammer community. Yes, prior to being the KFC Internal Marketing Officer, I was an employee on the frontline; a Shift Supervisor in a store on the New South Wales Central Coast of Australia managing a crew of 60 14-18-year-old employees. I was first introduced to SWOOP in-store, wanting to learn more about the way my team and I interacted on the network.  

Engagement doesn’t happen overnight  

When you have 30K+ employees on a network, the idea of onboarding and training team members on how to use the platform can seem daunting. We could easily capture the team members at launch, but how do you keep the momentum going as new team members begin their employment? Training became a part of team member onboarding and orientation sessions which are conducted by managers at store level.  

As we began rolling out SWOOP, we took advantage of existing forums to educate management teams on how to use the platform and what insights could be uncovered. Each time I introduced SWOOP to a manager or area coach, they were blown away by the insights available at the click of a button. Even younger team members who were enthusiastic Yammer users – or “Yampions” – would consult their SWOOP personas and store statistics.  

Field use of SWOOP 

As the Yammer network grew, visibility of collaboration insights became increasingly important to Restaurant Managers and Above Store Leaders. Being able to see the level of interaction with specific campaigns, recognise the most engaged team members and to communicate with teams all over Australia was adding value to the experience of working at KFC. The recognition culture at KFC is second to none and Yammer was another platform we could use to shine a spotlight on our employees. Area Coaches and Restaurant Managers use SWOOP as a way of understanding how their teams were interacting and who they were interacting with and they used it to drive increased engagement by sharing statistics and insights. 

A screenshot of KFC’s SWOOP dashboard.

I have two words for you; leader boards. Attending Area Coach and franchisee meetings revealed the true power of Yammer and SWOOP for me. Building some suspense and friendly competition between attendees, I would reveal the engagement rankings of each Above Store Leader and their respective areas. The cheering and banter between everyone in the room showcased just how ingrained Yammer was as a part of our culture and how passionate people were about spreading this message in store.  

Some Zinging Advice 

Always keep purpose in mind when posting 

It is so important to outline a clear purpose when getting started on Yammer. What do you want your team to use the network for? This can make those first few interactions for a new team member less daunting if they know they’re ‘doing Yammer right.’ For KFC, it was all about having fun and drawing on the shared experience of working at KFC. 

A post on KFC’s Yammer network.

Before clicking the “post” button, I would always ask myself; “If I saw this post in my feed, would I feel compelled to engage?” If the answer was no, then I would readjust the copy or consider if it even belonged on the network. Sometimes adding a question to the end of a post was the difference between an influx of comments/likes or the post getting lost in the noise of the feed. 

Know your audience 

KFC has a very different audience to most ESNs. We’re talking about the Gen Ys and Zs who actively juggle a multitude of social networking platforms they prioritise and consume content on every day. Keeping content fresh and relevant was key to have it make an impact. Think memes, gifs, referencing trending content likely to be seen on the audience’s personal social channels; we’re talking references to dabbing, Kylie Jenner and Fortnite. The content and tone needed to be authentically ‘cool’ but not as though someone from head office is trying to sound ‘cool’.  

Without analytics, what’s the point? 

As the KFC Yammer network grew, we saw the need to crunch the numbers. What campaigns were working? What wasn’t working? What are our people talking about? Who are our network’s top influencers? This is where SWOOP helped us take our network to the next level. SWOOP especially changed the game when it came to monthly reporting and generating buzz and buy-in from the leadership team.  

Had I Only Known! 

As I’ve immersed myself in the world of SWOOP over the past few weeks, I’ve had many moments when I’ve thought; “had I only known!”  

  • SWOOP users will know, everyone has a favourite widget. These are the widgets you tend to check every day and it becomes a part of your routine. With that in mind, I realised I had developed a blindness for some of the insightful statistics that were available at my fingertips throughout my role. After reading the SWOOP E-book, my eyes were opened to the value that so many of the widgets provided. 
  • SWOOP case studies are gold. SWOOP provides a community in itself for knowledge sharing from some of the most engaged Yammer networks around the world. Perusing these case studies, I learned so much about the value of collaboration insights to companies in a vast spectrum of industries.  
  • There’s a science behind it all. I still have so much more to learn when it comes to digital teams and collaboration. I thought I knew almost everything there was to know about the daily operation of an ESN until I caught up with SWOOP co-founder, Dr Laurence Lock Lee to talk about Social Network Analysis. Going through SWOOP Benchmarking Reports also proved to be an insightful exercise. 

Now my role is to help you with your Yammer, Workplace or Microsoft Teams journey and show you how to measure what’s working in your online community. 

Please contact me in our Yammer or Workplace user groups or via email at 

Emily O’Brien, Customer Success Manager APAC – SWOOP Analytics 


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