The person who organizes a Teams meeting has become more and more important over the last few months. Many recent improvements are available for the organizer only.
Yes, so what?
Indeed, many meetings can be done without the organizer being present. Our team’s daily call, for instance.
But it can be an issue for situations where you need special things and the organizer does not plan to attend the meeting, e.g. a secretary who plans meetings for the manager or other people in the team, or our Convention Bureau who organizes webinars as a service for our education institute. In case you want to see who has attended a meeting, for instance, the organizer needs to be there to download the report. Also, the much awaited break-out room functionality can only be used by the organizer!
Unfortunately, the organizer role is not transferable, which also means that when the organizer of a recurring meeting changes roles, the meeting has to be cancelled and set up anew, especially if the audience of the meeting changes. While this has long since been the case for all meetings, with everyone meeting remotely with Teams it has become more visible. There’s a User Voice item to have the ability to transfer this role to someone else.
Awareness is key!
There’s not much we can do about it right now, except making everyone aware, that you need to think who will setup the meeting, especially the larger and more important events.
Recently we introduced a new intranet (Publishing and team sites) to the organization.
We went from a SharePoint 2007 environment on-prem, to SharePoint Online in the cloud. That alone was a big change.
Our old platform was created 10 years before, when the organization was still very decentralized, and people could do on the platform whatever they wanted (which they did) as long as they did not break it (which they did…sometimes 🙂 ).
The new intranet is strictly governed, as there is now a strong central Security and Compliance team, strong Enterprise Architecture, many Governance Boards and Steering Committees and of course our new landlord Microsoft, and they all tell us what people can do and what not.
Additionally, we went from being one large company to two companies and we reorganized as well.
We knew we were going to make a big change, so we secured the help of our “usual suspects”, a small group of people active on Yammer, and a small group of active content owners. They kindly agreed to be our Champions, helping us launch the new intranet to their circles of influence.
However, many of them left the organization during the project, or moved to another job, due to the reorganizations. So we were left with an even smaller group of “usual suspects”.
We tried to make up for it by increasing the communications:
People do not always read or act upon communications
People only learn when they have a need, so many people left the learning until they had their new intranet and their new site(s).
So despite our efforts, this is more or less how people reacted when they saw their new tools for the first time:
People were confused, did not know where to find their content, how to manage their sites, how to navigate, etc.
Well, if you want to implement a new effective digital workplace, this may not be the best response. So we introduced a new role into the organization: the Adoption Consultant. It is their role to make sure that employees
know what the DW is,
can use it to their advantage
and like it, so they will promote it and help others use it
Within this organization, the DW consists of the Office 365 suite plus a few other tools available for all employees.
So we are currently embedding this process into the organization:
There is a UX manager who runs a survey with 1/12 of employees every month, asking for user feedback about all IT tools and services.
There are other sources for feedback (Yammer, support tickets, etc.) but the survey is the most formal one.
He turns the responses into usable data and insights.
If something relates to the Digital Workplace, he asks the Adoption Consultants to help with it. They determine which remediation actions need to be taken.
New functionality will also be handled by the Adoption Consultants, as some projects have the objective to “get the software installed on people’s machines” without thinking beyond that point…
So they think about whether extensive communication and training sessions are needed, or if a link to the help materials of the vendor is sufficient, or anything in between.
By implementing those actions it is expected that the complaints and remarks about this topic will be reduced.
Yeah, interesting picture, but what does that mean in practice?
Users: “I can not find anything on the intranet”
UX Manager: “We have found that “I can not find anything on the intranet” is in the Top 3 of complaints for the past months. Adoption Consultants, would you please look into this”?
Adoption Consultants: “What does it mean exactly, “I can not find information on the intranet”? Do people not know how to search? Are they looking for information that is not there? Do they not know how to navigate?”
* arrange interviews with a selection of complainers*
Adoption Consultant: After some discussions I think
We will need to create a campaign to inform people about the options available in Search.
We need to suggest to this department that they properly archive their outdated procedures and provide more meaningful and descriptive titles and tagging for their current content.
We need to discuss federating SharePoint Search, as some people appear to be looking for content which lives in our IT service system.
What else have we done so far?
We have given “Digital Workplace roadshows” in various locations across the world, explaining what the Digital Workplace is and how people can best use it. These have been received really well.
We have started a campaign about the different options of Search, update your profile, etc.
We manage a “Digital Workplace” group on Yammer as THE place for discussion. This is really well-used and popular.
We have created procedures to communicate consistently about projects that bring new functionality to the organization, using consistent channels (such as that Yammer group).
We are working with local focal points as they know more about their specific situation.
What are the results?
As we have only started this role last July, we have not accomplished a reduction in unfavourable feedback from the employee survey. But we have achieved a few things:
Through the roadshows, we have met a number of new enthusiastic content owners, willing to help their circle of influence with the new Digital Workplace
Interviews with colleagues who responded in the survey have revealed unexpected and useful feedback.
And that survey…we will do our best to improve the results over time!