British Gas, Yammer, and Adoption Approach

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Simply Communicate details the adoption approach at British Gas for Yammer.

British Gas, the largest UK energy and home services company, started to pilot their Yammer-based employee social network (ESN) in October 2013. “Initially, we trialled Yammer with a small group of 500 staff. We wanted to see if it was worth investing in the BG Network for the longer term. Eventually it was!” says Liam Kilminster, Social Media and Collaboration Manager.

It’s a good case study, and worth reading. I picked out the following strategies (see my book User Adoption Strategies for an explanation of each strategy):
– Appointing an adoption analyst for British Gas (Liam, as above)
– Yammer addressed a real business need (connecting engineers and other technicians). In my book, this forms part of the context – the value being sought.
– Liam worked with different stakeholders to understand their work and needs. Yammer was made applicable, not merely made available.
– Yammer was given attention in organizational life – such as the training campaign in June. The training campaign built progressive competence by dealing with one topic a day.
– Executives were encouraged to support Yammer through actions (not just words). The Managing Director’s use of Yammer and modelling of the desired behaviour helped demonstrate executive alignment.
– A focus on value; everyone was encouraged to share stories of success from using Yammer (a twist on the Exemplar Stories strategy).

The current limitation is middle management, and for various organizational cultural reasons. This is the current area of focus.

In terms of numbers of staff:
– (October 2013) trial of Yammer with 500 staff
– (sometime between October and June) engineers were given iPads and iPhones preloaded with Yammer; 5500 users.
– (June 2014) a month long training campaign. At the end of June, 11,000 staff members.
– (Early 2015) will run another campaign; goal for end of campaign – 30,000 staff.

Nice work Liam and team.

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