If you’re a HR or operations professional, you’ll know how difficult it can be to keep employees engaged in the modern workplace. With the rise of flexible and mobile work, there has been significant cultural change in where, when and how people work. And this is forcing organisations to think differently about employee engagement.

Today’s managers are grappling with big questions about how best to connect with staff. For example, how can organisations keep remote workers in the loop when flexible work is the norm? With more employees prioritising digital communications over face-to-face interactions, how can organisations ensure that important messages are received and understood? What needs to happen so that employees who work on-the-go don’t miss out? How can teams work productively from different locations, devices and time zones?

These are essential questions for every organisation to consider. Gallup Research reveals that companies with engaged employees experience substantial benefits, ranging from higher retention rates to better customer satisfaction and improved profitability.

Yet only a handful of US employees – around 30 percent – identify as feeling engaged. In Australia, it’s even worse: just 24 per cent of employees say they are engaged with their work.

Most organisations stand to realise major benefits from improving employee engagement – and in the modern workplace, technology solutions have plenty to offer. Let’s take a look at how Microsoft Teams can positively influence team culture.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a new communications platform that makes it easy for business teams to work together. Teams integrates the best capabilities that Office 365 has to offer, including one-on-one conversations and group chat, audio chat and video calls, document sharing and real-time collaboration. All this and more is accessible in a single workspace.

With Microsoft Teams, organisations can create a ‘team’ for each project team, business unit, staff cohort or other relevant group. Teams then use ‘channels’ to conduct focused online conversations, collaborate on tasks and communicate with one another. The concept is similar to what you might’ve experienced in other tools such as Slack or Trello.

Microsoft Teams solutions and employee engagement

Microsoft Teams is many organisations’ new favourite tool for connecting employees and teams across locations and devices. Here are four ways that Microsoft Teams can drive employee engagement in any sector:

Targeted communication

Important messages are often missed by employees because they’re buried in high volumes of generic, lengthy, irrelevant or low priority emails or updates. This is particularly true for remote workers who are reliant on digital channels for team and company interactions.

Microsoft Teams overcomes this challenge by making it easy to organise and focus communications so employees can be quickly reached.

For example, you can assign users to a Team based on their organisational structure or working location (you could even create a dedicated Team for your remote workers). By distributing messages through relevant Teams and channels, you can be confident that your communication won’t disappear in someone’s inbox.

Mobile accessibility

Microsoft Teams offers a fully optimised mobile experience so that users can benefit from the same tools and capabilities as office-based staff, irrespective of where they’re working or which device they’re using.

Users can easily start a conversation with HR or IT support via chat, audio call or video call to get issues resolved quickly. They can also view, edit and collaborate on Office 365 documents, with their changes synced in real-time, from a connected mobile device.

The Microsoft Teams web app also enables users to seamlessly switch between devices.

Video chat

There are times and topics where you just need a face-to-face conversation. When location prevents an in-person meeting, video calls are the next best thing.

Microsoft Teams offers high-quality and easy-to-use video capabilities so that you and your staff can build trusted relationships remotely. It removes the barriers of distance by making video call collaboration possible, meaning employees can work together on documents, drawings, whiteboards or products from any location.

Video calls can be held one-on-one, conducted with a group of team members or be used to hold webinars and presentations for large groups participants. Video calls can also be recorded so that no-one misses out on important information updates.

Streamlined administration

Microsoft Teams simplifies and streamlines the effort involved in employee engagement activities, which frees up HR and operations staff to focus on core business.

There are a range of add-ons with Microsoft Teams that can automate time-consuming tasks – Antares’s askHRplus chatbot is a great example of how technology can be used to facilitate employee engagement.

The chatbot drives efficiency by reading staff questions and providing responses based on how similar questions were answered by HR staff in the past or by drawing on a library. In this workflow, if the chatbot can’t answer a question, it tags and notifies appropriate HR staff to ensure the question doesn’t go unanswered. It progressively builds a knowledge database of high-quality responses so that, over time, it reduces the number of questions referred to HR.

Teams is one of Microsoft’s fastest growing products and it’s not hard to see why. By bringing together the best of Office 365 in a single workspace, Microsoft Teams solutions offer a simplified, accessible and integrated user experience.

Rather than navigating large email volumes, users can centralise their conversations within focused Teams and channels so that key messages aren’t accidentally overlooked or missed. With a range of communication and collaboration tools at their fingertips, everyone’s preferences can be catered for.

Antares is a leading Microsoft Gold Partner that offers the full spectrum of Microsoft solutions. We have an outstanding track record of supporting our clients to transform their ways of working and realise business value through Microsoft Teams. To find out more, contact us today.