Lackluster Teams Adoption is Normal, and Can Be Solved

Originally published on Techwire: Lackluster Teams Adoption is Normal, and Can Be Solved

Most State of California organizations have adopted remote/hybrid work—or some of its best practices—and created digital workspaces to allow employees to easily communicate and collaborate whether they’re in the office or at home.

For organizations utilizing Microsoft products, Teams is the central hub of the digital work environment and is deeply interwoven throughout the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

Yet, we quite often hear about state organizations still struggling with a lackluster utilization of Teams. Whether it’s due to slow adoption, low user interest, perceived lack of utility, or even just a rushed launch, IT departments can grapple to get staff to fully embrace a tool as transformational as Teams.

Planet can help.

Adoption Speedbumps in Front of You

The root cause of speedbumps in Teams adoption can be as unique as your organization.

Planet specializes in using adoption and change management techniques to uncover the core of the issue and help you revitalize Teams in a way that’s meaningful for you.

You may be facing some totally normal adoption issues, and it’s helpful to know how we’ve helped other organizations solve them.

Issue: People Don’t Understand Why We Implemented Teams

Does this sound like your organization?

Teams just kind of “happened” when we had to quickly switch to remote work. Most of our users have adopted the critical functions of Teams – because they had to for business continuity. Now that we’re settled into remote work, people are beginning to see the cracks in the foundation and starting to wonder: Is this really the right tool for us?

How we help

When Planet sees this scenario, we recommend a Teams relaunch engagement where we establish a vision statement for Teams and/or your broader M365 productivity ecosystem and then plan an adoption campaign to communicate this vision to your organization. Our goal is to give your people shared language for why Teams is beneficial to them, help them understand what tools to use when, and create excitement around an actual Teams “launch” moment. This relaunch often marries other activities, such as an environment cleanup, or a skills building campaign – but the point is that it is a reset. Think of it as a ribbon cutting ceremony for a building you’ve already spent a bit of time living in and testing out, where we share some meaningful words, bring out the confetti and cake, celebrate, and “make it official.”

Issue: Users Have a High Reliance on IT

Does this sound like your organization?

We have high control over our environment—all team creation requests must go through IT for approval. However, people aren’t engaged in solving simple problems for themselves and send all their questions and issues to IT instead of team owners, which is consuming valuable IT support time.

How we help

When IT is doing work in Teams that they really don’t need to be doing, we do an automated “training gate” engagement where we identify the tasks to take away from IT and set up an automated training and access system to empower end users to take on these tasks and control how and when they do so. For example, if you wanted control of Teams creation but you didn’t want your IT team to be responsible for this task, we would plan and implement a workflow where users request this ability and a learning module to train the users in the steps to create teams and your policies for doing so. Only after the users complete this training gate are they granted permissions to be able to create Teams. We can create training gates most types of Teams and productivity activities, not just administrative skills. Using training gates releases IT from mundane tasks to let them keep their focus on bigger issues.

Issues: People Don’t Seem That Interested in Teams and Its Features

Does this sound like your organization?

We have very few active teams and limited requests to make new ones. People occasionally use teams for file collaboration in small pockets, but most people only open the Teams app for meetings or chat. The productivity features of Teams like tasks, approvals, and general business process execution aren’t even on our users’ radar.

How we help

Partial usage of Teams’ key collaboration tools often means that we need to engage the Teams Champion Management Platform. This toolkit is designed to help you onboard, manage, and inspire champions in your organization so that everyone can achieve more. We work with you to develop a vision for your champions, identify initial champions, plan for, and technically implement the champion platform, and plan an adoption campaign to connect champions to the rest of your organization and enable your champions to get started championing. You’ll be amazed how quickly others become inspired by champions when there is even a little bit of strategy to jumpstart the engine.

Issue: Users Are Paralyzed by Too Many Teams

Does this sound like your organization?

The creation and management of teams has gotten out of control. People are making teams left and right without much oversight, and now our environment is a mess, nobody knows where to go for anything, and people are starting to abandon ship.

When an explosion of “test” and unused teams are cluttering up your environment, we recommend a Teams cleanup engagement. We inventory and categorize all Teams so we can identify what isn’t needed and get rid of it (or archive it). We plan an adoption campaign so people know what has changed and why, point them toward the spaces they should use, and create confidence to act in Teams. We may also set up retention policies so that a team’s lifecycle can be automatically maintained and to better keep your environment tidy as you move forward.

No matter which issues you are facing, Planet helps resolve the thorniest adoption issues by meeting your organization where it is—whether that’s helping end users build foundational skills, cleaning up a messy environment, or generating buzz in the organization—we can help create real enthusiasm for what Teams can bring to your organization, which will allow your people to get the most value and help you maximize your investment.

Contact Jen Dodd at and schedule a discussion to start improving your Teams adoption.