Last week we hosted an enjoyable conversation with Dean Swann and other Yammer customers on the topic of “what does success look like.” Dean gave some great advice and provoked a friendly discussion. There were lots of actionable ideas taken away from the conversation. Feel free to view the recording here, and if you'd like to join us in the Yammer Customer Connection Community email James Tyer (email address removed for privacy reasons ). 


Yammer Customer RoundtableYammer Customer Roundtable


The Effect of COVID on Yammer Usage 

To kick off the call we asked everyone “How has COVID changed your organization and how had Yammer helped to have an impact on that?”. From the many responses both “live” and in the chat, COVID has really highlighted the importance of having an open place to connect with others across our remote and hybrid organizations.  


As one participant said: “Leadership is now paying attention because…COVID. After pushing that rock up the hill, COVID hit and the lights went on for leadership. It was a big aha moment.” 


Other participants told everyone how COVID is the reason Yammer got turned on. Be sure to check out the recording to hear some great success stories for yourself.  


Understanding the Why? What? And How? of Yammer  

Dean took us on a journey through the #YamFam, including the recent LinkedIn article, followed by Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle as applied to Yammer. It was a friendly conversation, with lots of input from many of our participants.


Here are a few highlights....


The “Why?” of Yammer 

  • The most important thing you need to consider is how Yammer needs to support your organization’s culture and goals. If you can’t support the bottom line (or purpose), you might never be able to defend Yammer to leaders.  
  • The second most important thing is you must get the right people to do the right jobs. That means getting a dedicated community manager.  

Resource: Yammer Flipbook ; The guide to Community Management  


The “How?” of Yammer 

  • You need a strategy that directly helps to execute business goals.  
  • Strategy is about choice: see Roger Martin's book Playing to Win. You have to choose what you are going to do, and what you are not going to do. You cannot do everything and might be doomed to fail if you try and serve all business cases with Yammer 
  • We had some great stories of what customers chose not to do with Yammer: 
  • For example, one large company decided against letting any employee create a community in order to reduce additional noise in Yammer. They also wanted to ensure everyone who wanted to create a community got support in thinking through the purpose and how they would manage the community. 


The “What?” of Yammer 

  • For Dean, the “what” is all about governance. Everything from types of communities, community management, integrations etc. comes down to effective governance. Governance means you deliver on your strategy with Yammer capabilities.  
  • Governance will help determine how you go about rolling out Yammer 
  • But remember not to get hung up on a feature-driven rollout.  
  • We also talked about the benefit of not talking about a tool called Yammer, but how certain communities in Yammer are destinations for specific purposes. 

Resources: Campaign best practices  


We also jumped into a few other side topics: 

Sharing positive news and praise as a reason to launch Yammer 

  • We had some great ideas from participants for recognition in Yammer (and not just using Praise).  
  • The example Dean gives on recognition was based on an idea and experience by Melanie Hohertz. Dean's involvement was providing the analytics that supported Melanie and her team. 

:red_triangle_pointed_down:Red flags to watch out for: 

  • the moment you find yourself saying “people must” “people need to” “people should” … in Yammer, take a step back. Yammer is successful when it’s an invitation, not a command. Go back to “why?” and see how to better align with goals.  

Surprise communities in Yammer were shared:

  • Anime 
  • Ethics and compliance  
  • Blazers on top Pajamas on the bottom (remote working) 

And some great words of solace for Yammer owners: A Yammer and Exchange MVP walk into a Bar (Chart) ( 


We aim to host Best Practices Brainstorms monthly, with timing varying to cover the globe. Watch some of our previous Brainstorms here: 

Episode 3: Sticky Situations 

Episode 2: Going Native 

Episode 1 


If you’d like us to cover a particular topic, please let us know in the Yammer Customer Connections Community, or leave a comment below!