New Yammer feature Posting On Behalf Of divides communicators

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At Microsoft Ignite in October 2020, Microsoft announced a whole raft of new features across several of their apps.

One in particular which caught our eye, and spurred much debate within the simplyteam, was the planned roll-out of Yammer’s option to Post On Behalf Of (PoBo).

Doing exactly what the name suggests, PoBo enables communicators to post updates and like comments on behalf of others – namely, senior leaders.

But, at a time where leadership authenticity is crucial and employee trust remains in the balance, what are the implications of this on the impact on comms? We put the question to our readers.

Do you think the ability for communicators to post on behalf of a senior leader will have a detrimental impact on employee trust?

58% believed that it would.

The simply team was split on this one and according to Steve Nguyen, it’s no surprise Yammer users are equally divided.

Lisa Pantelli, head of content & community and employee engagement specialist said: “While we strive to get leadership to engage more with teams and take part in real conversations, depending on how the feature is displayed, I think people will see through this. What happens in the case of a comment being seemingly made by a leader, and then the point is raised in a passing conversation with an employee or a colleague? It would make for awkward conversations. And potentially expose both the leadership and the comms team. I can see how this feature would be welcomed, but careful thought needs to be given to its use. The last thing we need now is to do any more damage to employee trust and advocacy.”

Conversely, Jonathan Phillips, head of consulting at simplycommunicate said: “with Yammer’s new PoBo facility, IC leaders can better separate those times when they are the delivery route for a message and when they’re the true content owner. From speech writing to email distribution, internal comms folks have always put words, metaphorically, in the mouths of the executive, and PoBo is just an extension of that. C-suite are not always comfortable operating in community tools and this new feature will allow them to be visibly active, even if it’s not them directly. If it’s subterfuge, it’s the same subterfuge as using a shared mailbox. I think it’s doubtful whether employees will ever notice; nor care less. And remember, you don’t have to use it.”

At the simplysummit taking place on the 19th November 2020, we will be joined by Steve Nguyen from Microsoft who will tell us more about this feature – and many more updates to expect from Microsoft. With over 80% of communicators using some part of Microsoft 365, this is a session you don’t want to miss if you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your digital workplace.


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