Overcoming 3 Common Barriers to Yammer Adoption

January 9, 2020

If you are looking to roll out Yammer to your organization, you will likely meet some resistance.

It’s natural!  Not everyone is going to be as passionate as you are about the virtues of Yammer, so you need to be prepared to empower your employees to give Yammer a try. Below are three common barriers to Yammer adoption I’ve experienced and how I addressed them.   

1. I don’t have time for Yammer: 

One of the most common barriers to Yammer adoption I work through in my company – even from those who aren’t against the idea of introducing a new technology.  Often that perspective comes from a lack of understanding on how they can use Yammer to save them time.  I get an understanding of what’s taking up their time, often it’s too many emails, too many meetings, and too much work.  Well, when used strategically, Yammer could help them on all these fronts. 

Additionally, I have found that many individuals receive a lot of emails from people asking questions – “how do I”, “do you know who”, etc.  which then triggers a whole host of other emails, because they invariably end up getting repeatedly copied on the responses back and forth.  I point out that Yammer can help eliminate that, because employees post their question in the appropriate community– they are no longer dependent on who they know.  They then get a response, or multiple responses, often within minutes.  Now how’s that for saving time! 

Lastly, while Yammer may not reduce work load, it may help them get it done quicker!  Not sure how to do something (technical or otherwise)?  Wondering if someone has a template for what they need to do?  Need information quickly?  Employees can ask the Yammer community and get the collective brain power of the number of employees on your Yammer network.  In our case it’s 17,000 and growing every day.  Don’t underestimate the power of this aspect of Yammer.   

Pro Tip: Follow up with specific and relevant examples of communities to the group you are working with to overcome the objection.  If I’m developing marketing material, I cite more general groups that would be of interest to a lot of people like the Mobile Device updates group which covers all things related to mobility at BMO. 

2. I don’t need it – I’ve got other tools like email, messaging: 

The key to overcoming this barrier is to help employees understand that each tool has very different use cases.  In training sessions and launch material, we make it clear that Yammer is a collaboration tool to exchange ideas between people you know and people you don’t. 

Yammer helps expand your employees' network, enabling them to broaden the diversity of the feedback and ideas that they receive. Be sure to make it clear how Yammer differs from email.  These tools depend on you knowing the recipient and is a targeted form of communication unlike Yammer where you join communities of practice or create communities around a common area of interest or initiatives.   
 
Additionally, with Yammer, the conversations are persistent, easily searchable, and accessible to anyone inside or outside that Yammer community, provided it’s a public community.   A great use case to provide them to really highlight the difference is using Yammer to onboard new employees to their team, or organization.  Bonus – it also saves them time, because they don’t have to answer a bunch of questions that have already been answered!   

3. It’s New: 

 

Okay, let’s face it, nobody is going to admit to you that they aren’t going to use Yammer because it’s new technology, but often barriers 1 and 2 above are masking the real barrier – Yammer is another tool they have to learn and integrate into the way they work. 

People are busy, the last thing they have time for is to learn a new tool  – you need to help them realize that they actually do need Yammer.  I find that most people are totally willing to learn something new if they either A) feel they will get a benefit from it or B) feel like they are missing out or being left behind if they don’t get access.   

 

To help them understand the benefits of Yammer, I provide them with specific use cases that address real challenges they are experiencing, not just as a team but also personally.  You need to help people understand what’s in it for them.  Understand who your audience is, for example, if you have a dog lover and there is a Yammer community about dogs, tell them!  But that may not work for everyone. Some aren’t interested in any non-work-related communities. Understanding your audience is key.   

 

The other drivers of adoption is what I wrote about in 7 Tips to Run a Successful Yammer Group which is FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out.  I make sure our employees know how many of their peers are on Yammer.  Our network is pretty big and continues to grow, that makes people wonder why.  What might they be missing out on?   

 

Pro tips:   

  • Leverage your champions to ensure that they are coaching people to share their messages in Yammer. The more that is posted, the more people will want to get on to Yammer to get the latest news. 
  • Tag Yammer posts that provide examples of helpful tips, useful information that was only shared in Yammer, etc. so you can leverage them later as required.   
  • Don’t be shy about pointing out that information on changes (e.g. new tech releases, process changes, etc.) hit Yammer before they hit their inbox.  With the informal nature of Yammer – communications don’t have to go through layers of vetting and approvals which causes delays.   

If you are just launching your Yammer network or have an existing Yammer network you are trying to grow, you’ll likely experience the barriers and others.  What have you done to overcome the barriers within your organization?  

Tanya.jpg

Hi everyone, my name is Tanya and I have an awesome role working in the Employee Technology Experience and Communications team at Bank of Montreal (BMO), where I actively lead the adoption of our Office 365 collaboration tools. I've played a key role in the implementation of Yammer, SharePoint, OneDrive and Exchange Online in or organization. I've had the pleasure of connecting with our employees and sharing the value of these modern workplace tools as a featured speaker at a number of our internal employee digital transformation events and as a host of TechTalk a monthly BMO tech podcast series. I'm passionate about making technology fun and easy to use, so employees can make the most of the tools available to them. I'm thrilled to be a part of this Yammer blog community.