We were approached by HR Director and platform ‘owner’ Laurie Hibbs to answer three questions:
- How was Yammer being used: what were the true adoption and engagement levels?
- Were they really deriving the benefits from social collaboration they had hoped for?
- What could be done to drive greater adoption and further benefits?
By understanding current usage and future potential, our client wanted to understand how to better use the platform to further enhance customer service levels, improve the organisation’s ability to cross-sell and up-sell, and better meet competitive challenges in the marketplace.
Taking an outcome-focused approach, we began by revisiting the key business objectives for the UK operating company and the behavioural and cultural drivers of these outcomes. These were identified as:
- Fostering collaboration between teams
- Flattening the organisational hierarchy
- Improving employee engagement, and
- Enhancing internal communication.
This ‘driver model’ provided a framework to assess how effective the platform was in supporting the behaviours and ways of working needed to achieve targeted business outcomes.
Our research methodology used robust statistical techniques to explore relationships between Yammer metrics and employee attitudes, using platform metrics and employee engagement survey data. An in-depth investigation into Yammer activity was also conducted with analysis of end-user and conversational data, including topic modelling of content and network analysis of employee relationships on Yammer.
Our analysis revealed a number of powerful and actionable insights to the way Yammer was being used across the UK business:
- Cross-functional collaboration: Our analysis identified key hot spots of collaboration between teams across the organisation. In one case it could be seen that people from a number of departments were connecting, collaborating and sharing on a new product development project. This use case was played back to the organisation to support greater adoption, and explored through deep-dive analysis to understand the drivers and outcomes of this collaborative activity
- Inter-hierarchy connectivity: We found some evidence of hierarchical flattening, however the middle management level was acting as a ‘broker’ or conduit of conversations between senior management and the front line. This highlighted that ‘offline’ behaviour was being replicated on the platform, and underlined a need for supporting behaviour and culture change initiatives.
- Employee engagement: We found positive correlations between Yammer usage and attitudinal factors as evidenced by the employee engagement survey. Those employees most engaged and active on Yammer also rated themselves highly for “understanding the business strategy” and being able to “use my skills and abilities at work” in the employee engagement survey – both critical factors linked to higher levels of engagement and performance at the firm.
- Internal communication: Our analysis revealed the need to identify and build relationships with the key ‘influencers’ on the network to facilitate genuine engagement and dialogue, and resist using Yammer as a ‘push’ communications channel. For example, analysis showed that of the 10 most popular threads (based on responses and likes), none were generated ‘centrally’ and all had come via ‘non- traditional’ routes.
- Speed of execution: The approach provided insights to the agility and responsiveness of networks within the organisation and their ability to react to changing and unforeseen circumstances. According to Laurie Hibbs this is crucial: “LexisNexis is an information services business and so competitive advantage can be created when we can react quickly with the market. Having a measure of that fluidity is of enormous value”.
The project and findings not only established a clear case for continued investment in the platform, but the insights and recommendations were used to guide strategy in a number of areas including talent management, organisational development and employee engagement.
Summarising the impact of the project, Laurie Hibbs commented: “The level of insight provided has had a dramatic effect on our thinking about the way we use social collaboration technology to support our strategy.”