Communicating the value of Tandem internally

Align with your pilot group at the outset about the what you're hoping to accomplish in terms of team communication is a great way to orient everyone around the "why" and can help with any bumpiness as people try a new tool. "We want to do X, Y, and Z and we're looking to see if Tandem can help us accomplish these goals."

A few "why’s" that resonate with teams that use Tandem:

  • Allows for more fluid communication and quick calls with the people you work closely with

  • Makes managers more easily available to their direct reports for synchronous communication and quick chats

  • Allows new hires to be able to chat with each other and with their teams in a more spontaneous fashion while they're ramping up

  • Co-working together remotely with audio and/or video helps reduce remote loneliness, even if you're just working alongside your core team and not necessarily talking, just to be able to ask each other a question from time to time is really nice

  • Provides lots of flexibility and awesome collaboration potential when used for internal team meetings

  • Some teams prefer using Tandem in an audio-only fashion to reduce video fatigue

Pilot approach

Time to pilot

We suggest taking a time-bound approach to trialing Tandem with your team. Usually a week is enough time to get a sense of how the tool can improve your team communication.

Regrouping at the end of each day to discuss what worked well, and what you'd like to try next is helpful. Since so much of team communication is related to your process and culture, you'll want to bring some intentionality, iteration, and discussion to how you use it.

Start with small groups

It's best to walk people through Tandem individually, or in small groups. People usually have a lot of questions and if they are confused and can't easily ask questions because there are a lot of newbies in a call together, it can be disorienting and fatiguing.

Simply inviting people to Tandem isn't enough to get them to adopt it, especially if they join and no one else is online. If managers and leaders have some buy-in, have a basic understanding of Tandem works (ie: have played around with Tandem with a few other folks prior) and how they'd like to use it with their team, that helps.

Using a scheduled meetings as a way to explore Tandem together can be helpful.

Try to have at least one internal meeting a day in Tandem

Moving some or all internal meetings to Tandem for a week is the best way to get your team to spend some time with Tandem. It also helps them keep the app open more frequently, which activates presence in Tandem, allowing for moments of spontaneous engagement and transparency. Meetings are the best hook for that.

Scheduling syncs with people in Tandem (for instance, moving your 1<>1s to Tandem) is a good way to introduce people to the tool, answer any questions they have etc.

We have a Chrome extension and a Google marketplace app that make it easy to schedule meetings in Tandem and put a link into the meeting invite which folks can click to open to join the call in Tandem.

Create some team calendar blocks to co-work together

Eventually teammates find their own flow with co-working and having quick chats in Tandem, but starting off by designating times for the team to use it together while working is a great way for people to get familiar with it (and have others available to use it with.)

Caveats and known challenges with rolling out Tandem

  • Meeting size caps

    • Adding more than 20-30 people to a single call may cause CPU and bandwidth issues depending on everyone's computer

  • Privacy and app sharing confusion

    • Some users are confused by this feature, which automatically shows your current work app to your teammates and allows them to hop to your URL

    • Let your teammates know that Tandem only shows work apps, not sites they visit personally throughout the day like Facebook etc.

    • One value of work app sharing is to convey your work mode with your teammates, which when combined with your calendar gives them a sense of how available you are for a quick call

    • Another value is it makes it easier to join each other on a specific page when in a call together

    • App sharing is for individuals (not for their managers) and every user can turn it on/off in Tandem preferences

  • Connecting Google calendar is essential

    • If teammates don't connect their calendar, then it's very difficult for them to be accessible to others in Tandem, since no one will know if they're free or busy in a meeting

  • Meeting rooms are only available for Gsuite users

    • Since meeting rooms (ephemeral rooms that popup for scheduled meetings) are such a helpful hook for adoption, if you team uses Outlook it may be a bit tricker to coordinate when and where your team should use Tandem

  • How to schedule Outlook meetings in Tandem

    • For internal meetings, write Tandem in the description or in the title as well as the room to meet in (for small to medium groups)

    • For 1<>1s or meetings with a few people you can always call each other directly in Tandem and add anyone else to that call

Resources

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