Working at Yammer, I’m constantly amazed at its many uses in the workplace. I’m using Notes to take and maintain minutes from meetings with clients as we map out how to roll out training to them. I’m sharing Files with my colleagues for feedback and discussion, utilizing their countless stories and experiences. I’ve been able to discuss and share ideas on upcoming projects with co-workers on the other side of the country, some whom I’ve never even met. Yammer is really changing the way I’ve viewed “working.” As I’m writing this, I can’t believe I’ve only been at this job for a little over five months. From delivering training at client sites, to facilitating Power User Training at Yammer on Tour to speaking at sessions at Microsoft’s World Partner Conference, the last five months have been a whirlwind. The most amazing thing though is that I was at full productivity after about a month into the job. Since Day 1 at Yammer, I’ve been able to hit the ground running. I don’t think it would have been possible, if Yammer wasn’t used as part of the onboarding process. Now, you must be thinking, Yammer for onboarding?
From the get go, I’ve been immersed in Yammer. Before my official start date, I was given access to an external network called Yammerversity. This gave me a chance to work in Yammer right away and expose myself to its different features and functionality. (I came from a company that did not use Yammer, so this was my first exposure to it). Through this, Yammer and I were able to achieve a couple of things:
1. I became familiar and comfortable with my new job role.
As more and more people continue to use Yammer within a company, it becomes a knowledge repository. Conversations specific to my team and around their notes and files, are a treasure trove of information on getting up to speed. Being able to see the discussions behind every webinar and presentation, really helped me to know what was expected of me and how I could immediately contribute to the team. Part of my onboarding process was to go through the Yammer certifications. As I was going through them, I shared my feedback on things that needed to get updated and how to improve some of the quiz questions. This was then used to update our certifications.
2. I was able to learn about company culture and get access to job related resources.
Cynthia Hanson put a fantastic Preboarding Note together that contained links to various e-Learning modules covering Yammer basics, the history of Yammer, and the culture of the company. By the time I stepped into the office, I already had a sense of the people and the company. Once I was given full access to the home network, I was added to a group called Yammer New Hires, which had additional Notes on benefits information and company sites I should be aware of. The best resource of them all though was all of the conversations that had already happened. When I had questions about our commuter benefits, I did a quick search and found my answer. If I couldn’t find an answer on Yammer, I could post it to the company (in the appropriate group, of course), and know that someone will be able to help me out.
3. I was able to start to build relationships and network.
The first thing you’re supposed to do once you’re granted access to the Yammer home network, is to post a #bammerintro. Bammer is a nickname for a baby Yammer, or a noob. In your
Bammer intro, you are supposed to introduce yourself to the company and share a little bit about yourself. Folks across the company can “Like” your message and reply with their own welcomes and greetings. This one little exercise is a great start to building relationships. When I finally visited the company headquarters, people already knew who I was and I knew who they were based on our interactions in Yammer. I already felt like part of the team, before I actually met them Allison, Cynthia B., Cynthia H., Kristin, Louise, and Natalie.
4. I was able to feel engaged and valued.
Working out loud in Yammer creates transparency in what I’m working on and what other people are working on to. Allison has mentioned me on conversations that she thinks are relevant to me or that I can provide value to. Through this transparency, I can see my comments and suggestions are being read and used. Just the other day, I put together a deck about what to do now that you’re a Yammer Certified Power User. Allison loved the idea and wanted to use it in our other certification programs.
These are just a few of the ways Yammer has eased my transition to my new job. If you’re looking for a way to jolt your onboarding program, try making it a little more “social,” you’ll be pleased with the results. I know I was.
So, how about you, the Yammer community? Have you tried to “socialize” your new hires? What are you learning? How can a tool like Yammer help facilitate and enable those conversations and communities?