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Praise Your Own Way
I’ve never been a huge fan of the Teams Praise app. As an acknowledged curmudgeon, lauding someone publicly with a decorative badge is not in my nature. But while not fully appreciating the usefulness of an app like Praise in the enterprise, I do see how it is useful in an education setting where goal achievement is often rewarded with public recognition.
All of which brings me to the topic of customizable praise for Teams, announced in Office 365 notification MC220516 on August 18 and due to roll out to tenants in December 2020 (it’s been delayed a little). According to Microsoft 365 roadmap item 64978, this is the “ability to create custom Praise badges (title, colors, images, language) that expresses company culture.” A tenant can create up to 25 custom praise badges for its own purposes.
A tenant can also create customized versions of the badges in the two sets (Default and Social and emotional learning badges for education) supplied by Microsoft. Each set has 12 badges, which are downloadable from the online documentation. The Praise app loads the default set unless you disable this in the app settings.
Building Custom Badges
The first thing to do is to figure out what purpose custom badges will serve. The reason why someone should use a badge to praise someone should be obvious. For instance, you might want to create a badge with your corporate logo, or one for top salespeople who overachieve their sales targets.
Once you’ve decided what custom badges to add, open Manage apps section in the Teams admin center, find the Praise app and access its settings (Figure 1).
Scroll down to the Custom badges section and select the Add option. You’ll need to know:
- Badge name: The name that appears in Teams and is visible to users. You can also enter localized badge names for the languages your tenant uses Teams in. If necessary, you can exclude locales where the badges are not to be used.
- Image file: This is a PNG image of 40 KB or less. An inconsistency exists between the pixel dimensions given in the Teams admin center (288 x 288) and those stated in the online documentation (216 x 216). I used the larger value. A basic picture editor like Paint (Figure 2) can generate the PNG files.
- Badge colors: You need to give hex values for two colors. One is used for the badge name (text color); the other is for the badge background. You can use sites like htmlcolorcodes.com to find the right color codes.
When all the custom badge settings are input (Figure 3), click Apply to add the data to the settings of the Praise app.
Finally, click Submit (Figure 4) to have Teams publish custom badges for use with the Praise app. Microsoft suggests that you publish all custom badges together as it takes a little while before the new badges are available to Teams desktop and browser clients.
Using Custom Badges
After publication, when users access the Praise app, custom badges are shown before the default set (Figure 5).
No difference exists in how custom badges are used. However, if you make poor color choices for the badge name and background, your custom badges might not look as good as the normal set. Take the example shown in Figure 6. The top version of the badge uses a hex color code of #242EF0 (a blue hue). The bottom version uses a white background (#FFFFFF) and looks much better.
Artistic Badges Wanted
I’m still not a huge fan of the Teams Praise app, but I do like it when an app is customizable to meet organization-specific needs. Microsoft has done a good job of supporting custom badges. It will be interesting to see what kind of badges are produced.