Last month, Microsoft announced its plan to purchase “social enterprising network” Yammer for $1.2 billion, making this the company’s largest acquisition since Skype, which Microsoft purchased last year for $8.2 billion. According to Microsoft, Yammer will allow employees of participating companies to post announcements, share files, create events, and swap messages in a “gated Facebook.” The platform will also be equipped with a content management system and an “extranet” service.
So what does this mean for the average corporation?
Basically, Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer will help large companies to communicate more effectively internally by breaking down pre-existing barriers, something historically difficult for companies that haven’t yet invested in the development of a costly intranet.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of websites like Yammer:
Problem: Barely 1 in 5 employees are engaged on the job, according to a recent global workforce study by Towers Perrin.
Solution: Better communication to start. Employees often feel disengaged due to lack of communication and those who aren’t updated on current projects may feel insignificant to the organization. That’s where an online collective space comes in – to help companies communicate with their employees, regardless of physical distance. By viewing what other colleagues are working on and jumping in on projects suited to their skills (when help is needed), employees are able to take more ownership of projects and have a better overarching view of the company’s proceedings.
Problem: Two out of three employees believe they have colleagues who can help them do their job better, yet only 25% go outside of their department to seek or share knowledge, according to a survey conducted by The Social Workplace.
Solution: Break down physical and mental barriers. One way to do this is to maintain an organized directory of each employee’s particular specializations, making it easier for employees to determine who to contact when looking for help. Encourage employees to include at least one non-team member in brainstorms or in the review process of a final proposal/presentation. Having the additional perspective will push the final product forward, making it stronger, more creative and less likely to lead to questions which could have been avoided.
Yammer on: What employee engagement issues does your company face and how do you deal with them?