How to increase adoption of Microsoft Teams


For some workplaces, going remote in 2020 was their first foray into collaborating and meeting virtually. For these organizations, Microsoft Teams was a welcome addition, allowing them to meet, chat, and stay organized from afar.

Now that some time has passed, however, some are finding that while their colleagues and employees are using Microsoft Teams, they’re not getting the most out of it. Let’s look at a few ways you can encourage more meaningful adoption of Microsoft Teams at your workplace.

Decide what success looks like

We’ve touched on the bridge between usage and meaningful adoption, but what does that look like? The truth is, it’s different for every business. It’s important to define what a successful adoption of Teams will look like for your business and work towards those metrics.

As with any goal, it’s important to make sure yours are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. According to Microsoft, there are four categories of outcomes you can work towards: organizational, cultural, tangible, and individual. Let’s look at each a little more closely.

Organizational outcomes: Goals in this category include those around cultural transformation, employee retention, talent acquisition, social engagement, and operational agility.

Cultural outcomes: These include goals around employee sentiment, employee recommendations, customer feedback, and innovation measures.

Tangible outcomes: These can include impacts on customer experience, cost savings, revenue generation, data security, process simplification, and retirement of legacy systems.

Individual outcomes: Here’s where we get more into the weeds of user adoption, with outcomes related to actual use of the tool, employee morale, employee productivity, employee engagement, and idea generation.

Being clear from the outset on which of these outcomes are important to you (and how you plan on achieving them) is critical, but so is being flexible. If you’re having trouble reaching an outcome, you can investigate why and adjust your adoption approach accordingly.

Drive engagement with champions

Encouraging—and managing—behaviour change is one of the most difficult things leaders can do within an organization. Getting employees to join a work call on Meetings is one thing; getting someone to change the way they conduct their day-to-day communication is another entirely.

Managing this change, however, is critical. Engagement is a major factor in driving software adoption across an organization. When it comes to Microsoft Teams, the company has a solution for making this happen: onboard early adopters first, and identify Microsoft Teams champions—that is, the people who will drive awareness, adoption, and education around how to use Teams within the organization. As Microsoft recommends, champions should be given:

  • Formal training in how to use the software
  • Encouragement and empowerment to guide, teach, and train others
  • Consistent, positive reinforcement on the progress and impact they’re making
  • A clear, time-based plan to execute

Microsoft even has a Champions Program, where leaders can access valuable materials about getting the most out of Teams. If you’re running your champions program well, these people will learn all they can about Teams and pass that knowledge and support onto others who may be less enthusiastic or knowledgeable about the software.

If you’ve already been using Teams and haven’t appointed Champions, it’s not too late, and it’s worth the effort. There’s no replacement for having someone internal who can drive adoption and address any questions and concerns others may have.

Incorporate feedback and invest in awareness

It’s important to gather feedback about Teams from your employees, both from your champions and from others. Understanding how people use and experience the product will help you adjust the way you approach awareness and training going forward.

Microsoft recommends paying close attention to things like how users incorporate Teams with existing technology and which questions they ask about how to use it.

Finally, you should put considerable effort into building awareness and training across the organization. Microsoft equates this with the “marketing and communications” segment of your overall adoption strategy.

A good awareness and training plan includes deliberate internal communications, which can look like events, signage, and self-help/training information to familiarize people with why this is an important tool.

It’s important to evaluate your success metrics and share them widely to encourage continued adoption across the organization. Microsoft recommends sharing insights from your feedback channels with the hashtag #TeamStories to make them easily searchable. They also recommend sharing a team story company-wide every month to show what increased productivity and collaboration looks like using Teams. 

Meaningful adoption doesn’t happen overnight

As with any major endeavor, success with Microsoft Teams adoption won’t happen overnight. Getting employees engaged, trained properly, and enthusiastic about using this tool will take careful planning, deliberate execution, and discernment about what’s working and what could be improved.

If you enable your champions, measure success, and incorporate feedback, you’ll be well on your way to meaningful adoption across the board.