Getting the Most Out of Office 365: Yammer Over Email, Part 2
Email was invented in 1971 and much to the annoyance of people all over the world, it remains the dominant tool for business communication. Gmail made email cool again, but advertisers and reply-alls could not be stopped from ruining it right away. Because everyone has enough work, you don’t need communication to be a chore too.
If you’re lucky, then your company has subscribed to Office 365 and included Yammer. If your IT department is anything like mine, then they set up your email on Outlook and made sure you had Excel working, then left you to figure out the rest on your own. So now you have a choice to make, keep using email like it is still the 70s or learn a new tool. But which tool should you learn? Easy, learn Yammer.
Variety of Communication
Email is so simple, it can be painful for the sender and the recipient(s). If you work in HR and need to make a company-wide announcement, then you run the risk of your important information getting lost in people’s inboxes. With Yammer, you can make a special type of post called an Announcement, which stands out from other posts. Similar to the Announcement post; a Praise is a special type of post which can be used to acknowledge employees for achievements.
Long email chains might be the worst possible tool to make group decisions. Being a modern platform, Yammer is built with polling in mind. Polls are like regular posts with the added ability to vote on a bunch of different choices. Like posts you can inline mention people, attach documents, and add topics. A quick poll could take the place of a meeting; keep discussion in the comments; share documents; change your vote; then make the decision without destroying your inbox.
One of the primary faults of email revolves around the issues that you cannot remove yourself from a conversation, and generally every email goes into the same box. Your email inbox has one number, which signifies how many unread emails you have. From the email’s perspective, there is no difference between an email from the CEO or an all company announcement email. Luckily Yammer was built with the actual business world in mind. Conversations can be muted, or unsubscribed from; you can hold polls to make decisions; easily pass a message to the team as a passive FYI; and acknowledge communication without adding to the noise.
To keep up with a conversation you can choose to follow the post and be notified with updates. When you are done following, just unfollow the post to cut down on your notifications. Documents that are added to a post can be viewed and edited in the browser, or downloaded for offline use. Keep a conversation on track by adding a topic to the post. Topics help to define the boundaries of a conversation to avoid one post from covering everything.
While topics can help to keep a conversation on track, they are a powerful tool for discovery. Click on topics to find all the conversations across your company’s network. Depending on the size and breakdown of your company, you could discover different conversations from people you do not directly work with. Using accurate and descriptive topics can help you find the solutions to problems your company has already solved.
Groups are helpful to keep communications all together in one location. Browse groups you’ve joined to keep up on conversations an issues occurring in your products or teams. Now instead of needing to CC every team member on all team emails, you can hold conversations in the group and while not every team member gets a notification, they can all keep up or follow conversations if they desire.
Any company who truly takes full advantage Yammer will take full advantage of groups. Make groups based around teams, products, new initiatives, or less serious endeavors. Make informal or open ended groups public which enables anyone from your company to find, view, and join. Planning a company outing or deciding on how to decorate the new office could all get captured in one place by a group. The future of communication is sophisticated, flexible, discoverable, and called Yammer.