I confess. I was selfish. I was only thinking of myself.
When I suggested that we introduce Working Out Loud at my workplace, yes…I was thinking about how my colleagues could achieve meaningful goals, and how they could improve their career or personal life, but those were not my only concerns. Mostly, I was thinking about how Working Out Loud could help our Yammer networks.
Our staff has been using Yammer for almost three years to communicate and collaborate internally in a home network, and with members of our organization in an external network. While staff Yammer adoption was strong enough, I recognized it could be stronger. And maybe, if through Working Out Loud we could better appreciate the value of sharing information and working in a collaborative platform, our Yammer engagement rates would grow even stronger.
Recently, a member of one of our Working Out Loud Circles made a comment about a post I had made in our home network regarding Yammer engagement rates as found in Swoop, our Yammer analytics platform. She had come across my post while doing research in support of her Working Out Loud goal, and was amazed to realize how much our engagement levels supported the overall goals of Working out Loud, which encourages people to network, leading with generosity, and to make work visible, and framed as a contribution.
Swoop Analytics sets every user’s Yammer activity in the context of any one of five different engagement personas, or levels. While there is no incorrect engagement persona for a user to have, the overall goal is to achieve the highest “Engager” level, which means you are asking questions on your Yammer network, sharing information and staying connected to people.
If someone is making posts less than twice a week, and they don’t reply to anyone else, their personal level is “OBSERVER.”
A “BROADCASTER” makes more posts than they receive replies. A lot of information is pushed out. Additionally, they don’t often reply to other peoples’ posts.
Along the same lines “RESPONDER” makes many more contributions than they receive replies, but their contributions are usually replies, likes and posts. They are a bit more engaged than their “broadcaster” colleagues.
Now, the pendulum begins to swing a bit. A “CATALYST” receives more replies than they make contributions. They are making posts that people care about, and they are inspiring people to action.
Rather than necessarily being the most active user, the “ENGAGER” has an even balance of contributions and replies. They post, they click the “like” button, they reply, they are interacting with people, and people are interacting with them.
All these levels refer to Yammer activity, but they also make perfect sense when looking at them in the context of Working Out Loud.
We are going to experience less Working Out Loud success and growth if we only “OBSERVE” what is happening. If we never reach out to people, if we never have anything to share, if we never express our appreciation, we will make little progress in sharing information, or connecting to more people.
A key part of Working Out Loud that when we network, we do so leading with generosity. We consider first what we have to share, rather than that which we might receive. Sometimes that means we broadcast the information we each have. We share what we know. But, if we only broadcast, if we only push out, we are not letting very much back in. We are not learning.
If we are Working Out Loud at a “RESPONDER” level, that means we are probably not being very proactive. We are only doing what we have to do, and we are not being thoughtful about what we have to share or how we might be able to help others.
When we are at the “CATLYST” level working at a level where we are actively reading the posts of others, and we are sharing information that people care about, and information that people respond to.
Finally, when we are Working Out Loud at the “ENGAGER” level, we are networking with a true spirit of generosity and empathy. We care about the information that people are sharing, and people care about the information we are sharing. We “like” the posts that we see, we comment on how the information has helped us, and we share the information with others in our network.
In turn, others are “liking” the information we share. Our network is growing, and together with our contacts, we are learning new things and we see real, meaningful improvement in our life both at home and at work.
Working Out Loud has indeed helped our Yammer networks to grow, but only when we use our analytics are we able to truly understand the key ingredients to that growth, and to understanding how Yammer really can help us find a true level of connection, transparency, engagement and success.with our colleagues and members of our organization.