Introducing July Customer of The Month – Jonathan Anthony of Teekay
Yammer is about people who use it; they are the ones that boldly imagine the possibilities and drive forward change. We’d like to invite you to celebrate a Yammer champion each month; someone who has really moved the needle in their organization’s adoption of Yammer. In this inaugural issue, please meet Jonathan Anthony. Jonathan heads up Corporate Communications at Teekay Corporation, a $10b diversified marine energy company. His role is to determine and develop Teekay’s contemporary communication style, content, channels, and processes. Follow him on Twitter at @genkedup, LinkedIn and Slideshare.
Here is Jonathan’s Yammer story in his own words:
“Our story with Yammer is 3 parts strategic intent and 1 part serendipity. We do not have the resources to manage a complicated, centralised intranet so we wanted something standalone (a single app that did it all, in the cloud), simple and scalable that required little or training.
For our users, we had the 4 goals of: personalization, sharing, collaboration and networking. We wanted a tool that flattened the organization and gave each user choice about the extent of their interactions with the network. Yammer ‘does what it says on the tin.’
The serendipity part is that by choosing ‘ESN as intranet’ we probably moved ahead of the industry curve last year. We had some tough questioning internally about whether we had made the right decision. Fortunately we moved with the industry, not against it; and with each iterative release of Yammer, we see the tools and functionality we wanted a year ago. Soon, our use of the ESN will probably be slightly behind the enterprise cutting edge curve, which is where a company like Teekay wants to be!
On our old intranet I began an anonymous blog called The Pundit covering the 2010 World Cup – talking about the teams, games, which employees supported which team and randomly throwing in some satirical barbs about the senior leaders in the organization. Lots of people liked it – and lots of people didn’t(!) – but it opened up a whole new way of communicating inside the company – personality-led, first-person, relaxed, opinionated, direct, immediate, (ir)relevant.
Fast-forward two years and we have Yammer in place – where everyone has the opportunity to express opinions, share ideas, commune, participate in the conversation. There are maybe 200 people – 25% of our network – participating in this one Euro2012 football poll and conversation. We are democratizing and flattening the organization one conversation at a time.
For a global company – we have a presence in more than 20 countries, and in our Vancouver office alone we have over 30 nationalities – finding ways to connect disparate groups is critical.
Of course, having the same level of engagement with a strategic conversation is our ESN holy grail. We want people to feel comfortable openly conversing about work topics – in this, they tend to be much more tentative. Similarly, getting leaders to see the value of using the network to crowdsource input and answers is a long-term project. But we are on that journey of discovery…
Yammer flattens and opens up the organization; it empowers users and says “*You* choose.” Consequently, as application ‘owner’, we have to give up control and embrace uncertainty.
For those in the network who do not appreciate *social* we say ‘let us help you get more organized and simplify your experience.’ That brings more people on our side. But there is still a group who do not want to participate, and that’s OK.
We are trying to deliver an 80-20 solution. Aiming to get everyone proactive and positive is like trying to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.
We are playing the ‘long game’ with our ESN. My team must continually hold the space of possibility and opportunity; and keep inviting users in to explore.