Sponsor Insights: Leadership engagement made easy using Yammer (or enterprise social)

We live in an age of digital disruption. Effective, resilient organizations—the ones that will survive and thrive—will be organizations that are inherently creative and innovative. And that creativity and innovation will be driven by an engaged workforce and a new culture of work. We encourage leaders of organizations to be social, mobile and transparent, yet many leaders didn’t get to where they are today by being those things.

Companies with higher engagement report higher profits, as well as improvements across the scorecard such as better employee retention, customer satisfaction, and sales metrics. Sadly, employee engagement is low worldwide, despite many leaders recognizing that they must transform the way their teams connect to foster open communications and engage everyone, from the executive suite to Firstline workers.

There’s opportunity for leaders everywhere, regardless of their relative place in the org chart, to connect and engage their workforce by creating an executive communication plan and sharing that plan at scale. To do so requires a comprehensive game plan that includes a mix of events, blogs, video, news, and resources—all promoted across intranet sites and social enterprise channels. Luckily, you can do this all with Yammer.

Create a CEO connection group

Leaders need to inspire, guide, and align a workforce to the mission and core purposes of their business. If your organization doesn’t already have a dedicated space for the CEO and their team to connect with the broader employee base, start by creating a CEO Connection group. This encourages ongoing two-way dialog between employees and leaders and gains trust that leadership is interested in feedback and improving the employee experience.

Use this dedicated channel for leaders to post what is top-of-mind, address any current issues, share strategy for product launches, and discuss highlights and learnings from customer visits. Prompt leaders to share photos, videos, and updates from their mobile devices while they travel or provide more detailed messages from their desks at the home office and reach their entire employee base to build and reinforce a sense of culture and shared initiative. To see how this works in the real world, check out this interview with two executive leaders and what their personal thoughts and insights are to using Yammer.

Use the Yammer conversation as part of your next all-hands

Additionally, leaders can work with corporate comms to host Q&As—either live-streamed using Live Events in Yammer or virtually using YamJams or an AMA style event for real time engagement—both of which are accessible from any device. Employees can learn from leaders, share feedback and ideas, and ask questions. The leadership team can respond and provide their point of view, directly addressing what’s most important for employees.

This type of engagement removes the distance between remote and geographically dispersed employees and leadership while co-creating culture and taking steps towards reaching the company’s human and business goals. Afterwards, the conversation and learnings continue beyond the event timeframe. This unlocks the event for employees in different time zones, offering the ability to watch and participate via recordings, translation services, mobile viewing, search, and even transcription, all of which are now possible with Live Events in Yammer.

Encourage leaders to ask big, open questions

Tools like Yammer democratize opportunity to contribute. Everyone is given the power to share, ask, and learn—meaning that crowdsourcing, ideating, driving innovation, and taking the pulse of the employee base becomes natural. To help get the wheels in motion, encourage leadership teams ask big, open ended questions and promote these events throughout all levels of the organization.

Asking questions regarding process or product improvement, servicing ideas, solutions to assist customers, or new innovations that haven’t been addressed can spark feedback from all corners of the organization. Employees can post and reply and provide ideas from their own experiences and daily work expertise, creating the opportunity for unexpected innovations and solutions that could ultimately change the course of the company and the bottom line. Additional strategies, conversation starters, and tactics to spur engagement can be found in the Leadership Connection Deep Dive.

Reply and react to conversations

At Microsoft, we’ve seen success when leaders move beyond simply broadcasting top-down messages and begin to directly engage in conversations. While this can look different at different levels, research shows that adoption increases when executives engage directly in conversations.

In order to achieve this, you, as communication professionals, may need to curate conversations that require attention from your leader and help with messaging. As a rule of thumb, we suggest that for every post the leader initiates, they also give two replies and three “likes.” We’ve seen these simple actions of liking and replying elevate the level of conversation in the group.

Not every post in Yammer warrants a response from the CEO, but a simple “like” can go a long way. The notion that the leaders are reading and liking messages sends a message of empowerment, a nod of encouragement, and conveys that leadership is tuned into the conversations happening around them. These can easily be done through the mobile app while the leaders are on the road. Additionally, we suggest 3-5 posts beyond the CEO Connection group to improve the online presence of the leader across the larger network.

 

Premium World Conference Sponsor/ Microsoft, is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Everyday, customers across the globe engage and communicate with people across their organizations using the power of Yammer and Office 365.  

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