Image of team members submitting ideas using the Employee Ideas app in Microsoft Teams.

Gather and Vote on Ideas with Your Team Using the Employee Ideas App

Josh Logozar
April 1, 2021

Microsoft continues to make the hybrid work environment much easier and more accessible to everyone. Let's take a look at the recently released Employee Ideas app for Microsoft Teams that will allow you to easily collect ideas from your team.

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Microsoft continues to roll out amazing Power Apps that are located right inside your Teams! They have just rolled out the “Employee Ideas” app. This is a great application that will allow you to create an ideas campaign, and then allow your employees or peers to enter ideas within, and vote on the ones that they believe are the best ideas for them. There are a few steps that we need to do before we can start hearing ideas from everyone.

Setting Up Your Employee Ideas App

To start, we need to set up our app. Start by clicking on the “…” in your navigation sidebar. You will then search for “Employee ideas”, and click on the “Employee ideas” app. This will then give you a pop-up that will explain what it does. To add it to your team, click the “Add to a team” button.

Image of adding the Employee Ideas app in Microsoft Teams.
Add the Employee Ideas app to your Teams.

You will now be asked which team you would like to add it to. You can select any Team (depending on the settings, it may only be Team Owners that can add apps), and it will then be housed in the general chat, or you can select a specific channel.

This is great if you have a split team, because you can make sure that the ideas coming out are specific to the members of that channel. If you click the drop-down, you will see all the Teams that you are a part of, and their general channels. If you want to add them to a specific channel, you can simply search for it, and it will auto-complete it for you.

Image of adding the Employee Ideas app in Microsoft Teams.
You can specify which team and channel you want to add the app to.

It will take a few minutes to install, but once complete, you will receive a notification in Teams and by email. Go back into the channel, and you will notice that a tab has been created at the top.

The first time you open the app, you will be asked where you would like any messages from the app to be posted. Simply click on the channel you want to get the notifications, and click on “Let’s go”. This can be changed at any time from the application settings.

Manage Employee Ideas Dashboard

Once you first open the Manage Employee Ideas app, you will notice a few things. You first see the Weekly top contributors and the number of ideas they have put in. You will also see the Weekly top ideas, which are the ideas that have the most votes this week.

The app will autofill with sample campaigns, and sample ideas that are then associated to people located within the channel. You can delete all of these if you wish to keep them organized.

Image of the manage ideas dashboard in the Employee Ideas app in Microsoft Teams.
The Manage Ideas dashboard give us an overview of all the ideas from out teams.

Employee Ideas Settings

In the top right-hand side of your dashboard you are going to find your settings button. From there you are able to change a few key options. The first one that you are going to notice is the option of “Team Owner Restricted?” which is a great option to help make sure that only team owners can manage, create, delete, and use the settings menu. The other option that you have is deciding where your messages will be posted when you create campaigns or ideas.

Image of the settings options for the Employee Ideas app in Microsoft Teams.
Setting permissions help manage who has access to the app.

Deleting or Editing a Campaign

I would normally suggest against deleting campaigns. You will lose all of the contents of the campaign, which includes all of the ideas your employees have submitted. By default, any campaign that has expired will not show up on the main dashboard, so it will continue to stay organized.

To edit or delete your campaign, click on the campaign you would like to work on, then click on "Edit" in the top right-hand corner.

Image of editing a campaign in the Employee Ideas app for Microsoft Teams.

Once you have clicked on that, you will be brought into the editing screen. From here, you can change any of the details, such as fixing a spelling mistake, changing the questions that are asked for the idea, or even changing the dates that the campaign is running.

If you do truly want to delete the campaign, simply click on the "Delete" button in the top right corner.

Image of editing a campaign in the Employee Ideas app for Microsoft Teams.

Creating an Idea Campaign

The best part about the Employee Ideas app is that it's not just a large collection of ideas, but instead a collection of campaigns that people can put their ideas in. With a campaign, you can set a start and end date, and set questions that will be answered for every idea submitted.

To create a campaign, from your main dashboard, click on "Add campaign" button on the right-hand side.

Image of adding a campaign in the Employee Ideas app for Microsoft Teams.
Add new campaigns directly from your dashboard.

Here is where you get to do all of the fun things! Name your campaign, give it a solid description so that the ideas you get will match up to what you are looking for, and create a start and end date for this campaign.

You can also add an image to this. There are quite a few stock images that you can use, or you can upload your own. You also may add questions that will be asked when someone submits an idea, and they can be numbered scale questions, text questions, or a combination of both. These questions can be anything! Things such as “How much effort will your idea take?” to “Please provide a cost estimate to your idea.” This will provide you with great information on the ideas provided.

The last thing you will look at is posting it to the channel. There is a little tab in the top right that will let you post the campaign to the channel so that people are aware that it has been posted. If you do not want to clutter up your channel conversations, and you have made everyone aware that they should be checking the Ideas tab regularly, you can pass on this step.

Submitting Ideas

We’ve cleaned up our ideas, and we have created our first campaign. It is now time to see how what the end-user experience is. To do this, click on the “ideas” tab. This will bring you to where you can see the campaigns, add your ideas, and vote on the ideas you like.

We are going to start by adding an idea to the campaign we created. Once you are in the Ideas, click on the campaign you would like to answer. Once you have clicked on that, you will be redirected to the “Submit ideas” page. From here, click on the “Submit an idea” in the top right-hand corner.

Image of submitting an idea in the Employee Ideas app for Microsoft Teams.
Employees can submit their own ideas to campaigns.

Once you have clicked "Submit an idea", you will be brought to a page that is similar to when you were creating it. You will have to give your idea a title, enter a description, and answer the questions that were created. You can also provide a picture for the idea, and attach any supporting documentation that you may want for your idea!

Finally, before submitting, you can decide if you want the idea shared to the channel or not. Once you are complete, click on "Submit idea", and your idea will show up in the campaign.

Viewing and Voting on Ideas

Voting on ideas is how you can gauge how well-received an idea can be from other employees, and helps prioritize which ideas the office thinks are the best.

To view and vote on ideas from your colleagues, from the main ideas dashboard, click on the campaign that you would like to view. From there you will get a listing of all of the ideas that have been submitted to this campaign. From here, voting is as easy as clicking on the "thumbs-up" button beside the idea. That is all you need to do, the idea has been voted on, and your say has been put in.

Image of voting on an idea in the Employee Ideas app for Microsoft Teams.
Voting on an idea is a simple as giving it a thumbs-up!

Teams and the Power Platform

Microsoft is continuing to develop apps that will help you collaborate in the hybrid work environment, and that really showcase the power and flexibility of both Teams and the Power Platform. If you have an idea for your business that you want to implement, reach out to us at Blueshift, and we can look at building a solution for you.

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