I realise now what we did wrong. It has been a few months since we started using Yammer as an internal social network, and over that time the number of users has grown steadily while the use has declined, and I have an idea about why that might be.
When we started with Yammer we created groups for each of the teams and departments across the organisation. But those teams didn’t have anything to post because they already work together and talk to each other. We set up Yammer to mirror how the organisation is set up. Yammer is supposed to be a collaboration tool, a means for individuals from different teams to work together on the same project but creating groups the way we did just reinforced the barriers between teams, it didn’t break them down. With the same virtual barriers in place as organisational ones, and no reason to post anything, Yammer wasn’t adopted and made as effective use of as it could have been.
We should have set up groups for each project or campaign that was being worked on, and invited everyone that was involved to join the group. Then there would have been a reason to post about what you are working on, ask questions and start discussions because the group would contain people who were working on the same project but not in the same team. And this would improve cross-functional working and provide a broader understanding of the whole project as people with different roles in the project share their experience, provide information, and get answers.
Yammer could have worked so much better for us, if only we had understood ourselves better before we started. But that’s not Yammer’s fault.