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STOP. Yammertime. How to smash your Yammer launch 

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STOP. Yammertime. How to smash your Yammer launch 

It’s fantastic when we learn from others who are producing award worthy, super successful, creative work.

Here we share some practical takeaways, cheeky tips and lessons learnt.

We spoke to Natalie Corney, Corporate Communications Manager at Brent Council, shortlisted for the creative comms entry in the Comms2Point0 Unawards for their ‘STOP. Yammertime’ launch campaign.

Tell us about your campaign

The campaign was created to introduce a new internal communications social media channel (Yammer) to the organisation.

What was the objective?

  • To give employees a platform to share ideas and connect with each other
  • To free capacity for our IC officer to work on more strategic projects
  • To improve the speed of communications across the organisation
  • To improve opportunities for praise and recognition
  • To improve our channels so they were available to everyone with access to a smart device

Who supported you?

It wasn’t as easy as pushing at an open door, but it wasn’t the worst battle I’ve ever had to face to introduce something.

Carolyn Downs, our Chief Exec (pictured) thought we were bonkers, but we were so enthusiastic, she agreed to it.

Since then she has stood up in front of all her managers and said how skeptical she was, but that she was wrong and that it’s a great thing for the organisation.

What challenges or setbacks did you face?

No surprises here – lack of budget, lack of time (though I was insistent that is wasn’t going to be pushed back and be one of those projects where the deadline just kept slipping).

We wanted to make it as simple as possible for everyone to use. For me, this meant single sign on – we have enough passwords and log-ins to remember as it is, adding another one would guarantee people wouldn’t use it. Our digital services team worked hard to get this set up, to make sure people were pre-registered and that the app was automatically downloaded onto all work devices, including mobiles and tablets.

What made this a particularly creative campaign?

We are a council so we have very little cash to play with and no dedicated internal comms budget.

As a result, everything we did came in at less than £100. Now that requires buckets of creativity!

Everything was done in-house. We used a mix of digital and traditional methods, along with bribery including cake and badges!

Activity included:

  • Digital screens in the buildings announcing that Yammer was coming!
  • Help videos and online tutorials
  • YammerLabs– drop-in spaces for people to ask questions and gain support one-to-one
  • Online support through Messenger
  • Our trustee Yambassadors– key influencers and first adopters
  • A Yambassadorsreception with actual Ferrero Rochers
  • Yambassadorbadges – people were dying to get their hands on these!
  • Cakes – yes, we admit it, we bribed people with our DIY Yammer-branded cakes
  • A limerick competition
  • A treasure hunt (which sent people off looking for actual yams, taking pictures and uploading them to Yammer when they had found them)
  • Handy sign-up cards with top tips, delivered to every office desk and outstation building
  • Regular comms through other channels including weekly emails, email specials, intranet articles and homepage banners
  • Getting the app downloaded onto everyone’s work mobiles in advance

What was the outcome?

The numbers are plain to see:

  • We had 97 per cent of employees active on Yammer within six months of our go live date
  • In the first week (April) 820 people had joined
  • Four weeks after launch, this had risen to 1,200
  • During September, we had 1,796 engaged users (86 per cent of employees), 554 messages were posted in 48 active groups (117 groups in total)
  • As of mid-October, six months after live date, we had 2,041 users

And it’s kept going. 

We’ve most definitely hit all our objectives, we’ve freed up our internal comms officer to be able to focus on more strategic work, rather than posting intranet messages about the lifts not working, rooms being unavailable, and various other low level (but useful) information.

Our intranet is now kept for big key stories and messages. As an example, our intranet newsfeed reduced from 28 stories being written and published in March 2016 to just two in August 2016.

The speed of communications has also improved. We post during meetings, workshops and events. Our employees post whilst they are out on the road and we are sharing more good news stories that ever before. For example, our environmental waste teams have started to post before and after pictures of streets they have cleared of illegally dumped rubbish.

Yammer has made things happen!

  • Colleagues are being asked for their opinions
  • Employees are building connections with each other
  • Senior management visibility has improved
  • People now have a voice and an online presence
  • Significant time savings
  • Picking up on more news and achievements
  • As a comms team, we have improved our relationships with colleagues

What did you learn from it?

I learnt that enthusiasm can take you a long way and that sometimes you have to dig your heels in and not let deadlines slip.

Just because it might be difficult to achieve, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

You don’t need big budgets to achieve big results.

Finally, I learned how important it was to speak to people who had done a similar thing before, so that we could learn from them about what did and didn’t work.

What advice would you give to those considering a comms campaign?

If it requires people to do something, make it as simple as possible.

If that means you have to fight for changes in services to make it work, then that’s where you need to start or you’ll just be wasting your time and effort.

Thank you, Natalie (pictured) for sharing such a fun, creative and inspiring campaign!

You can contact Natalie:

on LinkedIn or Twitter to find out more.

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Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

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Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

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Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

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Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

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Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

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Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

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Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

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Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

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Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

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Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

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Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
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