Countdown to Christmas: Day 15 – Yammer rules

Today’s Countdown to Christmas is one of the most popular articles I published in 2015. It was written by Simon Steers and focuses on seven golden rules when using Yammer.

This is day 15 of my Advent series, which means there are just 10 days until Christmas! Where does time go? I hope your plans are working out well. Here’s Simon’s guide, which I published in June…

Seven golden rules when using Yammer

How can you ensure employees know the best way to use Yammer inside your organisation, and how can you create a digital workspace?

yammertimeI’ve been writing about Yammer and all things enterprise social network (ESN) related on my blog since 2009, and have shared hundreds of case studies, tips and ideas.

If you’ve reached this article while looking for help, see my Yammer Time article for a collation of resources, including illustrations by the talented Virpi Oinonen @voinonen.

Today I’ve got seven golden rules of Yammer to share with you thanks to the comms team at Legal & General.

The company is one of the UK’s leading financial services group and says it made a “very conscious decision to deploy Yammer in an agile way; we took a view that organic growth is the most effective way to build up communities – we wanted to learn as we went along and use those learnings to inform our future rollout.”

The rise and rise of ESNs
The role of enterprise social networks has changed in a short space of time. When I was first researching the use of social media for internal communication six years ago, it was a vastly different landscape to the one we see today.

ESNs were barely in use and I was struggling to find case studies (which is the reason why I collated 400 examples of ESN use).

In 2015 it’s commonplace to find collaboration tools being used inside organisations. Not everyone has them, and they’re not right for every company. But I believe if you determine what you want to achieve, do your homework and thoroughly analyse your culture to help you make the right decisions, you can do great things.

SimonSteersSimon Steers @progressiveIC (pictured) is Digital Channels Manager at Legal & General, which is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups.

Here he writes for All Things IC about how they are creating a digital workplace and using Office 365.

Over to you Simon…

Creating a Digital Workspace at L&G

There are some real challenges for Financial Services organisations in adapting to the digital age. Both cultural and regulatory barriers make it difficult to navigate both the opportunities and threats that digital can bring. (Tweet this)

Legal & General has started its digital journey, and in the consumer space has made some real strides with the launch of new digital offerings such as My Account (customer self -service), L&G Live (a consumer facing portal) and in the social space the Google Hangout series has been a real breath of fresh air in bringing everyday finances to life.

The outward facing digital and social revolution is well and truly underway.

The next stage of that digital journey is to build up digital and social capability internally, both by introducing new digital tools, and driving a cultural change to a more digital way of working.

The vision for a digital workspace

The first step on our internal digital journey at Legal & General has been to build up our vision for what a digital workspace looks like (note that we are using the term workspace, not workplace).

LegalandGeneralOur idea is that we want our employees to be able to connect to people, systems, information and content through one single point of entry – from any location – at any time. This is very much aligned to our strategic goals, but also the business operating models of the future.

The creation of this vision is an essential first step in making our digital workspace a reality, it is important that we engage our internal stakeholders and that everybody in our business is part of our digital journey.

The vision for a digital workspace is what is driving our roadmap.

The technology

We have an ambitious digital agenda at Legal & General. Our HR team have been building up its digital capability with new online tools.

But the foundation of our digital workspace vision is built upon the Microsoft Office 365 suite of tools that include Yammer, SharePoint, and Lync (Skype for Business).

As a financial services organisation, we have to navigate the compliance challenges that cloud based technology brings, so it does make the pace of change more difficult, and adds in extra complexity to deployment of technology.

But, by close collaboration with our IT and Compliance teams we have been able to begin our deployment and are moving our digital agenda forward.

The first stage of our digital journey with 365 has been the deployment of Yammer to a pilot group in our business. We have seen some excellent engagement thus far and a thriving network, the appetite in the business for social and collaboration has been really pleasing to see, and makes the cultural change aspect of digital easier to navigate.

Office 365But the real digital transformation will come as we being to deploy SharePoint across our business – as this is a tool that can change the way we do things – and provide us with that single point of entry, integrating different tools, including Yammer.

Lync (Skype for Business) will also be a game changer in how we can collaborate internally.

Our Yammer pilot

We initially launched Yammer to a pilot group of circa 1800 employees (out of a total population of 5000) – we currently have over 1600 sign ups.

We created all of our own launch materials including bespoke training guides and our network guidelines, which we have pitched as the 7 golden rules of Yammer.

We are integrating Yammer into our digital channels by using hashtag marketing, to drive the conversation. An example of this is the launch of a new digital channel called L& (concept based on a business version of You Tube) where we use hashtags and calls to action throughout our videos to give it a more social and interactive feel, with a call to action through to Yammer.

The idea is that Yammer begins to feel like an extension of our communications through our digital channels.

Our communications for the full Yammer rollout will include video case studies from our pilot group to share use cases on how Yammer has added value. Real stories from people across our business.

We are also working on the role of the Community Manager which we view as being mission critical to the successful implementation of Yammer as a collaboration tool.

We have created a persona and asked for volunteers – we had a brilliant response with over 50 employees wanting to be involved – and we are creating a training programme that will certify our volunteers as Community Managers.

We are putting a great deal of value on our Community Manager roles as it is this network of champions that will mobilise conversation on Yammer.

QuoteOur Internal Communications team have some exciting plans to use Yammer for vertical conversation by creating and driving social campaigns. But it is the Community Managers that will drive the horizontal conversation, which is where the true value of collaboration (and Yammer) lies.

We have been really pleased with our pilot so far, and as yet, we haven’t seen engagement drop, and people are finding ways to use Yammer.

We made a very conscious decision to deploy Yammer in an agile way; we took a view that organic growth is the most effective way to build up communities – we wanted to learn as we went along and use those learnings to inform our future rollout.

Cultural change

What we have tried to do is create a digital story for our employees that we are using as the mechanism to shift our culture towards a different way of working. We have created the campaign title of #ourdigitaljourney which is the mechanism we use to join up the dots for our people on our digital story.

We are working towards the idea that digital is the enabler for business behaviours – and it is actually culture that drives behaviours like collaboration and innovation – so you need to align culture to technology to truly become a digitally enabled business. (Tweet this)

The digital workspace vision is being led by a collaborative team from our Comms, Marketing, HR and IT functions so that we are taking brand, behaviours and technology and fusing them into one vision that will drive the digital and cultural transformation we want to achieve.

Next steps

Office 365It is still very early days on our internal digital journey at Legal & General, but we feel that we are in a good place to really drive our digital agenda forward. We are excited about the deployment of 365 and the opportunities that can bring.

We have an ambition to build a social culture where employees feel enabled to create content and our vision for a digital workspace supports that ideal. 

We have started that journey with the deployment of Yammer, and our internal video channel, we have lots to do to reach our goal but we have made lots of progress.

Our ambition as a business is to create a world class digital experience for our customers and our employees – it’s a lofty ambition – but one we are committed to delivering.

Our Yammer channel is open to all current Legal & General employees. We encourage employees to join this community to help with their work, develop working relationships, connect with like-minded colleagues, and reach out for help where they need it.

All we ask is they remain respectful and follow these simple house rules:

The seven golden rules of Yammer

1. Complete your profile – Use your real name and photograph to enhance communication with your colleagues. Remember the more complete your profile the more useful it will be.

2. Information for internal use only – Information posted on this site is for internal purposes only and must not be shared outside of Legal & General without specific approval.

3. Personal responsibility – Don’t forget you are responsible for what you write, be mindful of how your comments might be read by others, think about whether or not what you are posting is appropriate for the audience you are posting it to!

4. Active participation – Take an active role, join conversations and groups, but before creating a new group, look at what already exists and see if there is anything similar already.

5. #hashtags – Make your posts visible by using #hashtags to help people keep track of trending topics and issues.

6. Keep it professional – In the same way that we moderate our conversations in the office, so we should apply similar moderation to our posts here. Be polite; try to be constructive; don’t be offensive.

7. And finally – Be sensible, be nice, no haters, no trolling, no hijacking posts, share and like good content.

Post author: Simon Steers.

Thank you Simon, I think the seven rules are excellent and am certain other comms pros can learn and benefit from them.

What do you think about what you’ve read? What do you agree or disagree with? As ever you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

Further reading about ESNs on All Things IC

Further reading about community management on All Things IC:

Community management basics for internal comms pros

Want to get in touch? You can find me in various places online including Twitter @AllthingsICGoogle+LinkedInStorify,SlideShare and Pinterest and can contact me here.


First published on the All Things IC blog by Rachel Miller, 4 June 2015.

Republished 15 December 2015.


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