How to drive Yammer adoption through strong community management

How to drive Yammer adoption through strong community management

  • 26 November,2020

With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, organisations are striving to ensure business continuity whilst transitioning to a remote working environment and more and more companies are turning to enterprise social networks such as Yammer to stay engaged and connect their employees. At CPS we have seen a growing trend of clients coming to us and saying, “We’ve got Yammer, but nobody is using it” and unfortunately these clients are quickly learning that the  old adage “if you build it, they will come” does not apply to Yammer. So how do we go about driving Yammer adoption?

Since Microsoft bought Yammer in 2012 there has been a marked swing in the fact that enterprise social networks are no longer about posting ‘status updates’, rather, they’re about connecting colleagues across organisational silos, and contributing to collaborative communities to achieve shared business goals. Now in 2020, Microsoft have emphasised this point that yammer is about communities in the recent Yammer redesign by renaming what were formerly groups, to communities. This highlights the real purpose of Yammer – bringing employees together to connect with colleagues and leadership, knowledge share, and participate in companywide conversation across multiple communities. The key to driving Yammer adoption in these communities is strong community management and without this you will find your communities flounder and do not add the value intended.

Building strong communities

This leads us to think about how best we can manage our communities. Community management should not fall on the list of miscellaneous duties that IT is responsible for and will most likely be neglected. Instead dedicated community managers should be put in place that can create successful, self-sustaining yammer communities and here at CPS we have several tips and tricks to help community managers bring communities to life and drive engagement with employees across the business.

Helpful tips to build communities and drive Yammer adoption and engagement:

1)  Create communities with purpose
It is important that when setting up a community you understand what the purpose of the community is. What value does the community bring, why does it need to exist, and what problems does it solve? Communities that have a clear purpose and objectives help members understand what and how they should use the space to communicate leading to a more active and engaged space!

2)  Appoint (or hire) a community manager
A successful community manager must be passionate, innovative, and must be a wordsmith allowing them to effectively apply their Yammer knowledge into growing communities. They must dedicate time to managing a network of Yammer influencers, collaborating socially, and cross-pollinating their communities with content from external social media and other sources. They should actively network with those in the Microsoft sphere to learn about the latest features, future roadmap whilst continually acting as Yammer evangelist to inspire those around them.

3)  Select prominent people as influencers
The Author of Collaboration Strategies, wrote in his book: “Collaboration is a Human Behaviour not a technology or a process but an Act or series of acts that you choose to perform with one or more specific people to achieve specific purpose or goal.” There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals. If you have the right mix of members taking care and nurturing and participating in a community, you will be on track for success.

As the community manager, consider involving Yammer influencers who will dedicate time to liking, posting, replying, and bringing their network into the community to collaborate. This is especially important during the early stages of a community whilst it builds traction and a self-sustainability. This will give you more time to guide the community on etiquette, engage and coach leaders, and promote the community within the organisation.

4)  Do not try to boil the ocean – build slowly and persist
Yammer is not a traditional tool which employees will automatically adopt and start using. There must be interesting content and conversation which draws their engagement time and time again leading to active membership of the community. Yammer adoption and engagement will become more organic over time but initially look at developing a launch event and a month’s worth of content / material (posts, videos, polls, competitions, events) with a cadence for posting. As the community begins to flourish and members more actively post and engage, your posts as a community manager can lesson, and more focus can be put into liking and commenting on posts as well as further promoting the community across the organisation.

5)  Take a ‘temperature check’ of your community
Using community insights to continuously monitor how well your members are and engaging is crucial for the success of any community. You must understand which types of engagements and posts resonate best with your community, and then strategise to deliver more engagements to continually drive the predominant yammer activities (posting, reading, liking), and grow the community.

6)  Use Yammer to collaborate with your clients, suppliers, and partners
Yammer is great for building transparency openness and trust through visible interactions. Externally collaborating using Yammer opens the opportunity for organisations to cooperate, network, and build teams with partners whilst having more personal, closer interactions with clients.

As important as the above steps are to driving Yammer adoption and engagement with communities, it is also pertinent that you must give Yammer communities time to thrive. You are not going to get engagement overnight, in a week, or maybe not even a month! It is important to have patience in growing your communities.


Learn more with our free webinar “Bringing your organisation together with Yammer” on 9th December.

CPS holds the Microsoft Adoption and Change Management Advanced Specialization. Click here for more information.