In this case study, discover how we helped a major UK charity successfully engage digitally with employees across the country using Microsoft Teams Live Events – technology that enables live events in Microsof Teams.
Engaging with geographically-dispersed staff
Mencap is a leading UK charity which supports people with learning disabilities, their families and carers. As well as office-based staff, the charity has 8,500 employees working day-to-day with people with learning disabilities.
Mencap’s senior management team wanted to engage with their staff across the UK in a more direct way. This need was made more pressing by the Coronavirus crisis.
As the pandemic spread, with the first lockdown looming, they identified a pressing need to directly communicate vital information on the charity’s response. With many employees working on the front line, issues such as the supply of PPE had become talking points within the organisation. Senior managers needed to address issues head-on and ensure the greatest number of people could have their questions answered.
They looked for a technology solution which would let the charity’s Senior Management Team reach as broad a cross-section of their geographically dispersed staff as possible. The goal was to create an open and transparent conversation.
Making the most of Microsoft 365
Mencap liaised with CompanyNet, who had been their technology partner for several years. We had delivered the charity’s SharePoint-based intranet, going on to advise them on Microsoft 365, including Microsoft Teams. We recommended Mencap make full use of their Microsoft 365 licence by hosting a ‘town hall’-style meeting using Microsoft Teams Live Events to run live events in Microsoft Teams. They were already using Microsoft Teams meetings, so creating a live event in Microsoft Teams was a logical next step.
Teams Live Events lets live audio, video and content be broadcast to large online audiences of up to 20,000 people. Hosts and presenters can be cued up and can share live content such as PowerPoint presentations and screen sharing, and attendees can watch. Using Microsoft Teams, the platform promised to be the ideal interface with which Mencap could create an intuitive and professional broadcast for the greatest number of staff.
Teams Live Events also offered the opportunity for moderated interaction with a large online audience of viewers, creating the direct and open conversation the Senior Management Team had sought.
Choosing the right technology
While we knew Microsoft Teams Live Events was the right vehicle for the event, there were some obstacles to overcome before a successful event could be held. The first challenge was posed by the technology itself. While all Teams Live Events have common core features, there are a number of ways they can be set up which impacts the experience on the day.
For example, if live events in Microsoft Teams are created directly from the Teams app, they can have a moderated Q&A, but will allow anonymous external users to join. Starting the event creation process from Yammer instead results in unmoderated discussion, but will bar anonymous external users from joining. We took Mencap through the options and settled on the one that fit their requirements the most closely – a Microsoft Teams Live Events event launched from Yammer.
Learning the ropes
With the technology selected to have live events produced in Teams, it might have been tempting to simply dive in and run the event. However, with its deep experience of Live Events, the team at CompanyNet instead suggested a familiarisation exercise involving all the presenters and hosts.
This allowed us to provide some basic training on operating the ‘broadcast’ side of the software, as well as allocating roles and responsibilities for the broadcast itself. The ideal situation would see a ‘host’ who would introduce speakers, and staff behind the scenes in Microsoft Teams Live Events who would take on tasks such as cueing up presenters and filtering incoming questions and comments. This took the pressure off the Senior Management Team, leaving them free to answer questions.
A successful nationwide event
Following the trial run, a date was set for the event, and staff were invited to submit questions in advance and during the session itself. In the hands of confident Mencap staff, the Microsoft Teams software took care of the challenges of broadcasting to hundreds of people, resulting in a very successful, engaging and well-attended session.
Mencap employees were delighted with the outcome, sharing very positive comments on the charity’s internal Yammer forum immediately after the event. Their comments included:
“So refreshing to have this access and have honest and passionate answers”
“Mencap’s own version of the Downing Street briefing – except more informative!”
“As a relatively new employee,
it’s good to see there is an open
line of conversation”
“Felt more engaging than a typed conversation”
“This was a helpful way of bringing us all together”
Liz Clyro, Mencap’s Head of Internal Communications, said: “Our first Microsoft Teams Live Events event was a real success and we will definitely be repeating the format. We had great feedback from staff who attended live; and we were especially pleased with the functionality allowing staff to ‘catch up’ on the recorded session if they couldn’t make it live.
“Many of our staff work shifts and would not be able to always attend this sort of event, so having the recording afterwards means many more people have been able to hear directly from our executive team.
“The support and advice we received from CompanyNet ensured our event was well planned and ran smoothly on the day.”
The success of the Microsoft Teams Live Events town hall meeting, and the continuing pandemic situation, has led to plans for further similar online events in the future.
Discover how Microsoft Teams Live Events can benefit your organisation
CompanyNet has delivered Microsoft Teams Live Events implementation and training for major public sector organisations, charities and household names in the private sector.
Whatever the size of your business, we’re here to help with enablement, user adoption and augmentation of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365.
To find out more, drop us a line now for a no-obligation chat with our friendly team of Microsoft experts. Your journey towards transforming your organisation with Microsoft 365 begins today.