Well, it doesn’t happen often, and usually takes me a long time to admit it when it does – probably a state of mind most of us are familiar with!
So – over a year ago, our Comms team came to me to suggest we roll out Yammer in the organisation. I wasn’t familiar with Yammer, other than knowing it was part of our Office 365 license and was essentially an internal Facebook.
An internal Facebook?
Looking at how much time the human race has wasted on Facebook clouded my view – reading and writing things such as “Just checked in at my house”, “OMG terrible day”, “Does anyone know the number for 999?” followed by “are you ok hun?” and “hope you are alright”.
Plus my personal favourite “Just clocked a 8.2 mile run” – to which I always want to reply “Just drove 300 metres to the shop”.
People posting food too…
Anyway, you get the picture!
Resistance is futile
Essentially, I was resistant because I thought it would be a waste of time and I couldn’t see the value.
However, we proceeded with a pilot, which grew and grew. This pilot demonstrated to me just how wrong I was.
Helping us share knowledge
Yammer has been such an excellent forum for knowledge sharing. As an organisation that was formed from three different bodies, spread all over Wales, it has enabled collaboration between colleagues in the same disciplines (who weren’t aware of each other previously!) and between different disciplines too.
The conversations that take place seem blissfully ignorant of staff grades and seniority, with interaction between all levels of the organisation, just like it should be.
A year down the line, and I’m one of our Yammer network’s most frequent users. We have so many groups now; an ICT Neighbourhood experts group, where staff help each other with ICT issues, an ICT apprentices group, LGBT network, Knowledge, Digital Development, Business Continuity, Transition Team – and these are just the ones that impact on my role.
We regularly have YamJams (more about these in a future post…) with our Exec and Leadership Team members, giving colleagues the chance to ask any questions they like – it’s such a good tool for this as it’s impossible for us to get around all our offices on a regular basis.
I’ve also learned so much about the activities of our organisation, as staff post examples and picture of the work they have been doing.
There is a lesson here. I’m forever saying to colleagues “we need to trust our staff”, when I am asked if we should lock down a folder in the DMS, or when I’m asked to consider what functions we should restrict when rolling out our tablets and smartphones etc.
I really want us all to benefit from our new tech, and whilst it is powerful compared to the old world – it’s fundamentally the same sort of thing that most of us use at home. I also think, “What’s the point in buying these things, if we don’t exploit them to the max”.
It’s not just me either, Cabinet Office changed their security marking protocol this year, partly in an effort to help organisations choose cloud technologies and leverage the benefits therein. So, I should have known really that staff would use this in a productive way, and the benefits massively outweighed the small risks.
The second lesson is, listen to your colleagues in Comms who know more about these things than you do.
So well done to our Comms team, for pushing this through and proving me wrong.
PS. It doesn’t happen often ☺
It would be great to hear from other organisations using or considering using Yammer, we would be happy to share our experiences.