One of my abiding memories from the weeks after the March lockdown was the near universal acclaim for Microsoft Teams. I had a lot of meetings with exec teams across a range of sectors exploring the very timely merits of a mobile-first employee app. But I was regularly coming up against Teams as a panacea for all lockdown ills – it was already paid for, people were readily using it, why not extend its remit to internal comms, engagement and experience?
Roll forward eight months to November, Engage’s year end. We’d just done 200% of target for the month, all deals for our colleague app, going into sectors as diverse as legal and food manufacturing, into companies ranging from 200-2000 staff. Not once in the sales cycle of any of those deals was Teams mentioned.
I’m not surprised that in the fevered world of lockdown adaptation, people looked at Teams the way they did – they’d discovered it did have that enviable quality of connecting everyone and looping everyone in, something that has long eluded email and intranets. Add a little WhatsApp on the side, and job done.
But it’s that old horses for courses thing. Communicating effectively – from top to bottom, front to back, side to side – and supporting your workforce efficiently – with information, training, recognition, wellness, feedback options, self-service tools – takes more than a generic business toolset (and a consumer grade messaging tool that sits outside of the corporate firewall shouldn’t even be in the picture). It’s a specialist area. Companies like us have invested millions in apps and platforms. That’s what you want to be exploiting for your people.
Our positioning back then still stands today. Let Teams take care of the work and let specialist apps like Engage take care of the people who are taking care of the work. We put together a quick explainer at the time and although the Teams hoopla has now subsided, it is still worth a read – and worth sharing with those who might still be tempted to back the wrong horse.