Our need to connect to the people, interests and events which matter to us has never been stronger or more available. We’re connected to family and friends, famous people we’ve never met, communities locally and globally and our co-workers.

While connection is part of Telstra’s DNA for Australians and increasingly people and businesses overseas, we’ve been on a connection journey with the many people who help Telstra operate day in and day out.

The so what? If we can do this, so can your business.

With staff and partners around the world, we faced a real challenge to connect with each other in a meaningful way. As with many organisations of critical mass, we had become too reliant on silos and hierarchy. We needed a way to break this down, to do it differently and to connect.

That’s when we engaged Yammer. The employee collaboration network, now owned by Microsoft, wasn’t completely new to some of our Australian staff who had built a respectably sized community of about 6000 over six years.

Now, with almost two years of active senior leadership support and participation, we have subscribed our 40,000th active Telstra Yammer user. Our reach extends beyond our employee base to contractors and partners as well as international operations. Yammer says we’re in the top dozen Yammer workforces globally by size and engagement.

We’ve helped break down silos, cut through hierarchy and share people’s knowledge more easily. It’s common for anyone in the organisation to have a Yammer conversation with the CEO and be seen, shared and commented on by the entire employee base.

It feels like Yammer has made Telstra more innovative, flexible and responsive. It’s connected our people across every level, giving us a platform to collaborate in an open, friendly environment, regardless of position, location or business unit. It has become our daily pulse.

We now have 40,000 people who can come together to suggest ideas, solve problems, exchange knowledge and develop solutions every day. That’s powerful stuff when harnessed the right way.

We’ve shared more than 700,000 messages across 3,000 topic and business-specific groups and built an innovation hub around our community. We’re integrating video streaming and exploring ways to better embed Yammer within other work systems and platforms.

Most importantly, more people feel like they know more about what’s going on – the good and the bad. Some days are not for the faint-hearted and that’s okay because it shows people are being genuine in sharing their views.

As we aspire to being a truly social enterprise, our vision is for everyone at Telstra to be part of our storytelling – giving them the knowledge, tools and support to talk confidently about our company in a social world. The way we collaborate and share information on Yammer is instrumental in building this culture of openness, engagement and information exchange – where everybody’s contribution is valued.