Last week I signed up to Yammer (www.yammer.com). Yammer is a social network, similar to Facebook, but limited to staff within an organisation. I have used Yammer in a previous organisation, but have not used it in over a year. ITS have been using Yammer for a while but it appears to be just picking up in use. Just over ten percent of all staff have set up an account, and now three of fourteen library staff have joined. Since I last used it it seems like a more mature business product, possibly as a result of been taken over by Microsoft.
I joined because my manager has asked that I help with the development of a Yammer group that is designed to assist executive staff with their research needs. The group hasn’t actually been set up yet, and I am yet to have a meeting with the project team, but it sounds really exciting and I think it should be a good medium for such a group. The asynchronous and way that Yammer assists in flattening the hierarchy. The task of getting all executive staff together for a meeting would be very challenging; it is far more achievable to ask these staff to contribute to an asynchronous discussion in-between their engagements from any location. Yammer flattens the hierarchy by giving any staff member the ability to contribute, and introduces social networking and the ability for all staff in an organisation to have a voice (Burns, 2010). Yammer helps organisations to break down traditional silos, as it is simple to set up groups and converse with staff from any area or location.
Johnson (2013) warns that staff can be wary of posting with their managers watching unless the right atmosphere is promoted. He suggests advice to encourage collaboration from staff:
- “Dialogues beat monologues”
- Small steps and contributions
- “Ensemble over hierarchy”
- Don’t shoot down ideas or conversation will die
- “Reserve judgment”
- Use humour
I’m excited about this project, we have the first meeting next week and I’m interested to see how it works out.
Burns, J. (2010, March 23). Yammer hopes to break down corporate hierarchies. Slice [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://shifters.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/yammer-hopes-to-break-down-corporate-hierarchies/
Johnson, S. (2013, April 22). Getting your employees to share their best ideas on Yammer, Chatter, and Enterprise Social. Fast Company [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/3008602/getting-your-employees-share-their-best-ideas-yammer-chatter-and-enterprise-social