The urge to shout it from the mountaintop is strong. Where ever you find yourself, when you have important information to share, you want to share it. You want to share it loudly. You want everyone to hear. You want everyone to listen. You want people to listen to you. But do they listen when you are shouting? From the mountaintop? Probably not.
Let’s try an experiment. Go out to any street corner. It can be a busy street corner, or just the end of your suburban block. Situate yourself and start to talk. Loudly. Tell people about the webinar you are hosting at the end of the week, or the new policy that your company just adopted. Say it loud enough so people can hear, and that they have the information you want them to have. They don’t need to respond, but you just need some indication they’ve heard you. If you speak loudly enough, do you think they will engage with the information? Do you think they will be interested? Probably not.
These people are not engaging with the information for many possible reasons. Most likely, people don’t like to be talked at, they like to be talked to, they like to be part of a conversation. What might be meaningful for one person is not meaningful for the next person. People are busy. They are walking down the street with their head down. They are talking on the phone. They are thinking about other things. They don’t want to engage. They don’t want to hear what you have to say.
So if they don’t listen to you when you are actually talking to them, why should they listen when you are emailing, or posting, or tweeting?
My colleagues often come to me frustrated that more people don’t engage with their posts in our organizational Yammer enterprise social network. They make a post, often as an announcement, often in the default All Company group, and hope that everyone will engage with the information that has been shared. They wonder why they have not gotten more “likes.” They wonder why they have not gotten more replies. “This is important news…shouldn’t more people have replied?” Probably not.
When we yell on a street corner, or we make an announcement post in Yammer, we are likely simply pushing information out. Nobody is replying because we haven’t asked them to. We haven’t asked them a question, we haven’t recognized their work or their expertise, and we are not being empathetic to their concerns.
The All Company group in Yammer is often seen as the potential”cure-all” that it never turns out to be. As soon as an employee joins a Yammer network, they are automatically part of the All Company group. So, it goes to reason (some would think) that if everyone is in that group, then the All Company is the best place to post. “Shout it from the mountaintops,” in a place that everyone can hear. Yeah, probably not. Posting in All Company is probably not the best solution, that is…until now.
Though 2020 has been an overall terrible and crappy year as we deal with a global pandemic and recession, 2020 is also the #YearofYammer, a year filled with new functionality and features giving users new ways to engage with information and connect with colleagues. A major renovation to Yammer still has the previously dreaded All Company group, but it has been improved. Now, we no longer have to shout.
All Company Customization
It used to be there was not a whole lot Yammer administrators could do with the Yammer All Company group, but that is about the change. The group can now be customized with photos, and the name can be customized, so instead of it always being called “All Company” it can now be called “ACME Employee Lounge,” or whatever will suit the needs of your organization and brand.
Post with Video
Rather than making yet another post that your staff will have to read, make a video post on your way into work. Using the new Yammer mobile app, post a short video greeting helping everyone to start the day, provide an important update, or even better, ask for feedback on an important issue. Let them see your face, let them hear your voice, let them connect with your urgency, interest, and passion.
Host a Live Event
Taking the video idea a step further, host a live video meeting event in your All Company group. Rather than breaking off into Zoom or Facetime, host your meeting where your information lives. Host your meeting in a way that encourages and memorializes conversation.
Post as a Question
Beyond just using a question mark, Yammer users can make their post appear with an icon that clarifies a question is being asked. Questions get more responses in Yammer than statements. In fact, the simple act of including a question mark in your post results in 75% more average replies, so make your post a question. You can indicate which response is the best response, making it easier for everyone to get the information they need.
Close the Conversation
Sometimes, a Yammer post and its ensuing conversation has run its course, and now the conversation can be closed preventing additional replies. Some may think that this could artificially end a meaningful conversation. Others may think that the network is getting the attention and care it deserves, and once a conversation has been closed it is now time to move on to other issues.
So, What Should We do?
Making posts in the generic All Company group should be done with strategy and care. Most times, it is a better decision to post in a public, subject-specific group. Public group access ensures that the entire organization will still be able to see the post, whether they are in the group or not, and now the post will be easier to find again in the future, because it is in a particularly, and right place.
That is not to suggest, though, that the All Company group should never be used. It should be used. It should be used by organizational leaders posting about issues that effect everyone. Posts should be made using the available tools like video, the new question format, or even just tagging colleagues. Post with strategy, post with curiosity, post with empathy…just don’t shout from the mountain tops.