This blog was updated in March 2023 following the announcement that Yammer is being retired. If you want to know how the announcement will impact you, get in touch.
With Yammer now fully integrated into Viva Engage – and due to be completely phased out by the end of 2023 – the features of this social platform are now a firm lynchpin of the Microsoft Engage toolset. Viva Engage can now boast an intuitively designed, business-centric social network that brings employees together to share and communicate, to build and strengthen relationships and ideas.
A key part of the Microsoft 365 suite since 2014, Yammer became established as a unique, accessible, highly inclusive platform for communicating, sharing, educating, and engaging employees in an organic way. These experiences have all now been folded into the Viva Engage brand and Yammer features power the core of the Viva Engage tool.
The bulk of the content within Viva Engage is generated by the people using it and so, naturally, employees become producers, Q&A experts, and moderators. As well as this rich UGC, the network can be peppered with pieces of corporate information, pushed to the relevant employees and groups at the appropriate time.
Communicate to the individual – en masse
Viva Engage – powered by Yammer – is excellent for company-wide announcements and engagement.
Unlike Teams – which is better suited to communication, collaboration and sharing between smaller groups – Viva Engage allows you to push comms messages into all or selected feeds. Additionally, ‘seen counts’ allow you to track the number of people who have viewed your announcement.
Pull knowledge from the knowledge pool
Viva Engage gives organisations the ability to consistently share information across departments, locations, and even time zones.
Rather than sending an email to ask for information about a topic, users can post into a Yammer group or – depending how the business has configured the set up – cast a query out to multiple groups, or even company-wide. Department heads and leadership can keep an eye on groups and choose whether to answer questions or validate responses, but essentially Engage introduces the efficiency of a crowdsourced, self-moderating knowledge library.
Some companies chose to set up specific Viva Engage groups dedicated to asking and answering questions and have reported a marked increase in agility and responsiveness as a result.
Educate by stealth
Viva Engage’s constant stream of widely-accessible content, chat and information sharing means that a user – regularly accessing the platform – will inevitably accumulate knowledge and be able to drill down into topic areas that spark interest.
Like any social network the value from Yammer builds with the number of active users, and the frequency and volume of their content posts. So, for the company leadership, seeding, encouraging, and demonstrating engaged behaviours on the platform are key from the outset.
If you want to give a department or company-wide shout out for a great project delivery, a record sales month, or a new appointment, Viva Engage – powered by Yammer – is your forum.
Plaudits and celebrations can be generated centrally or by teams, groups, or individuals. It gives teams the perfect forum to showcase and recognise achievements, while negating the issues of a disparate or physically disconnected workforce.
Run Viva Engage in your organisation, particularly in conjunction with the more project-focused Teams , and you are opening yourself up to discussion threads, welcoming opinion, and enabling employees to engage in genuine, personality-laden chat about work (and sometimes non-work) matters.
It is here in Viva Engage that the work, methods, culture, and personality of your organisation is reflected and built on. Savvy and engaged leadership can use Engage to watch out for shifts in sentiment and tone (in a parental non-Big Brother way) and get an early heads up on any issues arising, while new starter employees can quickly pick up on the tone and style of communication within different teams.
Have fun while collaborating
Viva Engage is more relaxed than Teams, and unrestrained enough to be the perfect forum for posting gifs, jokes, and memes, while retaining enough structure to make it a valuable communication and engagement tool for any medium-to-large enterprise.
Ideas and projects sparked through a Viva Engage chat can be formalised and further developed in Teams. Users can move broad brush conversations to a more specific audience in Teams, for discussion and follow up. Equally, by using tabs Viva Engage #topics can be attached to a Teams channel to link the wider chat with the more focused project work.
As part of the Viva Engage toolset, the networking features powered by Yammer can also benefit from all the enhanced features within the tool such as:
Storyline Announcements for leaders – a way for leaders to share important information with people in their audience, their followers, and everyone in the organisation. Through their storyline announcements employees can discover, follow, and stay-up-to date with leaders.
Leadership Corner for employees – where employees can see and participate in activities from their leaders, take surveys and join the discussion with #Campaigns and AMAs (Ask Me Anything), and connect with new leaders across the company., and the employees drive the agenda through their questions.
Ask Me Anything Events – Ask Me Anything (AMA) meetings – which are building in popularity – are opportunities for team members to ask questions without fear of judgment. In Viva Engage these are set periods of time where a two-way communication can take place between leaders and employees. Leaders create the space for conversation through Engage.
Find out how we can help you adopt Viva Engage