Driving teamwork with Microsoft Teams

Jason Neville | April 20, 2017

Microsoft Teams is a new part of Microsoft Office 365 that allows your organisation to collaborate and communicate in new and exciting ways.

Teams allows you to setup chat channels. These channels can be setup however you need – by department, product, project, or whatever else you can think of. You can invite whoever needs to be in each channel to the channel, and they can instantly see the entire history of the channel. Never leave a colleague behind again. 

Teams is like Skype in a lot of ways, in that it’s about communication. Discussion between colleagues, and helping people work together.

It’s a great way to bring remote staff, and different offices together. Your staff in Adelaide can’t chat to someone in Brisbane over coffee. They can’t necessarily go out to lunch with their colleagues in the same way. Teams is focused on trying to bring some of that culture online, with banter, personality and building rapport. There’s even a meme generator built into Teams!

 

How does Teams compare with Yammer?

Yammer is about putting information out there and soliciting feedback. Teams, on the other hand is more about two way conversations.

Yammer can be great in larger organisations, where people in different departments can share knowledge and expertise. People can post questions like “Hey, I’m dealing with this scenario. Has anyone got any thoughts around this? How have you used this in the past?”

It’s also great for promoting messages throughout your organisation, so that someone who’s working on the front line can share photos or stories with the rest of the organisation, so that people in accounts or support, who may be disengaged with the organisations motive and purpose, can see the work, and know they’re working for an organisation making a difference.

There’s an argument for both Yammer and Teams to service different parts of the organisation. Both can help your organisation cut down on email clutter, and get a more instant response.

 

Dos and don’ts for Yammer and Teams

The dos and the don'ts for both are really about adoption. Everyone has been in an organisation at some point along the way whereby a new technology has been implemented, but either hasn't had buy in from the users who use it, or has been forced upon the group. As such, particularly, when it comes to things like digital culture people can either hate or love it. It really has a lot to do with people's perception around what the tool is there to do.

It's not enough just to have it implemented and say, "Hey team, we now have a thing." That doesn't work. That will never work. It's important that there's a level of explaining why it’s being implemented, and what you’re trying to achieve with it.

Yammer, as a great example, can go from being just a tool that the CEO makes announcements on, to a tool whereby people are regularly contributing content and creating an ecosystem of digital culture, posting experiences, posting photos of the thing they just did, the activity they went and attended. That relies a lot people buying into what that tool is about.

The same thing goes for Teams. You can have a thousand different chat programmes, but it must work for the staff.

Adoption is the most important thing with both those tools. It's about the staff being on board. It's about getting buy in at the right levels, and it's not just the top-down initiative. Because that won't work.

In some instances, it's human resources driving the adoption of Yammer and Teams to bring the team together and enhance the organisation’s culture.

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