Thanks to all of you who checked out MVP Feature Focus 6 featuring Dan Rey where we talked about Microsoft 365 Dynamic Groups & Karoliina Kettukari shares insight on Viva Insights from a team managers point of view. If you missed the episode, you could catch it, and previous episodes, here: aka.ms/InsideMSTeams.
To continue those conversations, please check out their blogs below! And as always, we welcome your feedback on what we can continue to do to help make the show a key resource in your deployment, adoption, management, and securing of Microsoft Teams.
Dan Rey has been Microsoft MVP since February 2022. He maintains a couple of YouTube Channels at http://aka.ms/TipTuesday and https://www.youtube.com/@stilldrey. He is active on Twitter, GitHub and LinkedIn. He has worked on several projects and is also a Microsoft Certified Trainer delivering several classes a month for technical and non-technical audiences.
Dan and I had a great conversation where we dove into Microsoft 365 Dynamic Groups – these really allow you to define membership ahead of time and maintain that membership through a rule that is evaluated, instead of someone adding and removing members. It’s a fantastic way to manage well-known groups with the least number of owners or administrative overhead.
Microsoft Teams uses Microsoft 365 Groups behind them for ownership, members, and guests. Instead of having to set up and maintain a list of members, you can now use a feature called Dynamic Groups to automatically include users in a particular M365 group and thus Microsoft Team!
Besides creating a dynamic group based on attributes like department, location or other custom values in Azure Active Directory, a Microsoft 365 Group can be upgraded from a distribution group. These groups have additional functions like switching them from assigned membership to dynamic group membership.
While most Teams Admins or Owners would be familiar with seeing and controlling membership from within Teams, you can't change permissions of a dynamic group in Teams, you control the query in Azure Active Directory Groups Administration portal.
The real time saver is not having update membership every time someone joins or leaves your department, geography, or custom attribute!
Closing the gap between managers and team members
Microsoft has released (to date) 9 Viva applications and a couple more add-in solutions. My two favourite Viva applications are Insights and Goals because they guide management and employees to work better with concrete actions. Today I highlight the manager insights in Viva Insights.
We all have witnessed that since remote and hybrid work became the norm, employees have struggled to stay connected to their teams and feel overworked under their massive workloads. According to the Work Trend Index (WTI) study, we have 250% more meetings than a couple of years ago. And the fact is, we do not have more meetings than ever before, but our meetings are longer - 45 minutes on average, compared to 35 minutes on average in 2020. The employees are working longer days, sitting in more meetings, and producing more content than ever before.
Despite all these meetings, materials, and communication channels, leaders still feel disconnected from their team members. Over half of the managers (54%, Making Hybrid Work Work) say that leadership is out of touch with employees. What can you do to close that gap and help your employees to thrive?
The key is better communication, better meetings and supporting that precious work-life balance.
Viva Insights is a leadership tool.
Viva Insights collects user data around Microsoft 365, makes it anonymous and creates automatic reports based on how your team members communicate and collaborate. For some, this might raise a concern about security and privacy topics. It's important to understand that Viva Insights complies with GDPR, and it's not a spying tool - it's a wellbeing supporting leadership tool. It's built to help managers to lead their teams better and focus on employee experience. It's about leading based on facts and data, not gut feeling.
Of course, security must be taken seriously. It's important that you go through the Microsoft documentation with relevant stakeholders in your company before turning on Manager Insights. Please study and refer to the Microsoft Documentation on Viva Insights about data protection, privacy for admins and Differential Privacy. Remember to also be transparent in the communication to employees about what data the managers can see.
The focus of this blog and demo is the team manager’s point of view and insights of a particular team. There are other roles, such as group manager and other reports, such as insights from the whole organization. More information about those can be found in the Microsoft documentation.
Manager insights can be found from two tabs in Viva Insights: Teamwork Habits and Organization trends. You will see these tabs if your organization has the applicable licenses, the IT admin has granted you access, you are a team manager in AAD, and your team size is big enough (remember, we take anonymity seriously).
Because we all know that ADs are sometimes a bit of a mess, you can adjust your team. Choose your team members, of course, but you may also want to include others you work closely with from your organization. Please note that the insights are based on the chosen team members.
Teamwork habits: better communication
Almost every manager (96%) and employee (95%) say that effective communication is one of the top skills they will need at work. Half of the employees also feel that their relationships with their colleagues have weakened and feel disconnected from the company. (Forbes & WTI). As we live in the new hybrid world, managers need to support employees and be there for them, even if we are not physically present.
Having regular check-ins is a simple way to stay in touch. Viva Insights helps managers by suggesting available time slots for 1:1s in regular intervals and reminds you if it’s been too long since the previous conversation. You can schedule the next meeting with a single click! The information and suggestions are also available in the Viva Insights Daily Brief e-mails.
Teamwork habits: better meetings
Team meeting habits are a revealing - yet grouped and completely anonymous - statistic about your team. Examine these with care. You must know which numbers are relevant to your team and what you would like to improve.
One thing is certain: our brains need breaks. Running late, multitasking, and overlapping meetings are signs of those back-to-back meeting days. Having 45-minute meetings instead of 60 pays off with being able to concentrate better, focus on the task at hand and simply be present.
As a manager, it's easy to help your team to have better meetings with a shared meeting plan. The plan affects your whole team, and it's the easiest way to ensure that every meeting has a Teams link - and the meetings have that precious gap in between. You can even take one step further with Team agreements - but that’s a topic for a whole another session!
Teamwork habits: Focus & work-life balance
Are you familiar with Triple Peak Day? When you start working in the evening after you once stopped working in the afternoon? Research shows that manager overtime cumulates with employee overtime. Manager insights show the hard facts of how your late-night messages impact your team members.
Viva Insights helps you with simple tips you can share with your team.
Of course, the data itself is not enough. You need to transform information into knowledge and, eventually, into action. In the Organization trends section in Viva Insights, you will see analyzed data with concrete, actionable insights. With one click, you can get started with different, simple methods that help to solve the most significant challenges your team is facing. You have the power - use it to support your team’s well-being and work-life balance.
Thirsty for even more insights?
Dive deeper with the Employee Experience Power BI report with more insights and advanced grouping and filter capabilities. You can find the report in the Organization trends tab. The report requires a Power BI desktop.
As we prepare to close out 2022, we want to thank all of you for your continued passion and support of both Microsoft Teams and this show. We appreciate all your thoughts and feedback.
Over the next few weeks, we will release some product reviews and in early Jan, we will be back with our interview with Special Olympics where we discuss how they ran their Olympic Games in the US and Europe using Teams!
Until then, be safe, be well and we will see you all very soon.
Until next time,
Host of Inside Microsoft Teams
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