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Love the One You’re With: Rocking the Tools You Already Have!

Does the following exchange sound familiar?  

Executive 1: “Our employees are struggling to work and connect in a hybrid environment. What should we do?” 

Executive 2: “How about we research community-based technologies that can help us bring our teams closer together?” 

Executive 1: “I like that idea. Let’s do that.” 

A couple of months later, a new technology is introduced to the team. The results, however, are negligible.

While a slight exaggeration, that is not too far from reality. According to PwC's report, Our Status With Tech at Work: It’s Complicated, 90% of C-suite executives say their organization pays attention to peoples’ needs when introducing new technology. But their employees would beg to differ; only 53% of staff say the same. When it comes to the selection and implementation of new technologies, employees want to be heard and included in the decision-making. But let’s be real, it might not always be possible to connect with every employee, let alone choose a solution or platform that will satisfy everyone.  

Instead of adding to the existing tech stack, organizations should consider turning to the tools they already have and augmenting their use. The advantages are clear: Along with cost savings, employees are familiar with the platforms they use every day. This solution keeps any change management and training needs to a minimum. For this blog, let’s assume Microsoft 365 is available to employees and all the features covered here are already available to the organization.  


Working in a Hybrid World 

The ask is to create a PowerPoint for an instructor-led session. The Instructional Designer (ID), let’s call them Jordan, resides in Atlanta. The three Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) that are needed to create content are spread out across California, New York, and Alabama, where the organization is headquartered. Using Microsoft Teams, Jordan creates a working document in Word and uploads it to SharePoint. Everyone works at their own pace, in their own time zone, using the working document to answer questions, address comments, and check off action items. When the content is finalized, Jordan opens the Word document through Office Online and uses the “Export to PowerPoint” function to convert the Word document to a PowerPoint presentation. Microsoft’s AI engine automatically suggests multiple design themes including images with alt tags that Jordan can choose from. Jordan still needs to make some small updates and changes, but this process is much faster than building a PowerPoint from scratch. 


Connecting in a Hybrid World 

Jordan sometimes feels a bit lonely in Atlanta because all their colleagues are spread across the country. They have access to Microsoft Viva Engage and they can join conversations on particular topics, create, upload, and share stories, and follow topic hashtags. This helps build dialogue and camaraderie across teams and departments. Imagine a fun community site that shares cooking recipes or other content from hobby-related groups; Jordan gets to know their colleagues better, even if they are working from home. They also follow a conversation around the topic of the instructor-led training they had to create, which helps them design additional performance support tools for their learners.  

To make this experience even more engaging, the organization considers building a chatbot using Power Virtual Agent, part of Microsoft Copilot Studio. This conversational chatbot uses AI with natural language processing and allows for two-way conversations. Jordan can, for example, ask about ongoing virtual social events or dig deeper into the topic of the training they are designing.  


Staying on Top of the Hybrid World 

These are just two examples of how the way we work has changed over time. It isn’t easy for employees to work in a hybrid or even fully remote environment. Leveraging tools your organization already has in place as a low-cost option frees up employees from having to learn new technology, which reduces change management fatigue. Using existing tools that work for onsite, remote, and hybrid employees fosters a feeling of togetherness and purpose — no matter where they work. 

Your organization can realize significant time savings without spending additional monetary resources and focus instead on creating learning resources that make a difference to the bottom line.


Interested in learning more about how you can use tools you already have differently? Reach out to an Ardent expert today.

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