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Graphical Acknowledgements From Teams
Office 365 message center notification MC176548 tells us that Microsoft began rolling out the “Praise” feature for Teams on March 27. According to the update, Praise gives users the opportunity “to recognize their colleague’s contributions by sending various badges.” Microsoft’s support article for the feature goes even further and encourages us to “Revel in the good vibes,” which sounds awfully like a line from a song by the Beach Boys.
You’ll know when Praise has reached your tenant when Praise icon turns up under the message compose box. In the mobile clients, Praise is in the […] menu, although this might change in the future. Badges can be sent in personal chat and channel conversations by tenant and guest users.
To praise someone, select the app, select the badge you want to use. There’s only the set provided by Teams to choose from – you can’t add new badges. (It’s already been suggested that a Nerd or Geek badge would be appropriate). In September 2020, Microsoft delivered the ability to create custom badges to allow organizations to create their own accolades.
Next, select the user (or users) you want to send praise to and enter the custom message to go along with the badge. If you send praise in a channel, you can only select recipients from the members of the team (including guests). If you send praise in a personal chat, the recipients must participate in the chat. When finished, click Preview to see the complete message and then Send to dispatch it to the recipients.
Because praise messages are like @mentions, recipients get a notification in their activity feed. And then they notice that they’ve been praised and get a nice warm glow all the way down to their toes.
In some respects, a praise message looks like one that you could compose with a sticker or GIF plus an @mention to the folks being praised. That’s true, but the praise message looks neater and its purpose is clear: you want to appreciate something someone has done.
Guest members of a team see the praise app but they cannot use it to praise other team members as the app fails to fetch the set of team members to allow the praise to be sent. Guest users can send praise in a personal chat, but the other person’s name doesn’t appear in the message. On the upside, tenant users can praise guests in both chat or channel conversations.
Partial Compliance Record
One thing I noticed is that the compliance record captured in Exchange Online for a Teams praise message doesn’t include any graphic content. Below you can see what Outlook displays after finding and exporting a praise message with an Office 365 content search. The text is similar to what’s displayed in Teams, but it’s not the same. Compliance officers don’t like when things are different, so it remains to be seen if Microsoft will update the capture of these messages so that the compliance records are a true copy.
Some Will Like Praise, Some Won’t
Not being one of the fabled millennial community, I don’t quite know if I like praise or not. I have never had a problem saying thank you or acknowledging people in other ways, so I guess this is just another way of getting the job done. Maybe it will grow on me, much like @mentions and reactions.
Praise is not available for tenants in the GCC sovereign cloud, probably because government employees are far too busy to engage in badge-driven tomfoolery.
Need more information about Teams? Read Chapter 13 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. We don’t cover Praise today, but it will be in the April 2019 update, along with all the other stuff that’s changed inside Office 365.