Why have an Enterprise Social Network (ESN)?

Two key points covered in this Harvard Business Review article highlight two important things whilst communicating through a crisis: the importance of communicating frequently and providing safe channels for giving feedback.

This article was written in June 2020, and now after two years of pandemic living, organisations ears are pricking up as they struggle to get cut through when communicating to their employee base. The answer? An enterprise social network (ESN) – like Yammer!

With many organisations unaware of the free and secure communication tools that are already part of their M365 investment, we cover why Yammer is our enterprise social network of choice and the considerations you need to make when weighing up Yammer vs Workplace.

During pre-Covid times a substantial amount of employee engagement happened outside of traditional work activities or tasks. When you’re in an office, you have the ability to have corridor conversations, kitchen meet-ups and desk drop-ins. In the new digital hybrid world of work, this is where an enterprise social network comes in. It truly connects organisations and fosters a sense of community, allowing for:

  • Innovation

  • Free flowing communication on an idea or topic

  • Space to create and view company culture coming to life

  • Colleague appreciation

And, before you ask the question, we haven’t forgotten about Teams. Whilst it is very loved, Teams is a productivity tool to be used as a place to get work done and focus on small teams of people working collaboratively on a task or project.

Yammer vs Workplace

When comparing Yammer vs Workplace, an important element centres around what values you are looking to instil across your enterprise and how you want to take your employee base on this digital journey.

Both Microsoft and Facebook have arrived with a tool that has a similar look on the surface, but come from very different objectives, and sales & marketing viewpoints.

  • Microsoft’s ethos has always been built around building trust, combined with a very good ethical approach. They live and breathe productivity, that’s their background and they excel in this space. Yammer is a service that was founded as a business tool to help solve the problem of employee engagement, knowledge sharing and communication.
  • Facebook, on the other hand has chosen to take its consumer social network and try to fit it into organisations. People are familiar with the way it works, but fundamentally it is rooted in how many people see content and how content can get attention, not productivity. The familiarity can also mean people see it as an extension of their personal Facebook, rather than a business tool.

Why we love Yammer

Aside from Yammer already being part of your M365 investment, here are some key reasons we think Yammer wins time and time again:

  • Rich integration – M365 allows employees to answer Yammer posts directly through Outlook email, notifications you may have set up in the MS Teams application, or through the Yammer app within Teams. These rich integrations allows for a seamless employee experience with minimal effort. We hear over and over the biggest sticking point for engagement with an ESN is getting into the platform.
  • Delegation mode – allowing employees to post on behalf of another individual. This feature will ensure that time poor executives can create content for their support teams to post in a timely manner.
  • Easy access and login for all employees – Microsoft now allows for Yammer login for all licenced employees through a one-time SMS pin his ensures organisations don’t stumble on the first step of getting their people access to the tool and gives a smooth employee experience.
  • Security* – it’s always at the forefront of Microsoft products and Yammer is part of this secured ecosystem. Content is secured through SharePoint and access is governed through your organisational enterprise security processes. Yammer data can even be included in Office 365 eDiscovery and Search results.

* Securing data at this point in history needs to be carefully approached. This has been a major influencer in the decision on which tool to choose for an ESN, as Facebook data is housed outside of the customers tenant, while Yammer data remained secured within the customers environment, ensuring if you turn the tool off in future, your data will not have a breach risk.


Migrating from Facebook Workplace to Microsoft Yammer

If a move to Yammer is on the cards but you’ve you’ve already got Workplace deployed that’s a great start. Using Workplace is a good indication that you understand the value of an ESN and may even have a strategy for how the tool works within your broader technology and communication ecosystem.

If you’re ready to make the move, we recommend considering:

  • Facilitation of a community audit – are your established communities achieving their purpose and maintaining the right level of engagement across the different SWOOP Analytics personas and against the SWOOP Enterprise Collaboration Maturity Model.
  • Content migration – once your audit has been done, understanding if there is content that needs to be migrated from Workplace to Yammer and defining and agreeing this process.
  • Change & Adoption – establishing a cut through change and adoption campaign to ensure employees understand the move and the benefits to them as individuals.

Whenever we move clients to Yammer, we always use this as a way to refresh their ESN strategy, adjusting where needed, to ensure that it is remains relevant to organisational objectives. We also implement processes to ensure that changes can be made with minimal effort going forward. This could include automating the establishment of new communities, with roles and responsibilities embedded throughout that process.

How can we help?

Have we won you over in the Yammer vs Workplace debate but you want to see how this has worked for someone else? If so, take a read of our 7 day Yammer success story with St John WA.

If you want to find out more about migrating to Microsoft Yammer and how it can help engage and connect your employee experience, review our Workplace to Yammer offer or get in touch directly.

Engage Squared is a strategic Microsoft partner, supporting customers to launch and embed Microsoft tools, including Yammer. We are the Microsoft 2021 Australian Partner of the Year with gold status across 6 competency areas.

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