Collaboration among employees who are working together as a team is critical to the success or failure of a project. For the past 30 years, teams have used email as their primary method of group communication. While this has served us well, email is an asynchronous, semi-formal way of communicating.
Over the past several years we have seen the rise of chat-based communication mediums such as Slack or HipChat as a way to encourage closer collaboration and open dialogs amongst co-workers. Microsoft has gotten into the game with their new Teams product. Teams brings together the best features of Office 365 including IM/chat, voice/video calling, file sharing and group emails. Adopting Teams could be a big productivity win for your organization.
Teams at Lloyd
Lloyd has embraced Teams as our communication method of choice for intra-organization collaboration. Not only has it been useful in project and business collaboration, it has created new ways for employees to come together around common interests and personal experiences. Here are some of the ways that Teams is being used effectively within Lloyd:
- The Lloyd Leadership Team is using Teams chat and file sharing to track open company-wide initiatives, examples of Lloydians exhibiting our core values - be human, be accountable, be better - and as a living agenda for meetings.
- The Solutions Center uses Teams to post Wiki articles about technology lessons learned and repeatable procedures. There is also a channel to decide where to go to lunch.
- Service Delivery uses teams to collaborate with employees who serve all aspects of Lloyd's client base to ensure that any issues reported by clients can be seen in the context of the "big picture" that may affect multiple clients.
- Lloydians have a "Water Cooler" channel to post interesting personal anecdotes and invite other employees to participate in non-work related events. Super Bowl picks have been a focal point of some recent threads, especially for our hopeful Philadelphia based Lloydians.
- The Lloyd bowling team uses Teams to post scores and discuss who sunk the most gutter balls.
Teams at your Organization
Like any new technology platform, Teams is a change to workflow and could be considered a "disruptive technology." This disruption can be a positive point of change within your organization, but does not come without risks. Some of the pros and cons to teams are included below.
For Lloyd, we feel any platform that fosters greater partnership between co-workers is a positive thing; the pros of Teams far outweighed the challenges for us, making it an easy decision to move forward.
When rolling out Teams in your organization, there are some best practices that will help drive adoption and get the most out of the platform:
- Appoint a maven or champion of the product. He or she will be the internal cheerleader for Teams and encourage people to use it. If support for the product is from the ground up, adoption may be quicker than a mandate from management.
- Select a pilot group or department to use Teams. Have the maven work with that group closely, showing them how their existing workflows can be complimented by Teams.
- Put information that employees want in Teams, such as company announcements or office information making it a must-read, go-to place for employees to stay up to date.
- Augment existing conference calls and in-person meetings with Teams information so that central records can be kept and remote employees feel more connected to their peers
- Have fun! Teams has a full complement of GIF's, meme's and emojis that can enhance conversation with a bit of light-heartedness.
Lloyd has found Teams to be an effective platform for our own work habits and we think it would be a valuable addition to any network.