Technology has the ability to bring people together and build great solutions, and the new Icebreaker bot helps making connections even easier.
The Icebreaker bot is basically a ‘getting to know you’ tool that proactively suggests meet ups between colleagues. People interested in joining these meetings join a group in Teams, and the bot pairs up random people every Monday morning. And then, if you need it to, it can search both your calendars to find mutual available meeting times.
After having read about the Icebreaker bot, Chief Technology Officer Ruan Viljoen at BroadReach Consulting decided to experiment with the Icebreaker bot in his organization. What sparked his attention was that it held the promise to build more personal connections between employees.
BroadReach has a very diverse and eclectic workforce.
He therefore decided to run an experiment within the head office, with about 150 employees situated over various floors, to see if it could help break silos. The leadership team is not only focused on performance, but building a culture of growth, innovation and inclusion. If the bot worked, it could help to facilitate a greater sense of team cohesion. So, he deployed it, and invited a few employees to the open Team.
Ruan Viljoen, CTO, BroadReach Consulting
“It was so simple to get started with Icebreaker in Teams! It’s amazing to see how a small initiative deliver big meaningful impact.”
The experiment was a roaring success. Within a week most employees had joined simply by word of mouth. Ruan himself had a positive experience – he was paired with his direct report, and they realized that they’d not had a chance to grab lunch recently, so they scheduled one. This meeting helped to foster a deep connection.
Other employees within the region were having similar experiences. One employee remarked that at first, he was a bit hesitant to meet the person he’d been paired up with, as they were from different departments and they seldom worked together. However, after the meet-up his outlook changed, and he was pleasantly surprised by the happy and engaged conversation they had.
An employee from the marketing department met with a colleague from administration that they thought they knew quite well – but the casual nature of this meeting (they decided to go for a walk outside) revealed some interesting tid-bits they didn’t know about each other. This one-time ice breaker walk has evolved into regular walks to get out of the office, get moving and take a break and has snowballed into a lunchtime ‘walk n talk’ group!
Given the success of Icebreaker, the team at BroadReach Consulting is now excited to try the rest of the App Templates to make collaborating with team members more fun. If you want to give it a try yourself, you can follow along at this link: www.aka.ms/TeamsAppTemplates