This post was contributed by Vip Patel, Senior Customer Success Manager at Yammer
What would you say if you no longer received those lengthy company-wide, mass communication emails? Would you move along and carry on with your day, or would you actually miss them? Here’s how I would answer these questions: 1) I know I would not miss them, even if the emails existed, and 2) My day would continue to go on as the emails are not interactive and don’t really need my input. Company-wide emails for mass communication aren’t new; they’ve existed since e- mail first came into being decades ago. Although news or updates about the company and organizational changes are frequently communicated this way, more often that not, these emails are rarely read or responded to.
Most of our customers use Yammer to connect their globally dispersed workforces, to help share information and knowledge. If you think about it, you can practically use Yammer for anything from connecting with your team on a project, to communicating across the whole department and even across departments. One of my favorite use cases is replacement of those lengthy, one-way, and often boring, and unattractive company-wide email blasts. We all know these emails. Their end goal is to spread news and inspire engagement with your readers. The truth is, email does not generally provide that level of engagement, and here are some reasons why:
- E-mail is often one-way and is not interactive.
- Most employees do not respond to these one-way emails.
- There’s no way to see which of your employees are collectively engaging or responding to these emails.
- Sender of email sees very little input or acceptance from readers.
With a tool like Yammer, you have a much greater chance of actually getting your employees to read and participate in company-wide communications — it can be a rather transformative experience. For example, an Enterprise Yammer customer (a large hospital system in Texas), has recommended to various departments in its organization to replace lengthy email chains in favor of Yammer. They encourage the usage of enterprise social networking to increase collaboration amongst employees and to help reduce unnecessary email overload. Their CIO uses it instead of sending email, and his daily usage has helped him significantly reduce his email inbox.
As you can see from this customer example, by moving at least some of your company-wide, departmental communications into Yammer, you will start to create a sense of interactivity and engagement with received updates. Imagine the following use case: a company-wide Yammer update around a recent merger. Not only will your employees read the post, but engage in it via several actions, such as commenting, liking and bookmarking. This can prove to be extremely valuable as feedback to you, the creator of the message: you will see people commenting and liking your post, creating a sense of interaction.
Over the past few years, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have surpassed e-mail usage. This shift is now slowly becoming a reality and is now making its way into the Enterprise. Your employees, most of whom are familiar with Facebook, are also likely to understand tools like Yammer, fostering engagement. However, it’s important to note that while behaviors don’t need to change, use cases and objectives for participation in an Enterprise social network are quite different from those in a purely social one.
- Start small. Don’t move everything to Yammer immediately. Identify one area, for example HR, that would want to give Yammer a go. Create a ‘public’ group in Yammer for the specific purpose of sending your departmental updates there. Ensure employees of the specific department join this group.
- Get executive buy-in. Once you have identified a specific department you would like to test Yammer on, a good next step is to have an Executive from the department sponsor the project. Executives are key in this scenario, as they can really help drive the change that would be needed. The Executive should be the one responsible for sending out the updates.
- Set an example! If this ends up being successful, encourage other departments to adopt it; you should spend some time, sharing best practices. The point is if you lead by example, you will encourage Yammer usage and increase adoption at your organization. What better way than to get other departments excited?
I hope you found this post useful! Have you been able to shift some of your email communication to a more interactive channel? What are some tips you can share?