Yammer guidelines

We’re fans of Yammer here at Xero and most of us are logged into it all day from desks and mobiles ready any time to share, rant, ask, show off or chat around the virtual water cooler. I don’t actually remember when we started using it, I think it’s been more than a year now.

We’ve had a few people ask lately if we have guidelines for using Yammer – we do – and what are they? They’re pretty  much unchanged from when we first started using it – part explanation and part tips. We thought we’d share them.

Xero’s Yammer Guidelines

Yammer is Xero’s internal Twitter. It allows everyone to share the information flow so they can feel part of what’s going on, especially as the company grows and for all those working remotely. But for Yammer to stay relevant its use must be appropriate.


  • The information is private and for employees only – even if something is posted on Yammer from someone at Exec level, it is for internal use only and not to be given out to customers or anyone externally unless specifically permitted.
  • Use a strong password – remember this is internal information and we need to be well protected against hackers.
  • Use your real name and photograph – Yammer is also about getting to know everyone, especially for our staff not at Xero HQ.
  • Always post into a group so that everyone across the range of tools and devices they’re using to view Yammer get the messages they’re supposed to.
  • It can be a distraction – don’t let it rule your work day.
  • (update 28/1) – if you like a post, rather than comment – use like!

Use Yammer when:

  • Your post is of interest to most people, but if they miss it, no big deal. If you want someone to get a piece of information, use email or if it’s a process post it on the wiki.
  • You are traveling and just want to give people a heads up.
  • You have a cool story to share i.e. customer experience.
  • To inform everyone what you’re working on.
  • To ask a group question that probably anyone can answer. If you need to collect particular thoughts or discussion about something and use it to formulate a spec or document, you should use email to that targeted group so that all the points are in one place.
  • You spot some competitive information.
  • Let people know we’re doing events.

Don’t use Yammer for:

  • One-on-one conversation.
  • Times when you need some urgent action with an issue – email, Skype or phone someone.
  • Full scale arguments; just say ‘moving to email’ or ‘face to face’.
  • Stream of consciousness e.g. ‘I’m making a cup of tea’ unless of course you’ve brought baking to share!
  • Messages that individuals need to get and/or keep e.g. meeting times moved, new processes, all wear Xero t-shirts to something, introduction of new staff member.

Hope these give you some inspiration for your guidelines. And for the record, these have worked pretty well for us – just a couple of early hiccups with people missing stuff because groups weren’t being used but otherwise Yammer’s definitely helping us be global and cut down on email.


Michael 'MC' Carter
January 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Thanks for sharing these. At Practice Paradox we use CubeTree, which is in the same product category as Yammer. Powerful tool for the social interaction and for the wiki pages functionality, which acts as our intranet. For those interested, you can see a comparison of Yammer, CubeTree and similar tools on (CubeTree-centric view) https://www.cubetree.com/site/compare_us, (Engage-centric view) http://www.squidoo.com/social_intranets, and a Mashable article (though now a little old) at http://mashable.com/2008/09/25/enterprise-microsharing-matrix/

Whichever tool your organisation chooses, you can’t go too far wrong. We love embedding training videos into wiki pages. Can’t do that in MS Word!

Yammer Guidelines - Customer Blogs
March 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm

[…] Yammer Guidelines […]

July 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Use Yammer for good, and not evil…

blue nail polish
August 28, 2012 at 5:28 am

Yammer is a good tool. Just needs an update.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How to stay safe online

Staying safe online will protect not just your data, but your customers and employees. The two most important things you can do to stay safe online are: First, maintain excellent password hygiene. Never share a password. Always use a complex password. And change your password regularly. Second, be aware. Phishing emails are a common way ...