Tips for Yammer success from the world’s best

At SWOOP weve had the privilege of working with hundreds of Yammer networks from around the world. Were constantly learning from every community  what works, what good looks like, how leaders are engaging employees, how to break down organisational hierarchies and what doesnt work. 

Weve recently launched SWOOPs 2019 Global Yammer Benchmarking Report where we examined the collaboration behaviours of 98 organisations worldwide, representing more than 15 million Yammer interactions from 1.8 million people over a six-month period. 

The data provides incredible insights into how Yammer communities are operating and we can clearly see which networks are achieving the best collaboration.  

Weve honoured these collaboration champions with a SWOOP Award for Outstanding Collaboration. These world-leading networks were generous enough to share their best practices in case studies in the full report. Speaking with the leaders to hear their storiescommon themes emerged. 

Weve put together a list of seven tips from these leading networks, which we hope can help other Yammer community managers and facilitators improve their collaboration behaviours.

1. Get executive backing for Yammer  make sure posts from leaders are authentic and leaders listen and respond to employees. 

ANZ Bank says its more than just getting executives posting on Yammer, they also need to listen to employees. 

More important than posting, is listening. Leaders can only listen effectively if they do it themselves, said ANZ Banks Social Business Development Manager, Ryan Crocker. 

Leaders need to listen and look at what people are talking about. If they dont take the time to listen first, its kind of like rocking up to a party two hours late, walking up to a group of people talking about the latest Netflix drama and chiming in with a story about your cats new pyjamas. 

Thats not exactly engaging. 

ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott made a spontaneous post asking for ideas during a leadership conference where they were talking about sustainability.

RACQ, a member organisation providing roadside assistance, insurance, banking and more, says having executives on Yammer means barriers caused by geography 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, said RACQs Internal Communications Advisor Bernadette Moulder. 

Someone from a regional area feels like they are really being heard. 

Measure the engagement levels of executives by checking their SWOOP Personas. 

2. Keep employees engaged by keeping Yammer fun and relevant  

Francesca Guidi, Internal Marketing Officer, KFC Australia.

KFC Australias Internal Marketing Officer, Francesca Guidi, says she finds something interesting to link with every post, regardless of the content and especially if it’s a topic most people would usually ignore. 

People are not going to go on Yammer if its all heavy and long articles and long videos. We still do have to post stuff on our network that is a bit heavy  but I try and word it in a way that has a reference to something fun or has an image that captures our eye, Francesca said. 

You can still have the serious posts but you can spin it in a way that makes it more appealing to the audience. 

How to measure with SWOOP: Reduce the % Broadcasters, Replies/Post, % Recognition. 

3. Bring your whole self to work, and to Yammer 

Australian bank Bankwest and Chaucer, a global digital transformation consultancy, encourage employees to bring their whole selves to work and they want Yammer to be a reflection of that. 

If its happening the real world, bring it to Yammer. 

If youre doing something in the real world, let it manifest on Yammer as well because it creates that environment that we are a company where we understand how valuable applying our knowledge is and we have a community where you can feel comfortable to participate, said Chaucers Knowledge Manager, Sarah Parry. 

A post on Chaucer’s Yammer network about walking the distance from the UK to the US, bridging the gap across the Atlantic and helping US and UK colleagues feel part of one team.

Bankwest has always encouraged employees to be open on Yammer, to bring their whole selves to work, whether its to do with mental health issues or your favourite restaurant. In six years, BankwestSenior Manager Digital Channels, Matt Dodd has had to remove only two posts from the network. 

Thats because we trust people to do the right thing, he said. 

By trying to create that safe space for these things to happen we have a lot more visibility. 

If people have an issue they air on Yammer, this safe space gives leaders the ability to address that concern. 

We can listen, we can see, we can do something about it, Matt said. 

How to measure with SWOOP: % Participation, % Two-Way, % Recognition, Diversity, Curiosity. 

4. Use analytics to grow the network and make SWOOP accessible across the organisation 

KFC uses SWOOP every day to track the health of its Yammer network, discover the most engaging post of the day/week/month, and to benchmark every store to see exactly which stores may need coaching to become more collaborative. 

Francesca has developed a Colonel Points initiative based off SWOOP data where individuals and teams within stores are given points for their interaction on Yammer. She uses SWOOP to benchmark stores to see their levels of collaboration, not just how much they post and like, but how they are interacting. 

KFC’s “Colonel Points” table built from SWOOP data.

I want to celebrate the people who are working towards bettering their Yammer and themselves and their culture, Francesca said. 

At Australias largest health insurer MedibankEmployee Communications Adviser Bailey Cunningham recently encouraged the 130 people in Medibanks People & Culture Yammer group to access SWOOP to view their own online behaviours. 

People were really interested to see what their persona was and we got lots of responses from people saying; Oh, it looks like I need to reply or like more, or I need to ask more questions, she said. 

They now plan on making SWOOP accessible to more people to allow them to understand their engagement style. 

ANZ Bank says analytics from SWOOP are vital in encouraging the right behaviours on its Yammer network. 

Ryan Crocker, Social Business Development Manager, ANZ.

I think I could go a day without having access to email but I dont think I could go a day without having access to SWOOP, Ryan said. 

It takes all the guess work out and its so powerful. 

Ryan said it can be nerve-wracking heading into a stakeholder meeting knowing you have to challenge and influence key people but armed with data from SWOOP, there is no opposition. 

The data actually tells that story rather than you having to present that as your own judgment, Ryan said. 

People cant argue with that. 

Pete Johns, Digital Employee Experience Manager, NRMA.

The NRMAs Digital Employee Experience Manager, Pete Johns, uses SWOOPs benchmarking tool to bring up a table with all leaders in a team or division to show their online personas. 

Pete will put the benchmarking table on a large screen for all to see so they can compare and learn from their online interactions and behaviours. 

Its not about saying; Whos doing the best? treating it as a scoreboard. Its about saying; How can you tweak your behaviour to drive more engaging action and more engaging activity?, he said. 

How to measure with SWOOP: Allow all employees access to their personal tab. 

5. Use Yammer Champions to grow the network 

RACQ kicked off a new Yammer strategy last year 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, said RACQ Internal Communications Advisor, Andrew van der Beek. 

These Yampions were encouraged to start conversations and draw others in and Andrew says its resulted in people having more confidence to engage and ask questions. 

KFC has more than 500 Yammer captains spread across its stores to help with Yammer support, communicationfrequently asked questions or troubleshooting.  

Its people in store who will lead Yammer from the forefront, increase engagement, increase participation, basically increase communication around Yammer in store, Francesca said. 

How to measure with SWOOP: Group Tab Measures. 

6. Engage frontline workers to problem solve 

Its taken years to get this point but at Bankwest employees will now naturally post on Yammer, its the normal place where conversation happens and people engage. Its resulted in customers avoiding internet scams because frontline workers have posted details of encounters on Yammer and customers receiving a better service. 

We want to know what they (frontline workers) have got to say and weve got some great examples of how people have dealt with customer issues – theyre sharing their own best practice, Matt said. 

A post on Bankwest’s Yammer network from a frontline employee about an internet scam.

Medibank is soon holding a Hackathon on Yammer where employees, especially those on the frontline, are asked to submit ideas and solve problems to improve the quality of life for employees, customers and the community. 

Global publishing company Wiley can immediately point to examples where it has saved money and time as a direct result of engaging all employees on Yammer. 

An employee posted on Yammer that they had a voicemail they needed to listen to from an editor. But the voicemail was in Korean and the recipient didnt speak Korean. Can anyone help? 

Another employee, in another office, saw the post and while they couldnt speak Korean either, they knew someone who could. The Korean speaker was tagged into the post and replied that they could translate the message. 

Instead of spending time to find a translator, and money to pay for a translator, the entire problem was solved internally on Wileys Yammer network, resulting in a quicker, free and more productive outcome. 

How to measure with SWOOP: Activity/Users, % Two-Way, % Recognition. 

7. The power of the # 

The advice to any internal communications manager from RACQs Bernadette 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 its 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 RACQs executives to show what people are talking about. 

The NSW Department of Customer Service kicked started its Yammer campaign with a #thanks campaign. Senior Communications Advisor Nick White and his team would log into SWOOP daily to track the progress of the campaign. 

“We were able to target the right people and the right areas with the information we had from SWOOP,” Nick said. 

How to measure with SWOOP: Topics Tab Measures. 

How do you compare? 

Our hope is by sharing these best practices from the best networks in the world, it will give you ideas to improve your own Yammer community. 

By using SWOOP, you can simply measure all the above tips. Download the full 2019 benchmarking report for more details on what SWOOP measures apply. 

If your organisation uses Yammer but you’d like some help to improve collaboration, a free SWOOP trial can provide a baseline benchmark that will highlight the precise areas you need to focus on to improve. 

We would love to see you among the worlds top Yammer performers in next yearSWOOP Benchmarking report. Please contact us if you would like to be included. 

The winners of the 2019 SWOOP Awards for Outstanding Collaboration are: 

Organizations with 5000+ employees: 

  • KFC  Restaurant chain 
  • ANZ  Multi-national bank 

Organizations with 1000-5000 employees: 

  • Medibank  Private health insurer  
  • NRMA  Member organization, roadside assistance, car rental, holiday parks and more 
  • RACQ  Member organization, roadside assistance, banking, insurance and more 
  • NSW Department of Customer Service  Australian state government department  
  • Bankwest  Bank 
  • Wiley  Global publisher 

Organizations with 100-1000 employees: 

  • Chaucer  Global digital transformation consultancy 

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