37 Ways MIT Uses Yammer

January 22, 2013

Yammer is an enterprise social platform being used by a few thousand employees at MIT for networking, project management, faculty-student collaboration, teamwork, onboarding, learning, talent management, team formation, and more.

Here is a list of actions we take on Yammer. Word of advice: Yammer is as awesome as you make it. Collaboration starts with you.

  1.  Ask for feedback. Tell everyone what you’re working on or an idea for which you want feedback.
  2. List your expertise in your bio so people know what you do beyond the job title listed in the MIT directory.
  3. Share interesting links to research, articles, infographics, etc.
  4. Post something fun. Help people loosen up when the stress is high.
  5. Upload a PDF to gather comments and feedback.
  6. Start a page and edit the document together in real-time (or on your own schedules).
  7. Post an event or meeting - it only takes one click to RSVP. This can save an administrative assistant from having to sift through emails and count responses.
  8. Tag posts and documents with topics so people can search for them later.
  9. Start a poll to get some immediate feedback (what to order for lunch, when to hold a meeting, what course of action should be taken on a project).
  10. Post an idea. See what ideas build from it in the replies.
  11. Ask a thought-provoking question. Or share a question already asked. (I asked my colleagues "What is a thought leader?" and got some great responses.)
  12. Ask when you don't know who to ask. One colleague had a question, but didn't know who to email or even which office to approach. Several helpful responses answered her question quickly. This process a lot less frustrating than calling around different offices, searching on different websites, or sending several emails in an effort to reach someone who might know the answer.
  13. Answer questions. When you see a question, try helping out.
  14. Thank someone. Their manager might see it.
  15. Praise someone for a specific achievement. The Yammer praise feature is a great form of recognition because it is visible to everyone in the team.
  16. ‘Like’ a post to acknowledge you’ve read it and are on board.
  17. Start a private Yammer group for a team within your department.
  18. Start a public Yammer group (public = MIT-only) for a job function relevant to many departments. For example, we have a Yammer group called "MIT Communicators/Writers/Editors" for all MIT employees whose job involves communications, writing, and/or editing. Don't create a new group until you have searched first. It is likely a similar group already exists.
  19. Join an interest group that spans many departments across MIT. For example, the iPads at MIT group, the training-at-MIT group, the Web Design and Development group, or the bicycle commuters group. While the admin of a moira list (email list) is usually unclear, Yammer is clear: it displays the admin for each group.
  20. Participate in all-company discussions: now you can work out of your silo.
  21. Follow someone. Network outside your department!
  22. Finally learn the name of the colleague you took too long to introduce yourself to, or forgot the name of, without the awkward asking-the-name-again part.
  23. Introduce yourself in person more easily to a colleague you’ve never met: “I’ve noticed you on Yammer!”
  24. Connect with people in different departments with similar job titles, project types, or interests – people you would not have met otherwise!
  25. Learn. Watch how others work, read their ideas, and follow experts.
  26. Send a private message. Discuss an idea one-on-one with someone outside the group setting.
  27. Reduce emails: hold a discussion on Yammer. It will show up as one thread that can collapse rather than several separate emails.
  28. Give updates. Yammer allows you to be more transparent with your team and keep them in the know without them feeling like their inboxes are over-burdened.
  29. Discuss within groups. Email requires setting up filters. While in email you may have to manually categorize emails from a colleague who is a member of multiple groups, discussions happen within groups on Yammer, so your discussions are already separated by those groups.
  30. Forward newsletters without the forward. Instead of forwarding an interesting html email from a subscription, click on "can’t view this email" at the top of the HTML design to be taken to the web version and then link to the web version of the newsletter in Yammer. No more email with awkward indents.
  31. Find files quickly. Files are all stored within the files tab so you don’t have to search through your email for that attachment again. All files are automatically stored together. Phew!
  32. Follow a document. Click on "follow" next to a document and be able to know when a newer version of that document is uploaded.
  33. Tag someone in a discussion to alert them that you need their participation.
  34. Post a powerpoint presentation to promote discussion underneath the whole presentation. Colleagues can also comment on individual slides. No more emailing presentations back and forth!
  35. Photos. Post a photo from an event. You can also post infographics, visualizations, charts, graphs, etc.
  36. Link to a video. YouTube videos play right in Yammer instead of taking you to the YouTube site. I have used this for posting Lynda.com training videos from their YouTube channel.
  37. Meeting Notes. Post your meeting notes and allow people to ‘like’ to acknowledge they’ve read them. Less silence from the team  (“did they actually read it?”) or lots of “ok” or “thanks” responses as separate emails. Also, team members can comment right below the file – no extra messages to take up inbox space.

How do you use Yammer to work more effectively and collaboratively with your team? Stephanie Hatch

Posted By
Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Former MIT Social Media Strategist

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