After a one-month beta test with a small group of PR 20/20 employees, we rolled out Yammer as our internal social network in December 2010. As our staff grew, we needed a solution to encourage collaboration, continuously transfer knowledge, and perpetuate our culture. Yammer provides all of that and more.
Our team has come to rely on the network as an outlet for information and resources related to the agency and our clients, and it gives us the ability to respond to the real-time demands and opportunities we face on a daily basis.
Based on our experience, here are five key benefits of Yammer for professional service firms in general, and marketing agencies in particular:
1) Streamline Communications.
As an agency, we suffered from inbox overload. A simple question via email could spark a chain of emails so deep that it was hard, and inefficient, to follow. Since implementing Yammer, we’ve significantly decreased the number of emails circulated internally. Team members are now able to get the information they need quicker and in a much more digestible format through threaded discussions.
2) Facilitate Collaboration.
Prior to Yammer, information would get lost in the day-to-day shuffle (e.g. client developments, industry updates, best practices, events, etc.). With Yammer, employees much more readily share information, seek resources from each other, and ask questions.
3) Keep the Mobile Workforce Connected.
As PR 20/20 grows, it’s become more common for people to work from remote locations. For instance, one employee regularly works from Denver (we’re in Cleveland) and another from her home. Yammer keeps these individuals informed of what is happening in the office, and vice versa. There’s no longer a need for check-in calls or emails.
4) Enhance Culture.
While Yammer is primarily used to share work-related information, it’s also become a way for employees to offer glimpses into their personal lives and get to know each other better. Within our portal, you’ll find wedding and baby photos, invitations to happy hours, funny YouTube videos, sports polls and more.
5) Nurture Career Growth and Development.
We regularly post educational resources to our Yammer portal, such as relevant news articles and upcoming events. We also use Yammer to facilitate professional development exercises. Here, we’ll post prompts or hypothetical situations, and then ask employees to share how they would respond. These exercises are a great way to get the group thinking critically, and see their peers’ approaches in real-time.
The Launch of an External Learning Network
Seeing how well Yammer worked at spreading ideas, sparking innovation and generating collective wisdom within the agency, we decided to take its benefits to our external Marketing Agency Insider community through a learning network. Here’s how:
On Oct. 25, 2012, we launched a seven-part webinar event for marketing agency professionals, The Client Services Series: A Year in the Life of a Hypothetical Account, and Yammer is playing a leading role. Each attendee is invited to a private Yammer network for real-time collaboration throughout the series.
Attendees are encouraged to share related resources, ask questions, stimulate discussions and post key takeaways within the network, as a means to improve webinar engagement. We also evolve curriculum each week based on attendee insight, giving it a choose-your-own-adventure feel.
Yammer makes this crowdsourced, adaptive approach possible, and we see enormous potential to further integrate this model into all facets of our business.