Saturday, 23 June 2012

Yamming the new starter

A few months ago I was searching for a tool that might shift our business towards a more collaborative culture and to support the informal-formal learning continuum. I then introduced Yammer by stealth and have been watching it spread virally across a considerable sector of our organisation.

Currently the business is recruiting for a 'trainee program' and I'm now exploring the versatility of this enterprise social media platform in the context of onboarding. My vision for an extended onboarding program includes:

  • Building relationships across the new starter group, L&D & HR prior to commencement
  • Introducing the training program & transition-to-job process during pre-commencement period
  • Augmenting the formal training program, including reflective discussion
  • Exploring collaborative activities, particularly with transition-to-job
  • Establishing & supporting a broad learning network on-the-job
  • Supporting learning in the workflow, to sustain a ‘work is learning – learning is work’ culture

When I revisited Yammer to drill down into functionality, it confirmed my thinking around versatility on a single platform. When I began listing the features of Yammer it became apparent that they’re too numerous to discuss comprehensively in this space. However, I’ll concisely outline a few features of Yammer that meet my requirements.

1. Provides an internally secure social media tool

2. Simplicity of use compatible with Facebook

3. Enables special interest groups such as a new starter / on boarding

4. External groups can be formed which would enable relationship building prior to start date

5. Provides for Posting Polls & Praising individuals which may be useful in formal learning & beyond

6. Easy to add links & share documents

7. Useful toolbar gadgets such as ’Yam it’ for sharing internet content

8. iPhone & Android mobile apps available for on-the-go learning

9. Search engine for locating threads of interest or subject matter experts from profile tags

10. Search for expertise across organisation to support collaboration, pull learning & learning networks

11. Pages function to provide a group document space for collaborative work in formal learning

12. Provides a sense of connection for new starters seeking to become accepted into a community

13. Freeware provides more than adequate functionality

For these reasons I see Yammer as my preferred enterprise social media platform.

Yammer seems to have now gathered a critical mass, including some of the key players in the business and has even reached the CEO this week! As serendipity has it, I’ve now fallen into an ‘unofficial’ working party, which has seen a flurry of activity over the last week. The challenge is now to get senior management endorsement for broad implementation and preferably to see them on the site as users.

I’m quietly optimistic that I may be reporting back in the coming months about the implementation and application of Yammer across the workplace learning continuum.

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