Microsoft Teams Adoption – Steps to creating a better User Adoption

In Our second blog we discuss Microsoft Teams Adoption. I think we could all agree that 2020/21 has been the year of working from home and the cultural shift to remote working has now become more of the norm for everyone. Using Cloud based technologies during the current COVID-19 Pandemic for most has allowed our staff to continue working and use the technology available to us, not just to turn up for meetings using video conferencing tool but also allow users to continue to work more collaboratively. When using Microsoft 365 you have a set of incredibly powerful tools which, if used correctly, trained correctly and communicated to the business correctly, could really aid in the creation of a workforce that are not just more efficient but flexible to whatever circumstances.

What we shall cover now is just some of the simple steps you could be taking to have better user adoption of Microsoft Teams. We know that a lot of users may have just been “dumped” using Microsoft Teams with little to no training and maybe did not start off with the best experience of the technology. The steps below should help you think about how to implement Teams, not just as a new organization coming to Teams but also any existing organisation looking to improve their user adoption strategy.

Step 1 – Creating Standard Practices and Support Mechanisms

When it comes to rolling out any new technology it goes without saying there will be resistance. To alleviate this, you can put a few simple steps in place early and this includes providing the business with some simple to follow standard practices. This could be as simple as what they should use Teams for, which can include but not limited to, using Chat to speak to colleagues to reduce email traffic, using chat for instant video and audio conferencing, integration with a Room Booking System built using PowerApps or the central location for your team to collaborate on files. As there is so much you can do with Teams, setting out some key initial use cases, as not to complicate what the tool offers, can be a key first step. Over time there is no reason why you cannot offer more functionality as phased deployments are very popular and highly encouraged to reduce impact on users and provide shorter more helpful training courses.

Regardless of the abilities you give users or the practices, they should adhere to have in place a support mechanism to help with questions, issues or simple queries. The best way to do this is to use Microsoft Teams by creating a Team with various channels and tools, as this will actively encourage users to make use of Teams but also showcase some basic functionality. This way users have a support mechanism they can use frequently for Wiki Guides, Video Tutorials, Instant Messaging, Bots and more. There are other options for providing support mechanisms including SharePoint Sites, Email Inbox and having Power Users available in each dept or area. Users who do not receive the correct level of support will likely not use the technology or try and refrain from using it therefore, any support is better than none. Keep this in mind when rolling out Teams from the start. If you are already mid rollout and have been using it for a while, it could be worth setting up a method of supporting users who wish to simply do more with the technology or maybe struggle with some of the basics.

Step 2 – Training! Training! Training!

It might go without saying but training is key to ANY adoption strategy regardless of circumstances and probably even more so for technology in the workforce. Over the years most people have now used communication tools including MSN, Zoom, Skype, Outlook and even AOL Chat back in the 90s!! Teaching users the basics of Microsoft Teams can therefore be forgotten as we just expect users to know how to use it.

When considering training for Microsoft Teams we would likely suggest starting at the top. Who are going to be the Microsoft Teams Admins who will manage the backend from within the Microsoft 365 Admin Centres? They will be responsible for global settings, App integrations, Call and Meeting Settings and more. They will be the backbone to the success of the rollout but typically, this would fall to the IT Team in your business. The next set of Users that we would suggest being trained are the “Owners” or admins of Teams. They can create new teams, create new channels, grant users permissions, add new tabs and manage all aspects of the front-end experience of Teams. They will need an all-round knowledge of Office 365 considering Teams can connect via Office 365 groups to SharePoint, OneDrive, Outlook, The Power Platform and more. This Training will allow the Owners to better manage what features their users get and offer the support needed to them. Typically, for an Owner, they would be a person who can carry out these actions quickly and have an understanding for the business needs and of the Department or Team they manage. This is one of the key areas that will need training because without this, Teams can become very untidy and disorganised therefore creating confusion for users and reduced searchability of content and data.

The final training you should be planning is the user training which can be done in stages. Below is some of the examples you could use:

  • Initial Introduction: What is Teams? How does it affect me? What are the benefits?
  • Basics: Create a chat, start a call, organise a meeting, @ Mention People, Set Notifications, Device Settings, Teams and Channels, Tabs…
  • Advanced: Power Platform, App Integration, Document Management, Live Events, Teams Management

However, this very much depends on how many users you have and the size of the business. Delivery of this training could be done remotely using MS Teams or in a classroom environment, but it should provide the most exposure and allow users to get the support they need. Training can also be provided via video tutorials, step by step guides, Wiki pages, FAQs and more. The method you choose should provide the most value to the users and there is no need to only select one method.

Step 3 – Create Better Engagement

One of the major downsides to new technology is getting people to not just use it but to be engaged with what is going on. Examples of this include getting Owners or key business stakeholders to actively encourage conversations in Teams rather than using email communication to users. This will show an active motion to using Teams as the primary source of communication and this small step could help users feel more confident in using the technology if used by a peer.

Other ways of creating better engagement are to start moving all team meetings to Teams and move any organisation wide emails, mailshots or newsletters into a Teams Channel or Live QA Meetings. Any content is better than no content but ensure that it is engaging and interesting as the goal is to get users into Teams naturally with little resistance.

Below are just some ideas and topics which you could use to start engagement:

  • Social Groups (Chess Club, Book Clubs, Organising Days Out)
  • Live Events including Watch Parties and product showcases
  • Feedback Groups – Users can put feedback in for new innovative business ideas and provide feedback to them

Step 4 – Do more with meetings

Organising meetings and being a part of them are common tasks and Teams should be at the forefront of this. Having your meetings in Teams makes that experience so much easier for users, more so than ever before. Once you create a meeting by setting the date and time, inviting the users and all the other information, you can chat with the participants about the agenda and share files with everyone.

One of the awesome parts about meetings in Teams is the ability to record the call so that users can view the meeting back again. The link to Stream, where the video is held, will be available in the same tab in Teams, so if you did miss the meeting it is readily available for you to view, comment and chat about.

Step 5 – Seamless Connectivity

You can now use Microsoft Teams on nearly all your devices which will give users the ability to now work seamlessly across the organisation and outside of the office. If we talk about user adoption specifically with Teams and do not talk about the added benefit of Office 365 integration with Teams, then this is a great example of immediate benefit and improving adoption by doing nothing but offer users the chance to login on more devices. This will showcase the ability for users to communicate and collaborate on the move, at home or in the office. Depending on your company policies, you can log into Teams using any device (not just your organisation devices) making this even more powerful to access your data as and when you need it.

Useful Links about Microsoft Teams Adoption