When did the Year of Yammer begin? When did it end? Depends on how you cut the numbers, but if 2019 was the #YearOfYammer announcements, then 2020 is absolutely the year when Yammer delivered.
The first taste (or tease) about the Year of Yammer came from Mike Holste in May 2019 causing a stir in Digital Workplace circles. Yammer at that stage was a much loved platform that Microsoft had taken under its wing, but there had been a hiatus in progress and much debate about where it fit within the Microsoft 365 toolset.
Fast forward to October 2019 and Ignite, where #YearOfYammer was officially launched and the pillars of Connection, Leadership, Inclusion, Knowledge and Community. The Future of Yammer was announced with a long list of feature releases to be expected in the coming year.
I spent some time with the Yammer team in early 2020 as they rounded out Ignite the Tour in Australia. At that time we in the community had only just started to see the big changes that had been announced the year before. Now, as 2020 reaches a close the new Yammer is generally available and has been since July.
Yammer always been about connection, but keeping that at the core is something which the Yammer team feel passionate about. When I spoke to Jason Mayans (Head of Product and Analytics for Yammer) he spoke about how giving people a way to feel more connected and have a voice at work drives what they do.
“Yammer has a really unique opportunity to make them feel better about their work, make them feel better about the organisation they are a part of, feel connected, feel that they have a voice. For me the ability to kind of impact that every day experience that I as an employee have at work is pretty powerful.”
You can make a connection with Yammer by:
- Create and nurture Yammer communities
- Host Yammer Live Events to bring your events to life
- Use @mention to let a colleague know about an interesting conversation
Resources to help make a connection:
- Join and create a Yammer community – Microsoft support
- Live events in Yammer – Microsoft docs
- Join the conversation in Yammer – Microsoft support
- New community and Q&A insights in Yammer – Yammer blog
The key to Yammer, has and likely always will be, strong leadership from the top down. This can be achieved in big or small organisations.
At NEXTDC we are an SME (small to medium enterprise) size, but have strong and visible support from our CEO and CXO who are present and engaged in Yammer. This has been the case since we first began using Yammer 4 years ago. Our CEO Craig Scroggie created, and runs a community called ‘CEO – Ask Me Anything’ where anyone can ask a question that he will personally answer.
Even the big corporates can leverage the value of Yammer through leadership. Steve Nguyen, Principal Program Manager with Yammer, speaks admirably about the tremendous ANZ (Australian Bank) have achieved with Yammer.
“I think they have a great culture from a leadership perspective with respect to how they engage and how they are curious… that’s strong and it’s somewhat unique not all organisations have that level of leadership engagement.”
ANZ work hard to build community through leadership as they experience the value that allows them to connect their people and amplify company culture.
You can build leadership with Yammer by:
- Talking to your leaders about the benefits of Yammer
- Encourage them to share news and updates in All Company
Resources to help build leadership:
- Unlocking the value with Yammer – A leaders perspective – Yammer blog
- Leadership engagement – Microsoft Tech Community Resource Centre
Inclusion is part of Yammers DNA. It was built as a platform anyone could start and nurture, and still today anyone can have a voice on Yammer.
The team are taking that even further by introducing features that will help everyone feel like they have a home on Yammer. You asked and the product team listened, as Angus Florance, Product Marketing Manager, shared:
“At MVP summit a few years ago we got a lot of feedback that Yammer felt a bit corporate, it’s supposed to be a social network. It should be fun it should be engaging it shouldn’t feel like email.”
You can foster inclusion in Yammer by:
- Nurture communities and conversations that encourage inclusive and diverse ideas and thoughts
- Adopt features such as reactions and Gifs to bring fun to your network
- Promote new features such as dark mode and skin tone reactions
Resources to help foster inclusion:
- Start the diversity and inclusion conversation in your network – Yammer blog
- 6 ways to bring some fun to your Yammer network – Yammer blog
Capturing tacit knowledge is absolutely a Yammer superpower. The focus is often on the “Knowledge Worker” but we see now many great features being introduced for “First-Line”. This comes from a recognition that we are all knowledge workers who have different needs.
Steve Nguyen challenges our mindset around the knowledge worker,
“The term ‘knowledge worker’ could almost be insulting the first-line worker, insinuating that first-line workers do not have any knowledge. When in some cases they have more knowledge, very real and direct knowledge, different knowledge… Yammer lets that first line worker the ability to share that knowledge.”
You can capture knowledge in Yammer by:
- Encourage the use of the ‘question’ feature and ‘best answer’
- Set ‘question’ as the default post type in a community
- Make a poll to seek opinions on an interesting topic
Resources to help capture knowledge in Yammer:
- Use questions and answers in a Yammer community – Microsoft Support
- Create polls, praise and announcements in Yammer – Microsoft Support
A simple but profound change we have seen in the Year of Yammer is that ‘groups’ are now called ‘communities’. With this product change, the purpose of Yammer becomes clear.
From Jason Mayans: “Our goal is that when and end user thinks ‘I want to build a community’ or ‘I want to find a community’ they know where to go.”
Build community in Yammer by:
- Use a branded cover photo to give your community a personality
- Pin important posts to get attention
- Feature posts to amplify the message
Resources to help build communities:
- Customize a Yammer Community – Microsoft Support
- Pin, close and report conversations in Yammer – Microsoft Support
- Feature a conversation in new Yammer – Microsoft Support
What’s next after the Year of Yammer?
I think it is safe to say that 2020 was the Year of Yammer. So what’s next?
Scanning through the public Microsoft 365 Roadmap for Yammer, it is clear that there is a lot being shipped and a lot to come. But what is the broader direction, and as the #YearOfYammer finishes… what do we call 2021 for Yammer?
Head of Product and Analytics for Yammer, Jason Mayans asked the question on Twitter – What should the 2021 slogan for Yammer be?
Here are my ideas.
I am excited for the possibilities for Yammer as Microsoft 365 generally moves deeper into using intelligence to build business knowledge. Particularly around search.
Steve Nguyen pointed out that,
“I think you’ll see us go a lot deeper in knowledge. So, both kind of natively in Yammer as well as integrated with a larger Project Cortex effort. There is so much knowledge there captured in Yammer through these conversations but there are so many more ways we can leverage it and make it valuable for the broader organisation”
So watch this space for Yammer and Cortex coming closer together.
We have seen great steps for community managers in the Year of Yammer, but what is next?
Further to what has already been delivered, Jason Mayans wants “to continue to make communities more engaging, help you find communities in easier ways, recognise people who contribute, welcome new members’ as well as helping to enable larger and larger conversations.”
More ways to grow and nurture your communities.
Improvements for everyone. Continuing to build Yammer as a tool for sharing, building culture, fostering diversity and inclusion. And, being inclusive in ways that mean people can access from anywhere in the way that they need.
As Jason Mayans put it, “we want to continue to drive all of these capabilities as capabilities of the suite available anywhere you need them and in the context that makes sense.”
Do you have any Yammer predictions or desires? Share them in the comments below.
Big thanks to Jason Mayans, Steve Nguyen and Angus Florence who took the time to let me nerd out about Yammer with them, back at the beginning of the #YearOfYammer, when travel was a thing.
Originally published at https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/yammer-blog/2020-when-the-yearofyammer-delivered/ba-p/2010589 on Dec 22 2020, 04:40 PM