Gently guiding staff to use Yammer for internal conversations

Earlier this week I wrote a blog post about forcefully guiding staff to use Yammer for internal conversations. While some people loved this concept, for others it made their blood boil as they thought the use of transport rules to block internal email traffic was anti-email.

The reality is that sometimes you want to be gentle, other times you just want to get things done.

A more preferred solution for guiding people to use Yammer, Skype for Business or even a face to face chat instead of email would be to use the MailTips feature of Exchange & Outlook.

MailTips can be applied on any mail-enabled object within Exchange and will simply present a message above the To field with a note.

On a group this would look like:

Whereas for a user it would look like this using Outlook on the web:

Or this using the Outlook desktop client:

MailTips are only visible on Outlook 2010 and above as well as Outlook on the web (formerly known as Outlook Web App aka OWA), not mobile clients.

The challenge with MailTips is that there is no way to enable them out of the box across users – it needs to be done via the Exchange Control Panel:

Or via PowerShell using the syntax: Set-<RecipientType> <RecipientIdentity> -MailTip “<MailTip text>” where RecipientType can equal Mailbox, MailUser, MailContact, DistributionGroup, or DynamicDistributionGroup.

For this to truly work in a programmatic fashion and cater for new users joining the organisation you would need to create a PowerShell script and set it to run as a scheduled task on a regular basis to apply the MailTip instead of doing it manually.

So now you have another alternative to mail transport rules – something that is a bit gentler than simply blocking internal emails. J

Forcefully guiding staff to use Yammer for internal conversations

Recently when meeting with a client we were talking about how to further drive adoption of Yammer. While organisations we work with have a strong uptake of the service due to our change management and adoption program sometimes it still may be required to forcefully guide the laggards the last step of the way. In some cases organisations are looking to have “no email days” to enforce either the use of social tools such as Yammer, communication tools such as Skype for Business, or simply to get them off their seats and walk to the person they want to talk to.

The question that the client asked me was if it was possible to prevent internal emails, while still allowing emails to/from external recipients such as clients and suppliers. The simple answer is: yes!

Using Exchange transport rules you can simply block emails between internal senders and recipients, and use a rejection reason to explain why. J

You can also use this based on dates & times so it’s not necessarily a blanket rule that you might forget to turn off:

What the sender sees in the form of a bounce back message (aka Non-Delivery Report (NDR)) is this:

This method should really be considered a last resort, but it’s one that’s at your disposal!