Should we add Microsoft Teams as a channel to communicate with our employees? It is one of the most debated topics in corporate communications today.
It’s not an easy decision as we already have many channels, for example, email, Intranet, Newsletters, Mobile Apps, etc. Each channel has had varying levels of success when it comes to effectively communicating with your employees – and how do we, or can we, measure that effectiveness. For decades, we’ve been blindly publishing content and hoping for engagement or maybe using simplistic means for measuring it. So, given that state of affairs, would we really want to bring Microsoft Teams into the picture? Particularly with its challenges on certain fronts like authoritative communications.
Let’s quickly dissect each of the classic communications channels and then make a case for Microsoft Teams:
Intranets – they have been the standard of employee engagement and communication for years. I have worked with companies that have redesigned their Intranet in three-year cycles for the last 15 years with the hope that a new version of SharePoint or a new Intranet product will save the day. I have seen organizations track hits on their home page as a measure of adoption while forcing everyone’s browser to default to the Intranet’s home page – as the saying says – “There is no worse blind man than the one who doesn’t want to see.”
Intranets do have a place in the corporate communication ecosystem, but we have to acknowledge that they are time-consuming and costly to implement and support. A good Intranet needs to provide employees with reasons to return on a regular basis for it to be effective at corporate communication.
Despite the most valiant of efforts, Intranets have never become the holy grail of engagement and communications many had hoped they would become. We have gone through many revamps, each hoping to get it better, only for whatever initial success was found to often slip away. We are not advocating for an organization not to have an Intranet, yet. They do have shortcomings that we seem to be unable to escape. Shortcomings that a truly collaboration centric-platform like Microsoft Teams doesn’t have.
Newsletters – The first challenge with newsletters (both printed and digital) is around timeliness and immediacy of information. Newsletters are a good way to summarize what has happened during a time period (say a week or two). However, they are lacking when you have an important message that you need employees to see and act on immediately. They also tend to be one-way communication channels, and therefore difficult for the audience to engage. We become the classic professor in a lecture hall focused on saying content, rather than being the approachable leader who draws people in and discusses items of importance. During this pandemic, the latter has never been more critical.
Email – The most used medium of communication today and for the last few decades. While email does have the immediacy that you would need for important, timely messages, it is overused to the point where many of us tune out all but the most essential ones. DMR reports show that the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. That’s a lot of emails.
There is no effective way to distinguish between important corporate communication and other emails. There is too much noise on this channel, and it is challenging to have two-way conversations with your entire audience without overwhelming them with even more email. Also, engagement often becomes confused as people are responding to comments that are out of order.
Let’s talk about Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a modern platform built around collaboration. Your employees can chat with each other, they can collaborate on files, projects, attend virtual meetings, and you can host virtual townhalls.
If you are like most organizations, you are realizing the following:
- Your employees are spending less time in email and a lot more time in Microsoft Teams.
- Your employees are spending even less time in the Intranet and a lot more time in Microsoft Teams.
COVID-19 and social distancing has expedited the adoption of Microsoft Teams and accelerated a digital transformation as we have never seen before. The usage stats are impressive, including over 75 million daily users, more than 2.7 billion daily meeting minutes, etc. More importantly, you can check your organization stats by running these Microsoft reports.
After you verify your stats, you will likely confirm that, yes, your employees are spending most of their day in Microsoft Teams – collaborating, attending meetings, chatting. Microsoft Teams does not have the lack of adoption that your Intranet suffers from.
Unlike newsletters, Microsoft Teams provides an excellent channel for important and immediate messages. You can reach your employees on the platform they are using several times a day. It is also a platform that provides an inherent segmentation mechanism by grouping employees into Teams and common interests; email doesn’t have a good way of accomplishing this.
- Unlike Intranets, Microsoft Teams does not suffer from poor adoption.
- Unlike Intranets, Microsoft Teams, as a platform, is likely used by most of your employees several times a day.
- Unlike email, Microsoft Teams provides a built-in segmentation mechanism.
- Unlike Newsletters, Microsoft Teams provides a channel built for immediacy and important messages that need to be seen now.
Microsoft Teams has received some key criticisms, and on its own, they are entirely valid.
- Critical communications and authoritative posts can get lost in the chatter.
- No means to manage corporate communications and delegate publishing.
Sparrow for Teams is a product that fills those holes and completes the picture, allowing for Microsoft Teams to step up and be the hub of communication for the enterprise. We have detailed an article that goes into depth on this.
It’s far easier and more natural to bring the content to where the people are (in Microsoft Teams) than trying to haul the people out of their now natural work environment and get them to visit the Intranet or read a newsletter email. With a few days and Sparrow for Teams, your org could be good to go.
At Sparrow, we believe that focused corporate communications can be transformative. Instead of a collection of broken tools that do not work together, corporate communications should have the same power that your marketing team does. Corporate Communications should be able to reach the right employees, with the right message, on whatever platform they are using, and be able to measure every interaction. We believe that it is time to change the world of corporate communications with a true corporate communications platform that understands what it means to be a communicator.
Book a conversation with us today. “[Sparrow] has proven invaluable…” – Corporate Communications, Hamilton Health Sciences