Yammer is the tool that reflects the culture of RACQ, a member organisation providing roadside assistance, insurance, banking and more to the people of Queensland, in north eastern Australia.
RACQ’s purpose is to help members and that culture of helping and supporting is reflected every day on the organisation’s Yammer network.
Take for example when Lauren, a RACQ Bank branch manager, realised it was her colleague Trina’s 15th work anniversary. They began a #15DaysofTrina campaign on Yammer, with a post for the next 15 days celebrating this much-loved team member. It allowed everyone in the company to write a message of thanks to Trina for her service over the past 15 years.
“There is a lot of celebration like the #15DaysofTrina,” said RACQ’s Internal Communications Advisor Bernadette Moulder.
“And it’s led from the frontline. The most prolific users on Yammer are our frontline. As a celebratory tool, Yammer has been amazing.”
The state of Queensland is seven times the size of Great Britain and two and a half times the size of the US state of Texas.
RACQ shopfronts and offices are spread across the state, thousands of kilometres apart.
With Yammer, the barriers from the geographical divide are broken.
“It gives someone who is based in Rockhampton, hundreds of kilometres north of our head office, the opportunity to be heard by the leaders, but it also gives those leaders the opportunity to hear about some of the issues regionally that otherwise they might not be exposed to,” Bernadette said.
“Someone from a regional area feels like they are really being heard. They’ve been sitting on something and they’ve really wanted the opportunity to share it and Yammer has created that opportunity that otherwise wasn’t there.”
Given customer-facing employees are the biggest users of Yammer at RACQ, Bernadette sees the opportunity to better tap into that knowledge to share with the rest of the business.
Looking ahead, Bernadette wants Yammer to be used for more strategic conversations, where problems can be solved and knowledge can be shared – a move up the Enterprise Social Network maturity model.
“I would like to see more accessing of the subject matter experts,” she said.
“We do have pockets of excellence that do that, but I think that’s really where we could up our game.
“The difficult questions that are operational or strategic, that is where I think it can go next level for Yammer and it connects that whole working out loud idea – this is where we’ve made a mistake, this is a project that didn’t work and this is what we did.
“On the celebratory, cultural affirmation side of things, we do a beautiful job with Yammer. That’s the foundation of RACQ.
“Yammer is wonderfully reflective of that because it’s a very proud culture at RACQ and Yammer reflects that.”
While RACQ was among the top three performers in SWOOP’s 2019 Global Benchmarking of Yammer networks, the world’s largest analysis of Yammer communities, data from SWOOP shows the organisation still has room to improve.
“Having access to a tool like SWOOP has helped immeasurably so that we can measure, we can show people numbers,” Bernadette said.
“The analytics help us point to the best practices within our community and the type of content that gets results. We can then share that information with the rest of the business so we’re constantly harnessing those opportunities.”
RACQ’s Yammer journey
RACQ implemented Yammer in 2015, simply because it was a part of Microsoft’s O365 suite and some staff members began using it.
“It grew organically, initially, because people were discovering it, and having a play with it,” said RACQ Internal Communications Advisor, Andrew van der Beek.
“There was no real structured approach as to how it was used to begin with.”
The Internal Communications team recognised an opportunity to develop a structure around Yammer to connect RACQ’s geographically dispersed people.
In 2018, Andrew and his team wrote a strategy for Yammer, which included measuring the impact of Yammer with SWOOP, with a focus on how to get different parts of the organisation talking to each other, how to grow and enhance communication and share best practice.
The new strategy kicked off with a “Yampion” network – about a dozen people identified by SWOOP as influential on the Yammer network, across different parts of the business.
“They were demonstrating a really strong understanding and usage of Yammer already and we positioned them as people that others, who were just dipping their toe into Yammer, could go to for advice and guidance about how to launch themselves into this environment,” Andrew said.
“People spend far too much time being concerned about their grammar and how articulate their post is rather than just getting in there and having a go at starting conversations.
“Increasingly we’re seeing people just having more confidence to engage and ask questions and put ideas out there and see what people come back with.”
The power of the #
Bernadette’s advice to any internal communications manager is not to underestimate the power of the hashtag, especially when it can be easily monitored with SWOOP.
“Sometimes as internal communicators you can feel a bit pretentious hashtagging everything but it’s a really good way for people to remember it and to track it,” she said.
They track the hashtags with SWOOP and create monthly reports which are shared with RACQ’s executives to show what people are talking about.
Moving along SWOOP’s maturity model, Bernadette and Andrew plan to target RACQ’s executives to better engage on Yammer.
“We’ve identified for us the low hanging fruit is getting our senior leaders embracing Yammer the same way they have embraced email,” Bernadette said.
“That’s a journey and we’re not going to get there straight away but having the power of data to show the engagement is essential.
“SWOOP really helps with that, reporting on that kind of stuff and I think there’s more we can do to use that data to get the most out of Yammer.”
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