What if a Yammer network fails?

Yammer is no longer a new idea. Born in late 2008 and now part of the Microsoft family, the Yammer enterprise social network (ESN) is a mature communication platform used by hundreds of thousands of companies around the world.

While Yammer continues to attract new users – both natively in Yammer and through Office 365 – there are now also many companies who have been using their network for some time. Most of the time we worry about launching new enterprise social networks, but existing networks also need care and attention. In fact, we know that all online communities go through organic cycles of growth and renewal and a Yammer network is no different.

Yammer networks are also susceptible to other organisational changes that can upset the dynamic of the ecosystem – such as when key influencers leave the organisation, mergers and acquisitions or even the introduction of new tools that demand the attention of employees.

Don’t panic!

If it looks like your Yammer network is failing, don’t panic. It may just need some extra care and attention to bring things back on track again. Ask yourself the following three questions:

1. What is my criteria for success? – This might sound like an obvious question, but how do you know that your Yammer network is actually failing? It is tempting to equate activity or levels of adoption to success, but these indicators may not reflect the true value Yammer is providing even if there is less noise in the network.

2. Does my Yammer network reflect current business priorities? – If your Yammer network has been running for sometime it is possible that the business needs it originally met have changed. If using Yammer for more effective internal communications has become embedded as business as usual, it may be an opportunity to look for other business problems to solve through the network.

3. Are the right people still modelling the right behaviours? – It is easy to get complacent over time, but if key influencers stop modelling the right behaviours in an online community then the level of interaction can start to slip. If it looks like key people in your network are using Yammer differently from before, you may need to find out what exactly has changed and why.

These three questions should provide a good starting point for identifying issues and help guide where to focus efforts for ongoing nurturing of your Yammer network. This should make it easier to manage the natural ebbs and flows in your online employee community that you will encounter over time.

Need some more guidance on getting the most out of your existing Yammer network?

We can help with strategy, implementation, developing use cases, change management and more. Contact us today at hello@rippleffectgroup.com or call 02 8206 9690.

Thinking of launching or relaunching a Yammer network?

Attend our workshop in Sydney on the 6th August, 2014 and learn about our leading practices for enterprise social networks and social intranets.

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