Yammer has been around a while. It was founded in 2008 and acquired by Microsoft in 2012. That’s right, Yammer is twice as old as Microsoft Teams yet it hasn’t seen nearly the adoption rate. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Don’t get me wrong, there are organizations that have introduced and embraced Yammer. In fact, there are plenty of examples where Yammer has been implemented to create and foster a sense of community throughout organizations, and it shines. But all too often I say “Yammer” to a client and they make… that face. They squint their eyes and tilt their heads and say, “Really? You want us to look at Yammer?”
I find that Microsoft Teams either makes this a harder or an easier conversation. In my mind, the collaborative landscape created by Microsoft Teams makes a clear case for a space that is not dictated by job or project tasks. When looking to carve out a spot in our information architecture landscape for areas of interest and volunteer opportunities, the niche for Yammer begins to be more sharply defined.
This is because Teams is for teamwork! We go to Microsoft Teams to work with our functional business areas, departments, and/or project groups to get things done. But if we put everything—including non-task-based content—into Teams, then the notification fatigue coming out of Teams is almost impossible to manage. Also, if Teams is for teamwork, then should we really put things that aren’t driven by work goals and tasks in Teams?
If Teams is for teamwork, then Yammer is for communities.
In my mind, task-based work belongs in Teams. So where do we put the more community-driven content that is so vital to our organizations, especially now when the drive for employee engagement is higher than ever before? The answer is Yammer. We need a sense of community. We need places to belong. We need areas of interest and learning. We don’t need the notifications of all these things coming at us with the same weight of our tasks and more urgent communications.
How can Yammer help?
What are some existing needs that various departments in your organization currently have? Do certain groups or departments want an open forum in the business?
For example: one of my clients has a Safety Department that desperately wants to increase its reach to employees. By having an active community that’s open to the org, Safety can engage and interact with employees like never before. They have two-way communication and no more emails that get buried and ignored.
Do you have an engineering division that would like cross-discipline knowledge bases, Q&As, and/or brainstorming boards?
How about our tried-and-true firstline workers? Do you need an area where they can connect with and provide feedback from the field?
Or what about crowdsourcing ideas from your employees?
Bonus: All this can happen without exponentially increasing the number of Teams notifications community members receive.
Double bonus: Yammer webparts for SharePoint pages are slick and provide rich engagement functionality for our intranet users.
Community members will still get notifications, but…
Though notifications will persist, since they are coming from a different source (and can be muted without fear of missing a deadline and getting fired) our brains can subconsciously recognize the difference in priority without having to shift focus to examine the notification.
By utilizing clever usage of web parts in SharePoint, tabs and apps in Microsoft Teams, and Viva Connections, we can create a single-pane-of glass experience for employees that meets our individual and corporate needs. This creates a Modern Collaboration Architecture (MOCA) that provides spaces for teamwork and areas of interest and engagement without a barrage of notifications that disrupt our concentration.