By: Chris Judd
Here at GISinc, we get Yammered. Some of us even do it during work hours - and it’s not against company policy, in fact it is encouraged. As a part of our commitment to Service Excellence, we need to communicate and let each other know when we are doing well. This is premise behind my latest and first project here at the company, the Peer Recognition System.
Yammer Look and Functionality
Yammer describes itself as “a private social network for your company”. It can be thought of as having the layout of Facebook and the following feature of Twitter but with the universe of people limited to just a specific company. As you can see from the screenshot below, the GISinc Yammer page has a strong resemblance to Facebook, sporting the similar blue and white color scheme:
Yammer as an Organizational Development Tool
A central goal of GISinc is “To Be the Premier GIS Firm to Work For and With”. As a company and as employees we are committed to our organizational development. A part of this strategy is to facilitate feedback, not just up and down the management chain - but from peer to peer. This recognition and acknowledgement of our good works goes a long way to build and improve relationships inside the company. A couple years back, Yammer introduced their “Praise” feature for employees to recognize individuals or groups of people in the company. The praise interface is very similar to how one would post a normal status update on Yammer. You input the person or persons you want to praise, add a little note about why you are praising them, and assign the topics/hash tags to list specific skills or products you are praising them about.
The Peer Recognition System is Born
The employees in our company started using the praise feature immediately after it was released! It was decided that we needed to aggregate all of this good Karma so it could be tallied and reported in an analytical way. This is where I came in. I was given the assignment to gather up all of the kudos/Karma activity and harvest it to be displayed on the employee’s profile page on our company intranet.
Putting the technology together really wasn’t very difficult thanks to Yammer’s Rest API. Here the steps that I took:
- Everything starts after you register a new application by going here: https://www.yammer.com/client_applications
- Get authenticated: Yammer has a very detailed tutorial on using OAuth 2.0 to get access to the data. https://developer.yammer.com/authentication/
- Use the Yammer Rest API to cull out the praise data.
- Create a database structure to persist the Yammer data.
- Then I created a simple ASP.Net web page to display the data that I collected.
- Used the Content Editor Web Part (CEWP) to insert the simple ASP.Net page in SharePoint as an iframe.
We broke down the data by the topic (or hash tag) that a person was praised for, inserted their praiser’s profile picture, added a count of the Karma that has been given and received – called the Karma Counter.
Now it’s easy to see who has a stash of Karma in the company. We can just browse over our company intranet profile and admire all of the good Karma we have built up or given out. Check out the final results, looks pretty good, don’t you think?