Getting ready to launch Yammer from start to finish in just six weeks in a company that has traditionally resisted social media is no mean feat. But that’s what one of our clients was up against this time last year.
The company can’t be named for contractual reasons but here’s what the Head of Communications and Creative Services had to say about launching Yammer.
What was the business problem you were trying to solve?
We launched a new strategy and, as a result, we reorganised our business to be structured around our clients. Part of the driver for that was to break down silos and get more collaboration across teams. So launching Yammer was an obvious part of doing that.
We also wanted people to be able to communicate the same way in the office as they choose to outside of the office – better matching our communication channels with the demographic of our employees.
And we wanted to be able to work more like a network. For people to feel more connected and allow information to flow more easily and quickly, helping us make decisions and act in a more agile manner.
Who drove the decision to use Yammer?
The decision to use Yammer came from the top. It was our Head of Strategy’s idea and he put in the hard work to sell it to the Executive Committee.
What challenges did you face?
The biggest challenge was that the company is generally very resistant to social media – most employees are not able to access social media from work computers, and the company is not active in social media.
A lot of people had concerns and so we had to work hard to make them think about things in a new light.
The second biggest challenge was the timeframe. We had just six weeks from concept to launch. The project team – which consisted of comms, change, risk, IT, HR, security and strategy – had to work tirelessly and overcome a lot of obstacles and it was quite fraught at times.
Another challenge was people not understanding why Yammer would be useful to them and their teams. So we had a lot of convincing to do.
And, being a highly regulated industry, we took some decisions based on security that gave some us extra challenges. For example, we don’t talk about clients on Yammer, we don’t upload files and, at launch, there was no mobile access.
What went well and what didn’t?
The launch went really well. We had a high-visibility campaign using multiple communication channels. It was the first time we’d used a campaign on this scale to launch an organisational change.
Having such strong leader buy-in helped – particularly the CEO and Head of Strategy who were active from the start. Some of the other leaders took longer to convince and now we’re focusing on that next layer down, many of whom haven’t yet had had their Yammer light bulb moment.
One of our biggest successes was our Yammer policy. Unlike many of our policies, we kept it really simple, using plain English. People still talk about how brilliant it is and it’s now used as the basis for a lot of policy drafting.
The sharing of information and crowdsourcing of ideas is going really well but we’re still missing a trick on productivity, ie using Yammer to do your job.
What surprised you?
Getting people to log on for the first time was easier than we expected – we had around two-thirds of the company’s eligible employees sign up within the first month.
And who’s using Yammer has surprised me. We recruited 70 Yambassadors (employees who put their hand up to support their colleagues on Yammer) but not all of them embraced it. Instead, some people who I wouldn’t have expected to, use it all the time.
I’ve learnt that you can’t put people in boxes as far as Yammer is concerned. You can’t say the marketing team will use it but the legal team won’t.
The other surprise was how little personal content people put on Yammer. We partly created that because we went out with a strong message about business use versus personal use. But we still thought it would be a challenge to stop people posting about their pets or lunch.
Our focus now is on how we use Yammer to improve productivity.
One frustration that we’ve had is the Yammer out-of-the-box analytics – which are limited and inaccurate. This is a real problem for us as our business thrives on metrics.
So we made the decision to develop an analytics tool with one of our vendors, which is almost ready to launch.
Other than that, we’re looking at opening up Yammer globally across our business and potentially using it to talk to people outside of the company.
Posted on January 20th, 2015. 0 Comments
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