|Nailing Yammer into our organization!|
"The first step is the hardest" - I do believe in this proverb. It is always difficult to adopt something new or to impose change. Those who have read the book, "Who moved my cheese?" will be able to relate to the process of changing people's mindsets.
My objective, at the end of the day, is to reduce internal emails by using Yammer to be our collaborative tool but since this is the beginning of a long journey, I can already see some challenges at hand.
Firstly, Yammer vs Email. Email is very personal. You can control who to address it to and therefore, you can write it with those intended audience in mind. Language and email mannerism can be tailored accordingly. Social networking, on the other hand, is opened to a wider audience thus, making it a bit more complicated for an email-person to adapt to. How does one write things in social network channel as compared to writing an email? This is where Yammer groups can be used to assist those users - when writing to a particular group, you imagine as if you are presenting in front of them so your updates in Yammer can still be tailored to a particular group of people. Now, when you write an update in "All Company", you just have to imagine that you are presenting in front of the entire company so you, in one way or another, automatically tailor your updates as if you have your colleagues from same and other departments as well as your bosses present in front of you.
Next, Yammer vs Facebook (FB). Well, it does not help that Yammer does look like Facebook. Therefore, the young users in our company tend to use Yammer as if it is their FB page. They identify themselves as someone who we don't know of - using nicknames that are not familiar in our working environment. Talking about profile picture, some are not bothered to put up their photos at all while some, put their kids' pics as their profile pics. I mean, I'm sure that you want to show how your kids are etc, but just ensure that you put up your pic as well. No one knows who you are if your kids' photo is your profile pic and your name is put as 'Lady Gaga', right? For this cases, just to remind them that this is a professional network and not personal social network. Once professional is mentioned, then people will change their names and pictures to be more professional. Save those glamorous nicknames and nice photos for your FB page, ya?
"What are you working on?" vs "What's on your mind?". Although in Yammer, it clearly asks for "What are you working on?", we still get updates like "I am hungry and lunchtime is still so far away" or "It's raining outside and I need Nescafe". Yes, these are the typical facebook status updates. Again, Yammer vs Facebook syndrome here. So, just need to ensure that the users are guided accordingly on what are the suitable updates in Yammer. Actually, you just have to remind them that the bosses are reading your updates in Yammer and then, the users will be more cautious before clicking on the Yammer update button :)
Novelists in our midst. I think that there are times when we need to stress that updates should be limited to a few sentences or at most, a paragraph. Some users tend to use the Update section to write 'novel'. Other colleagues are reading Yammer to get quick updates on things that are relevant to their current task and if the updates are so long, the time spent on Yammer will be longer than what it should be hence, shorter time to perform the actual task. I think that this is the hardest to implement - some people just cannot write simple updates and Yammer does not have the 140-character limitation. It can also be discouraging when users post long updates and they get feedback that their updates are too lengthy - then, they may just stop sending updates in Yammer. Personally, I am still thinking of how to address this one, so anyone who has an idea on how to help me here, please do send your comments.
Yeah! In short, 'pushing' Yammer to users is not that simple. Our implementation is still in progress - as of today, we have 58.4% of our users online. Just need to learn on how to 'hammer' this tool to see whether we can achieve the target of reducing our internal emails traffic. It's normal that internal adoption/promotion is the hardest to do.
Till my next Yammer posting, let's hammer the Yammer!