In our discovery and study of ESNs, Yammer is ever-present. In fact, the platform has been championed in many of the team cases as a potentially triumphant goal… if only we could get the CEO to adopt Yammer!
Being a natural skeptic, my first question is why? What is so special about Yammer and systems like it? Is it not just a fancy email?
Cartoon from www.businessgoessocial.net
Ultimately, though I am no Yammer evangelical on the level of some more inspired members of our class, I have definitely been converted. I am a Yammer believer. Through experimentation with the platform in my workplace and supplemental readings, here’s where I have determined the value added by Yammer lies:
- New, shiny, tech-y. There is a lot of love out there for new systems and platforms. Yammer is cooler than email.
- Communications management. Sick of receiving those accounting emails? Yammer-ized, you can breeze past pesky notifications without having to delete emails or sink your teeth into areas that truly matter to you. Users get to choose their informational flow.
- Simultaneously broadening and tightening networks. Stay with me. Yammer allows employees to connect with one another from across the globe, while also providing opportunities for the Yammer users down the cubes from one another to identify mutual work, causes, or interests.
- Idea and information sharing. No need to reinvent the wheel. Uniqueness is much rarer than perhaps we’d like to imagine- Yammer allows for superior workflow and idea sharing and prevents unnecessary duplication of efforts.
The platform is hugely popular for a reason and has the potential to add huge value to any workplace. With proper planning and resource allocation, implementing Yammer or a similar ESN is a powerful opportunity for most organizations.
Our class experience with working out loud during our recent session in The Garage had mixed results- there were two fun “call outs,” a way to recognize great work in a team and solicit feedback, but for a nearly two-hour session with 5 teams, the exercise of call outs was not utilized very heavily.
#msloc430 Twitter was certainly abuzz with tweets like these:
Fun, celebratory, descriptive, but not necessarily in the spirit of purposeful, collaborative working out loud as described by Stepper (http://johnstepper.com/2014/01/04/the-5-elements-of-working-out-loud/). I didn’t see many tweets that I thought would lead to anyone in the room making their work better. I myself was perhaps the worst offender, tweeting one useful description of our work followed by a storm of GIFs, jokes, images, and emojis. Whoops.
Initially disappointed, I wondered what we might have done better to harness the power of working out loud. Thankfully, returning to Stepper showed me the way. His blog on developing working out loud as a skill over 12 weeks is highly encouraging (http://johnstepper.com/2013/11/23/working-out-loud-the-12-week-program/) and leads me to believe that our class, given the time, could progress from fun, community-building attempts at working out loud to true, purposeful progress in the spirit of Stepper’s articles.
Enterprise social networking requires an engaged, positive, and supportive organizational culture. Without a dialed in and open-minded management team, group of mid-level managers, and workforce, enterprise social networks flounder.
Leadership participation in these networks is vital, as Charlene Li expounds on in her Harvard Business Review article.
Aren’t the best leaders always those who lead by example? Show a willingness to complete any task, no matter how small? Why, then, would participation in enterprise social networks be any different?
The real challenge is not simply determining that leaders must be supportive of enterprise social networking efforts, but rather proving their value to these leaders and incentivizing and promoting their engagement with these networks. How can this be accomplished? A few ideas:
- Correlate personal social network usage numbers with potential for enterprise social network usage, showing the potential for success based on the already widespread use of personal networks (this has been addressed as potentially non-relevant in texts from this class)
- Migrate mandatory company functions to a new enterprise social network
- Require leadership to blog or post weekly or similar on the network
This is something I’ll aim to explore more as we move through the quarter.
For this post, I’ll leave you with some relevant humor, courtesy of Dilbert:
This is my blog for #msloc430, creating and sharing knowledge. Looking forward to sharing thoughts throughout the quarter on social media and social enterprise networking as they relate to my professional and academic interests!
I’ve titled the blog Damn Tarantula, after a Lil Wayne lyric. I’ll do my best to be a productive part of the incredible web of ideas in our #msloc430 community and beyond.