At SWOOP we’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of Yammer networks from around the world. We’re constantly learning from every community – what works, what “good” looks like, how leaders are engaging employees, how to break down organisational hierarchies and what doesn’t work.
We’ve recently launched SWOOP’s 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.
We’ve 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 stories, common themes emerged.
We’ve 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 it’s 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 Bank’s Social Business Development Manager, Ryan Crocker.
“Leaders need to listen and look at what people are talking about. If they don’t take the time to listen first, it’s 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 cat’s new pyjamas.”
“That’s not exactly engaging.”
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 RACQ’s 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
KFC Australia’s 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 it’s 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
If it’s happening the real world, bring it to Yammer.
“If you’re 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 Chaucer’s Knowledge Manager, Sarah Parry.
Bankwest has always encouraged employees to be open on Yammer, to bring their whole selves to work, whether it’s to do with mental health issues or your favourite restaurant. In six years, Bankwest’s Senior Manager Digital Channels, Matt Dodd has had to remove only two posts from the network.
“That’s 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.
“I want to celebrate the people who are working towards bettering their Yammer and themselves and their culture,” Francesca said.
At Australia’s largest health insurer Medibank, Employee Communications Adviser Bailey Cunningham recently encouraged the 130 people in Medibank’s 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.
“I think I could go a day without having access to email but I don’t think I could go a day without having access to SWOOP,” Ryan said.
“It takes all the guess work out and it’s 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 can’t argue with that.”
The NRMA’s Digital Employee Experience Manager, Pete Johns, uses SWOOP’s 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.
“It’s not about saying; ‘Who’s doing the best?’ treating it as a scoreboard. It’s 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 it’s 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, communication, frequently asked questions or troubleshooting.
“It’s 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
It’s taken years to get this point but at Bankwest employees will now naturally post on Yammer, it’s the normal place where conversation happens and people engage. It’s 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 we’ve got some great examples of how people have dealt with customer issues – they’re sharing their own best practice,” Matt said.
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 didn’t speak Korean. Can anyone help?
Another employee, in another office, saw the post and while they couldn’t 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 Wiley’s 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 RACQ’s 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 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.
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.
The winners of the 2019 SWOOP Awards for Outstanding Collaboration are:
Organizations with 5000+ employees:
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