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How to host engaging employee training programs in Microsoft Teams

The Polly Team

Teams Training Hero

What you'll learn

  • How to engage trainees throughout the entire lifecycle of your training program
  • How to maximize feedback gathering to continuously improve training sessions
  • How to add in engagement opportunities during live training sessions with Ice Breakers, Hot Takes, Polls, and Quizzes

What you'll need

  • Polly installed to your Microsoft Teams space
  • A dedicated Teams Chat for your training program

The problem

How can you launch internal employee training programs within Microsoft Teams that have a high level of engagement from start to finish?

Our hypothesis

When you’re able to tackle three key things well, we guarantee employee engagement during training sessions will increase significantly:

  1. Make it easy for people to engage before and during training sessions
  2. Include interactive components throughout the training program
  3. Build feedback loops so that you can gain a deeper understanding of what’s working, what needs to be improved, and how to continuously build for better, more engaging future sessions


In this playbook, we’ll walk you through how to tackle all three with Polly and Microsoft Teams


Microsoft Teams training workflow

The solution

1Have a dedicated Teams Chat for trainees

Whether you’re putting managers through leadership training or launching personal development programs for employees, it’s important to have a dedicated and centralized place for trainees to refer back to throughout the program.


If you’re an organization that uses Microsoft Teams, launching training programs as a Teams in-meeting chat ensures that you’re able to:

  • Easily keep the lines of communication open throughout the training program
  • Give trainees a dedicated place to get all of the information they need
  • Have a consistent place to launch important surveys, polls, or Q&As to gather valuable feedback and questions before, during, and after every training session


By having a dedicated place for training programs and related comms, organization becomes easier for moderators.

Dedicated Teams Chat for new Trainees


2Start every training session with an engaging team building exercise


Start every training session with a fresh and unique team building activity. With Polly for MS Teams, you’ll be able to pick from a range of hybrid team building activities, including: 

  • Icebreakers: And no, we’re not talking about asking “So… how was everyone’s weekend?” 
  • Hot Takes: Launch low-stakes, but highly controversial opinions to build camaraderie and moments for trainees to talk about all week. A great example of a Hot Take would be “True or false: Dogs are friends, while cats are roommates.”
  • Trivia: Start every training session with a quick game of unrelated or on-topic trivia. 
  • Quizzes: Launch interactive and engaging quizzes to start the session or launch quizzes throughout training (but more on that in a little bit!)


When you’re able to engage your audience within the first 5 minutes and get them participating, you’ll set everyone up for a great training session ahead!


Launch team building activities, like Hot Takes with Polly and Microsoft Teams

Check out how to set up your Polly’s before every training session to ensure you’re prepared for a great session every time.


3Create an inclusive environment for all participants regardless of location

It’s no secret that hybrid meetings can be tricky and difficult for remote workers. In hybrid environments, it can be easy for a group of people participating in-office to tune out those joining virtually.


That’s why it’s so important for training facilitators to be extra intentional when it comes to running hybrid programs. But, lucky for us, there are some easy-to-implement strategies that can help us facilitate more inclusive environments for our audience, in-person and remote. 


Let’s walk through a few:


Strategy 1: Make it remote for everyone

Instead of having onsite employees join together in one big meeting room, have everyone join the training session virtually. That ensures that you only have to optimize for one experience: virtual training.


Of course, you need to have an office that can facilitate having multiple people virtually joining into these sessions at the same time. So, if you’re not equipped with a lot of meeting rooms (or they’re always booked up) or telephone booths, it may be hard to implement this.


Power your next training program with Polly. Get a 1:1 walkthrough

Strategy 2: Introduce a facilitator

Depending on the size of your training group, it can be a big ask to not only present the training program content, but to moderate the session too. Having a facilitator can help create a more inclusive environment because you’ll have a dedicated person whose role is to actively:

  • Read and respond to messages in the chat
  • Address questions as they come up
  • Call out raised hands as they happen
  • Launch polls, surveys, and quizzes
  • Any other moderation tasks that come to mind
How to add an Owner to your Polly

By adding Owners to your Polly, you’re giving another person on your team to see and manage Polly just like you can. This is the easiest way to introduce a co-facilitator to your training program. 


Owners can be added at any time, regardless of if a Polly is open or closed. To do this, just follow these step-by-step instructions:

  • Go the Team where the Polly is created
  • Click on the Polly tab on the top
  • Click on Management Controls (i.e. 3 dots) > Owner
  • Type the team member name or press the downward pointing arrow. List of the team members who can be made owner will appear (video guide is below)
  • Click "Add User"



Strategy 3: Provide more than one way to participate 

It can feel less intimidating for a participant to put their hand up when they’re in the same room (or alternatively if they’re remote). Giving trainees the ability to participate in a variety of ways ensures that everyone has a different avenue to share feedback and make their voice heard throughout the training program.


With Polly, you can introduce a wide range of opportunities for trainees to participate, including: 


Kicking off every training session with a team building activity: Get people in the habit of participating at the start of every session.


Sending timely surveys and polls in-between and during sessions: Whether you’re looking to gather feedback throughout the training program or checking in on progress, use Polly to schedule and send timely surveys and polls to keep the lines of communication open.


Launching in-session quizzes: If you really want to double-down on learning, you can launch quizzes during your training session. Within MS Teams, you can prepare your quizzes beforehand and launch them altogether or sporadically throughout your session. Plus, you’ll be able to display a leaderboard for all trainees to see. Who doesn’t love a good competition?


Launch an in-session quiz on microsoft teams with polly

When it comes to quizzes, Polly customers have even shared that they’re a great way to gauge if people—especially those tuning in virtually—are engaged throughout the session. Because, it’s one thing to be on the call, it’s another to be listening.


Plus you can export all of that data and feed it right into your LMS system if you’d like!


4Schedule timely feedback gathering Pollys


The best way to continuously improve your training program? Timely feedback.

With Polly, you’ll be able to schedule a wide range of surveys and polls to gather valuable feedback from trainees. 


Some Pollys you can embed into your training program include:

  • Feedback surveys after every training session
  • Post-training weekly or monthly check-ins
  • Timely quizzes to reinforce learning opportunities pre- and post-training sessions
  • Open-ended surveys to collect feedback across training content, timing, and anything else that comes to mind


Not sure how to structure your Pollys? You can access pre-made templates in Teams


Drive survey engagement by 10x

Adding a Microsoft Form into your lesson documents isn’t enough. Not only is it an additional step trainees have to take—meaning they’re less likely to engage—but it might not get seen altogether.


Instead, make it easy and frictionless for your audience to participate in Q&As, polls, and surveys directly from their training program chat. 


💡 The key to success at this stage? Sending post-event surveys through DMs—directly to every attendee. Sending surveys via DMs has proven to increase survey response rates by 3.5X versus channels.


5Kick off your training program feedback loop


Aggregate and learn from all of the feedback surveys and polls throughout your training program.


Teams data analysis graph

With a continuous stream of feedback across every stage of the training program, you’ll be able to uncover key areas to improve and implement for the next cohort. Analyze and compare:

  • Post-training session feedback across every session to easily identify your most (and least) effective training sessions.
  • In-between session pulse checks data to help identify if there are moments within the program that people are more likely to drop off or disengage.
  • Cohort vs. cohort feedback to better understand if the changes you’ve made are making a positive difference in the training program experience.


Power your next training program with Polly