Sippin’ our own champagne

At Engage Squared we like to ‘drink our own champagne’, (‘eating our own dog food’ was a contender but we prefer champagne to dog food). As a fast-growing business, we know first-hand how digital solutions can save time and improve productivity. We have designed and developed solutions internally to streamline our own processes to adapt as we grow. The solutions enable our teams to focus on what really matters – delivering quality work to our happy clients. Taking inspiration from Microsoft’s IT showcase, this three-part blog series will look into some of the key solutions our very talented employees have implemented.

To kick our three-part blog series off, we look at three solutions built to support and develop our employees professionally, whilst reducing administrative tasks for the HR team. These solutions all have one thing in common – Joe Eastham (Office 365 solutions guru).

‘OKR’ app

Challenge – Our employees have two performance appraisals annually to review their progress and to set goals and development for the next 6 months. As the company grew, keeping track of professional development became more challenging, and the time spent on administrative tasks increased. There was no centralised location to house the information and make updates or track objectives.

Solution – Joe built a Power App, from scratch, to track OKR’s (objectives and key results) for individuals, managers, and directors. The OKR app enables employees and managers to create objectives with a key result connected to the objective utilizing SQL tables and other internal systems.

Result – The OKR app has centralised OKR’s with a dedicated platform to monitor and track objectives. The solution is easy to use, and it has reduced admin time for HR and managers. OKR’s no longer feel like a stop and start activity because employees can access and update tasks at any time. If a task gets marked as completed by an employee – it sends a message to their manager to confirm. For HR and the directors, they now have full oversight of what the goals are throughout the company, rather than relying on the manger to feed through.

“It’s near 100% improvement in terms of monitoring and tracking”, Georgie Yeandle, HR & Recruitment Manager

‘Get Engaged’ app

Challenge – Engage Squared are employing new talent at a fast rate and as the teams grew, the onboarding process became increasingly harder to manage, especially when there are multiple hires on the same day! Information was not easily accessible and in multiple locations which meant more time spent on administrative tasks. We wanted to make sure our ‘newbies’ have a warm welcome with all the relevant information and support easily accessible.

Solution – Using a Microsoft Power Apps template as a starting point, Joe built the ‘Get Engaged’ app to suit our organisation, using Engage Squared branding and adding extra functionality. The new starter has one platform for their onboarding tasks. They can update their profile which has a flow to their Office profile and OKR app. New starter tasks are provisioned as part of the onboarding process (e.g. where accounts are made and added to groups etc).

Result – New starters are now guided by our ‘Get Engaged’ app which is a step-by-step guide on what they need to know and access to our policies. This is supported by HR who check in throughout the week and is a great point of contact for any questions that pop up, e.g. questions around policies. It gives a snapshot of where the new starter is on their journey in one central location. It also reduces HR’s involvement, e.g. after a new starter has had a session with a colleague, and the new starter marks the task as complete, the app sends an email to the colleague to approve it event took place.

“It makes the HR process so much more streamlined for onboarding because it’s genuinely in one spot. It gives the new starter a lot more autonomy to go at their own pace, as opposed to having to constantly ask people where things and finding things.”, Georgie Yeandle, HR & Recruitment Manager

‘Sickie’ bot

Challenge – The process for notifying relevant people and updating the different systems for when an employee was sick was not clear or easy. People started forgetting one or two of the steps meaning HR would need to go through multiple channels to update our HR system. It was tiresome for the person who was sick trying to remember all the steps and HR having to comb through different platforms to keep track.

Solution – Joe created a bot using Power Virtual Agents, utilizing our Teams license. When an employee is sick, they only need to interact with the bot which sends the information to a SharePoint list. Our Flow Bot checks to see what projects the user is on that week as well as our Project Management system (more on both of these in our next blog) and it posts in Teams, tagging the Project Managers and anyone else added into chat bot. It will also update the employee’s timesheet for the time away. One week after the sick day the user will get a friendly reminder to update our HR system with integration coming once business rules have been defined.

Result – The sickie bot has become a one stop shop for sick employees, no longer needing to complete lots of steps (especially when you aren’t feeling great!). HR no longer needs to go digging to find sick leave as they only need to check the SharePoint list.

“I love that the bot prompts the right questions, and if you don’t want to talk today or are too sick, at least you know that you will be reminded to put into our HR system in a weeks’ time, Georgie Yeandle, HR & Recruitment Manager

Tune in next month where we dive into Raven, our project and portfolio management platform owned by Elaine Batton – created using Power Apps.

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