This post was contributed by Mishri Someshwar, Director, Marketing & Public Relations for The National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
One of the biggest challenges that organizations face is building a culture and a process by which employees can share and become aware of each others’ achievements, as well as appreciate the value that their colleagues bring. This can be challenging in large organizations where staff are scattered across the globe and functional groups. It can be equally challenging for small organizations where staff are stretched to the limit with a variety of tasks and duties.
This is exactly where we, as an organization, found ourselves in January 2009. We’re The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), a nonprofit honor society for high-achieving first- and second-year college students; we have a staff of 20+ in Washington, D.C. with a few commuters scattered across the country. Every person on our staff is so committed to and engaged in his/her work that it is often difficult to know what people in other departments are working on.
Enter Yammer in January 2009.
At first, we used Yammer in a utilitarian way. It served as a good replacement for some staff e-mails (especially the fun ones like “There’s extra cake leftover from the party- come get it!”) or updates from trainings (“here’s an additional document to supplement the training you participated in”).
But over time, Yammer became a community for staff to share their successes, stories and more. Here are some examples…
The communications department would share a link to a story they placed in a local newspaper.
Our online community manager showcased the best tweets, Facebook posts and comments from our other social media tools.
I even mentioned to staff on Yammer last Friday that I might be working on a blog post/case study for this Yammer blog! Does it get much more meta than that?
The sharing of these highlights and stories not only kept us in the loop, but also strengthened our appreciation for each other. Seeing your colleagues respond positively to your work is a great feeling and seeing a thread of those responses is even better.
Today, any NSCS staff member knows and can easily recount what other departments are working on and highlight others’ news and achievements. Yammer is also a fantastic culture-builder, serving as a great space not only to share successes, but also employees’ non-work selves. Just about every employee can tell you their employees’ favorite books and even desserts.
Here are some clear business successes that Yammer has helped NSCS achieve:
- Improved collaboration among staff members on various projects and programs.
- Reduced e-mail clutter by at least 15 percent, also reducing time that employees spend reviewing emails. Now a lot of our full-staff e-mails have a home on Yammer.
- Improved insight into what colleagues are working on allows staff to determine when they can reuse ideas or work products already created by staff members. This minimizes time wasted on “re-inventing the wheel.”
- Team culture strengthening caused by deeper knowledge and increased respect for one’s coworkers.