Yammer

The New Yammer: What the Changes Mean for Internal Communicators

The new Yammer is coming! An exciting overhaul of the product was recently announced at Microsoft Ignite. The changes coming in 2020 position Yammer as the viable internal communications tool we knew it could be. Microsoft is placing special emphasis on four key use cases with the improvements, including leadership engagement and company-wide conversation.

With an emphasis on open, inclusive conversation, Yammer has re-named “groups,” now referring to them as “communities.” This recognizes the real heart of what Yammer is good at — bringing employees together to connect, sharing knowledge, participating in company-wide conversations, and connecting with leaders. The new look of Yammer sleeker, and more simplified. It eliminates the unnecessary “extra” and leaves a cleaner interface. The Yammer home page has been simplified to one main news feed (versus having to switch between “Discovery,” “All” and “Following.”) The new design shows us a more refined card view for each post, with updated treatment for different post types such as polls, questions, or praise. In addition to revamping the interface, there are some great new functional changes coming too. Below are eight changes we are most excited about.

8 Yammer Improvements for Internal Communicators

1. Brand your homepage.

Admins have the ability to upload the company logo onto the Yammer homepage, adding an element of customization to the SaaS platform.

Why is this important? The familiarity of a company logo creates a sense of connection. It gives employees the corporate “stamp of approval” that Yammer is a safe place to share knowledge and insights safely. There are other “hacks” for personalizing Yammer for your organization, too, but they take a bit more work.

2. Capture video and post more easily from mobile.

The new Yammer experience is optimized for mobile. Post type options – announcements, polls, praise, and questions – are made clear to users working from their mobile device. Videos can be captured, trimmed, and uploaded instantly from mobile. Going forward, all new features will be available concurrently or ahead of the web experience.

Why is this important? Yammer isn’t just for desk-bound workers. Executives on the go need an easy way to connect in a more human way by sharing video at site visits, at the airport or in a taxi. Employees who are on the go want a visually appealing experience they’ve come to expect from other mobile apps.

MORE: 5 Myths about Yammer: What’s Real, What’s Wrong and How to Decide if it’s Right for You

3. Pin a conversation.

Admins will have the ability to pin a post to the top of their community (group), so that the post will be the first post that someone sees whenever they visit. The post will remain there until the admin chooses to un-pin the post.

Why is this important? Communicators need a more obvious way to highlight important content in their Yammer community, including the “All Company” community. Admins already have the announcement feature, but sometimes there is a need to keep the most important information at the top of the feed to help ensure that members have had a chance to read and digest it. The previous method of pinning content in the right rail was less obvious and did not display content fully, forcing users to click through to see the information—not ideal if you are a communicator who wants to keep important information top of mind for your members. This “pin a post” feature brings Yammer in line with other social apps, which is a plus for communicators and members alike, since the familiarity factor is high.

4. Close a conversation.

This feature allows you to close a post for commenting at any time you choose.

Why is this important? As a communicator, or someone who leads a community (group) in Yammer, there may be times when you want to state a designated time period for accepting feedback, or possibly direct feedback to a different, more private channel. For example, if your leader is sharing an announcement that could be considered sensitive in some way, the best course of action may be to use Yammer to reach your target audience but to invite feedback on a more private channel by providing the link, instead of using comments on Yammer. Or, there might be a time-sensitive subject that you want to collect feedback on & foster the conversation directly within Yammer. But, to avoid future confusion, you decide to close out the conversation in Yammer after a stated time period so that while a record of the conversation remains, employees will understand that the conversation and follow-up associated with the subject has concluded.

5. Filter your community feed.

You will now have the ability to filter your community feed to just show questions or unanswered questions.

Why is this important? As a communicator, Yammer community (group) admin, or even a team lead, it is your job to stay on top of the activity in your community. And, that means supporting adoption by helping members get the answers they need. Of course, you are not expected to know all the answers yourself — you can always tag an expert to weigh in. But filtering your community feed to see what questions are being asked will allow you keep an eye on the overall sentiment of the group as well as help ensure that members are getting responses in a timely manner. 

6. Add a community (group) cover photo.

This is another update that not only brings more visual interest to Yammer, but puts Yammer in line with other social apps.

Why is this important? Using a community (group) cover photo will help you brand your community in Yammer and tie it in visually with other channels that you may be using, such as portal graphics or email newsletters. A cover image can also be updated at any time, which means you could add important information or use it as a promotional tool for events or deadlines.

7. Interact with Yammer directly from email.

The email notifications from Yammer have gotten a major overhaul, and they are now more visually appealing, easy to read, and most importantly, interactive. You will be able to like, reply, vote on polls, see poll results, mark a best answer — right within the email itself.

Why is this important? Community Managers might not like this option, because it doesn’t bring people into their broader Yammer community. But, let’s face it, many employees “live” in their email for many reasons — company culture, their role requires it, or maybe email is the one common tool used across a diverse assortment of tools offered at your company. At Talk Social to Me, we think interaction in whatever way possible is great. It adds more voices and helps people who are “too busy” to take a step in the direction of collaboration.

8. Cut down on clutter.

Yammer has eliminated posts about new group creation and new users joining from the All Company community.

Why is this important? Join notifications and new group creations used to clutter the All Company community. Clearing out some of the noise will help users to better perceive the feed as a place for timely, relevant corporate updates.

Conclusion

The 2020 overhaul of Yammer is promising for corporate and executive communications. The changes should help Yammer to become accessible to more employees, to reduce unnecessary noise, and to help corporate communicators better ensure their posts are seen. If Microsoft were to add a “schedule posts” feature in the future, the platform would check nearly every box communicators expect out of a comparable app. The future of the platform is bright, and we can’t wait to see what’s next in the #YearofYammer. If you need help getting the most out of Yammer, schedule an introduction with Talk Social to Me.

For more Yammer resources, check out our Yammer and Microsoft Teams resource page.

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