Yammer for Work and Learning: A Story from Kellogg’s

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There’s a cool blog post on the Yammer Blog in Microsoft TechCommunity on driving new skills and behaviour change through Yammer. Written by James Tyler – who now works at SWOOP Analytics – the post reflects on an adoption strategy used at Kellogg’s to help the field sales teams. At the time, James was the Global Social Collaboration Lead for Kellogg’s and was responsible for creating Kellogg’s Social Centre of Excellence.

With the field sales teams registering low engagement rates and variable delivery quality, James introduced a set of Yammer groups to enable reps to share pictures of their displays in grocery stores. Product placement and the display is the front line where product development, marketing and branding come together – either the consumer does or does not pick up a Kellogg’s product and place it their shopping cart. If it doesn’t happen, all the hard work in the background has been wasted. As reps started to share pictures from their stores, James coached several of the senior leaders on the first steps of participation – in this case like a post. As likes started to be given, the reps saw that their work on the front lines was noticed, and engagement improved. James then coached leaders and managers on how to ask open-ended, non-judgmental, learning-oriented questions in response. The two specific examples James gives are:

  1.  “How did you manage to get an endcap display in that store!?”
  2. “Great job [rep], but it’s missing a few of our required products. Can you tell us if you weren’t able to get them on the shelf?”

Not being involved in the Yammer groups at Kellogg’s, I can’t speak specifically to the conversation flow on the above questions. But I can imagine that in response to question 1, the rep had an opportunity to share something that he or she had discovered to work that went beyond current sales training and practice. For any other reps listening and reflecting on their own sales approach, this would have been an insightful and potentially transferable idea. The rep was able to demonstrate their sales discoveries, and other reps would be able to improve their own. In response to question 2, by contrast, the rep would have had an opportunity to speak to what wasn’t working – a particularly challenging selling experience, a lack of resources, the strong presence of a competitor, or one of many other roadblocks. And if the best outcome prevailed, other reps would be able to share their sales tactics, perhaps a sales leader would go on the next customer visit and offer some reflective coaching, and if required, executives would have been able to offer their help in navigating the situation.

Yammer – a place for work that drives improvement and betterment across everyone involved.

In the PACE methodology, James’s approach above fits into the Process Impacts stream at the Activate phase of Focusing on Target Situations. And as the transformation of work and learning starts to happen, it would link to the Communication stream in the Capitalise phase, for Capturing and Sharing Stories of Value. Please check out our PACE Whitepaper for more.

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