Yammer: Good for business discussions, bad for creating workplace culture.

Imagine you are the Director of Human Resources of a midsize company.  Your boss read that having a healthy company culture can increase worker productivity and help retain and attract talent.  She asks you to make fostering a healthy workplace culture a priority.  Where do you start?

You ask your staff for ideas.  One suggests offering more employee events for colleagues to get to know each other.  Another suggests open forums for special interest groups to dialog.  Your small budget does not allow for more than a few events scattered throughout the year.  So, you focus on creating the open forums for special interest groups to connect.

Using Yammer, your enterprise social networking tool, you create a few forums you think could help employees connect to build the type of workplace culture your boss is hoping for.  Such forums include a soccer club, a new parents group, pet care, and carpooling.  Interested employees begin joining and conversations start flowing.  Pretty soon, you are asked to create new forums for new interests. You now have over 20 different non-business related Yammer groups running simultaneously.  It seems your workplace culture is off to a great start!

But after a few months your Communications Director stops by your office to raise a concern.  “We are seeing a decline in the overall use of Yammer,” he explains.  “Employees are becoming discouraged at the overwhelming amount of discussions they must follow that they are losing interest in using the tool altogether.”  He continues, “This is a problem.  We rely on employee participation in Yammer to forward our core-business discussions.  Using it to conduct non-work related matters is making the tool less efficient at running the business.”

Your boss calls shortly thereafter.  She asks if mixing business and non-business within the same tool was the most efficient solution to fostering workplace culture.  Now you have created two problems. One, how do you reengage with those who stopped using Yammer all together?  And second, how do you foster your workplace culture in a more efficient way?

Keeping business and non-business communication separate is essential to maintaining lean communication channels.  “[Communication] overload is a symptom of a larger issue: the lack of clear and effective protocols,” says Amy Gallo, contributing editor at the Harvard Business Review.  That is why we developed OfficeAccord – an internal communication tool to manage all of your workplace culture communication.  By providing a dedicated and more effective way to foster employee relationships and wellbeing, you create a clear and effective protocol:  use email and Yammer for business related matters, and use OfficeAccord for all non-business related matters.  This way, employees know that an email or Yammer notification is regarding a core-business matter and should not be overlooked.  Uncluttering your group chats and emails can save thousands of dollars in lost productivity.   So the next time your boss asks you to enhance workplace culture, instead of creating more noise with the same tool, consider providing a dedicated and more efficient digital space for employees to connect.



How does your company encourage workplace culture conversations without adding clutter to your business communication channels?