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Disruption@work - how Yammer is changing the way we work

Disruption is everywhere. It’s affecting us at home and at work. It’s transforming the the way we consume products and services and the way in which we collaborate and communicate.

Now, about that very thing - the way we collaborate and communicate, particularly in the workplace…

Many organisations (like the one I currently work at) have adopted and embraced the use of Yammer as their Enterprise Social Network (ESN). From where I see it, Yammer is a great example of how formal communication channels have been disrupted. It enables all employees, of any rank and file, to crowdsource solutions and share their knowledge outside formal layers and hierarchy. It’s reshaping the way we communicate, collaborate and learn in organisations. By decentralising knowledge and power, it’s breaking down silos and geographical barriers, meaning that the formal process of top down communication is now only part of the information sharing process. It’s common to source a solution or answer faster via Yammer, than by following prescribed processes, such as phoning help desks or finding user guides on the company intranet.

If agile is the buzz…then Yammer is the accessory

Whilst it’s difficult to quantify productivity gains through rapid solution and fact finding, aka a #yammerwin, there is no doubt that ESNs are the game changers that are accelerating knowledge transfer and management in organisations. As an effective channel to ‘work out loud’, it also supports agile practices. Online posts become a searchable database for all employees to access, making it an efficient mechanism for knowledge management while it accelerates communication and buy-in.

It’s not unusual to post a question and get a response from a General Manager you’ve never met face to face. Or the other way around. A senior person posts a question or makes a comment, and everyone has the chance to contribute. And more CEOs are embracing it with a passion, as they can see the value of Yammer to engage and collaborate in a less formal way. For example, former Telstra CEO, David Thodey, was an avid Yammerite who used it to transform culture by inviting employee participation and following through with continued discussions on work in progress.

When Yammer is used to channel customer feedback, it can result in faster, iterative solutions to improve customer experience. At a large US-based fast food chain, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, the executive team were great Yammer advocates. Employees provided feedback on menu items that management could address quickly. What was once a 12 to 18 month feedback cycle was reduced to only a few weeks. That’s a win/win outcome for both the customer and the organisation, with a team of employees who feel valued and listened to!

ESNs, typically Yammer, are being adopted by more change practitioners and leaders across numerous organisations as critical communications and engagement channels. In the past, knowledge built a power base, often in the hands of leaders who would decide when to release it. Disruption, via Yammer, has now dismantled the ivory tower of information and engagement, making knowledge available faster and providing opportunities for everyone to collaborate across divisions, from CEO to the ‘shop floor’. Everyone has a voice and opportunity to make a difference.

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