Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Yammer Explained: Q&A

In remote and hybrid work environments, workers have had to rely on productivity tools (email, chat) or their own ability to get their questions answered.  At the start of March 2020, Yammer saw a 62% increase in the number of questions posted in communities. Customers embraced Yammer Q&A as a way to provide employees a chance to virtually connect and share knowledge with colleagues around the world. 


Questions and Answers is a feature that we launched mid-2019 to support communities in knowledge sharing AND to create a platform for capturing structured knowledge. Since then, a total of 2.5 million questions have been asked on Yammer, with 5.5 million answers contributed. 



The more questions and answers an organization have, the larger the repository of knowledge. Answers to questions posted in Yammer are more easily searchable, widely accessible, and discoverable to employees across teams and departments compared to conversations stored in other communication mediums (e.g., Outlook or Microsoft Teams). 


What does data tell us about questions? Ask more questions!  


From the research we’ve conducted, when you use the Questions post type in Yammer, you are 60% more likely to receive a reaction or response compared to a regular post.  Employees who start conversations may be discouraged when their posts don’t receive responses from other users. Q&A in Yammer helps employees get answers and build a level of trust with the experts in those communities. 





On average, questions are viewed for a longer timeframe than other posts. 80% of the questions are viewed after 2 weeks of posting on Yammer whereas only 60% of the regular posts are viewed after 2 weeks of posting. Employees come back to Yammer to find organizational knowledge in the form of questions that have already been asked and answered in Yammer. 


Best Practices for using Question & Answer  

We believe using Q&A is a key component of a successful Yammer network. After examining the data on Q&A usage and surveying several of our most successful Yammer Q&A customers, we uncovered common best practices to promote a healthy knowledge culture on Yammer.   

Here are ways to help foster a vibrant Q&A culture:  


1. Reward, recognize and encourage “Experts” who are actively answering their colleagues’ questions. Experts are community members who answer most questions in the community. Experts’ active engagement with Questions in Yammer ensures higher answer rates (15% higher answer rate than average), swift response times, and a positive feedback loop for question askers.




2. Mark ‘Best Answer. The original question askers and/or community administrators can mark one of the responses to a question as a Best Answer. This gives the question a clear indication of the credibility/usefulness of the answer without having to look through and evaluate every response. Our data shows that questions with a best answer marked have 20% higher reactions or replies.  
Pro Tip: Community administrators have an active role in marking the Best Answers to questions in their communities. We found that 65% of Best Answers are marked by Community Administrators. A large aviation organization on Yammer that has a best answer marked on 60% of their questions has seen 70% higher engagements on questions posted than the average network. 




3. Establish Q&A specific communities (e.g. “New Hire Q&A”). The communities that have the most Q&A success have set Questions as their default post type. These communities see a high level of Q&A engagement – through both asking questions and marking the best answers.  We use Q&A for at Microsoft for the community, Yammer Answers. 
Admins can set up communities with this at the start or community admins can switch an existing community.  

  • Go to your Community page and click on the 3 dots. Click on Settings. 
  • Change the Default Publisher to Question. Click Save.





4. Filter by unanswered questions and help the community find the answers. A community admin could review questions on a weekly basis and @mention experts to answer them. Getting answers to questions helps build the repository of knowledge.





5.  Switch a discussion post to a question! If a community member asks a question but forgets to use the Q&A post type, a community admin can easily switch the post to a question. This allows for the ability to mark best answer, and the other features of Q&A.  






6. Use Q&A Insights for your Community. Community Insights provides community managers with information about the volume of knowledge created in their community through Questions & Answers in Yammer. With this, community managers can easily measure how frequently users are asking questions, answering, and marking high quality answers as the Best Answer. Just like in the overview section, all the data from Q&A Insights can be exported to CSV.  Learn more about Questions & Answers insights.  







What’s Next for Q&A?  


Voting for Answers - We are currently planning for the launch of Answer Upvoting. Upvoting an answer allows viewers to indicate to the rest of the community that an answer is useful, well-researched, or interesting. The more people upvote an answer, the more readers can be sure of the quality of information.




Best Answer redesign - Based on the data we shared above on the value of the best answer mark, we are incorporating a more intuitive design to the best answer feature. We want to increase the number of best answers marked, allowing employees to find the information they need more quickly. 




Viva Topics Integration - Viva Topics uses AI to automatically organize company-wide content and expertise into relevant categories like “Projects,” “Products,” “Processes,” and “Customers.”  This enables you to harness the knowledge of your organization, and connect people to that knowledge, in the apps they use every day – it's like Wikipedia with AI superpowers for your organization. Integrating Yammer Q&A with Viva topics will help employees find people and content connected to the topics they are interested in. Learn more about Viva Topics and Yammer. 



Stay tuned to the Yammer blog as we continue to share information and best practices about using Yammer to maximize the engagement and connections in your network.  







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