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Yammer Social Networking: An Internal Communications Win!

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Recently HHS launched a Department-wide social networking tool called Yammer to help employees better engage with one another. The Department has more than 75,000 employees spread across semi-independent organizations throughout the country. This presents great challenges. Having an internal social network open to all employees allows HHS staff to communicate and collaborate with one another across geographic and bureaucratic divisions to solve problems.

How Social Networking Tools Can Improve Internal Processes

There are many examples of “Yammer wins” already. Last week, one of our employees was attempting to get a website unblocked from our departmental internet filters. After submitting his request, he posted a note on the social network to discuss the process and find out what others thought.

Screenshot of original post by Andrew Wilson, it reads: “Just came across the new self-service tool for blocked sites that allows individuals to request access. I submitted for Pinterest (wanted to share some health infographics here on Yammer). Seems like a positive step in the right direction (though I thought the default was open rather than closed). I'll update here with how well it works. First comment is that it would be good to get an automated email that submission was received.”

His observations appeared in HHS’s Yammer newsfeed, and several others quickly chimed in with stories of their own experiences. Within a short period of time Andrew was connected with the person in charge of his request. In just a few hours his ticket was complete. This was much quicker than the 24-hour standard turnaround time.

While the fast turnaround time was great for Andrew, the more important effect of this exchange came from the conversation itself. Because Andrew’s note popped up in the general HHS newsfeed, other employees were able to make suggestions on improving the process. Users wanted:

  1. To receive an email notification when their request had been submitted
  2. To see next steps included in that email
  3. To receive a resolution email letting them know their request was completed

The tech team was able to begin working on site changes immediately with the feedback they received. It was that quick.

: Screenshot of original post from Matthew Shallbetter, it reads: “Thanks Andrew, I've already made the recommendations for modifications to the submit landing page. It should be pretty simply to add the process description to this page. I need some information from the operations team to understand the emails. I'd love for these to be automatically generated by the workflow engine, but regardless I agree these are an important touch point.”

This is truly a collaboration success story for internal communications. It’s a great example of how social networking tools can add value to large organizations.

How do you think Web 2.0 technologies can help internal communications in government?

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Your Ideas

Submitted by Anonymous on
Unfortunately because Yammer is for internal communications only we cannot post a link on the public internet to the conversation. The firewall will not allow it.
Submitted by Anonymous on
Can you provide a link to this convo on yammer? Would like to reference it directly. Thanks!