Many small business owners discourage their employees from social networking on company time to keep productivity up. Addictive sites like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace in particular are often banned. But why not work within the tech trends instead of outside them? Yammer is a free tool that business owners can put to good use to help turn their employees’ social networking habits into something that can actually be beneficial for the company. You can read up on Yammer’s capabilities here.
For one, Yammer can be used as a mass communication tool. One of the top complaints employees have is that they are not kept in the loop of what’s going on in their company’s administration, even in small companies.Lower-tier employees want to be in the know of what the big dogs like the CEO and managers are deciding, particularly if it affects them. With Yammer, business owners can send out a message for all of their employees and immediately receive feedback from numerous team members.
At my small company, the CEO posts infrequently to Yammer, but when he does, it is always big news or a word of encouragement about our work. Most recently, he announced the acquisition of a few websites that will help the company become more profitable. In the same message, he thanked us for our part in helping the company be successful. He received positive feedback from his employees congratulating him on pursuing the sites and following through.
Yammer is also a beneficial tool for those in management to gather ideas from employees and team members. Upper management at my company recently used Yammer to request ideas for a tagline for our primary website, and turned it into a contest where whoever came up with the most innovative idea would receive an iPad. Not only did the management team receive several excellent ideas, but the entire company was honored by being given the opportunity to contribute if they wished.
Finally, Yammer puts faces and personalities to names, particularly if members of a small business are spread out in different cities or even countries. Employees at my company have posted photos of their newborn children, posted links to funny YouTube videos, grumbled about their car trouble and built profiles explaining who they are and what they do for the company. A social network like Yammer therefore helps employers and managers feel more connected, even if the company has offices in India, the States and Britain.