Using Power Apps for Remote Employee Appreciation

As we enter our 7th week (correct on date published) here at Allsop of working at home, we have reflected on some of the positive outcomes this shift has enabled. This has included team members feeling more productive, less stressed and having more free time. This free time has been used to learn new hobbies, take more regular exercise, spend quality time with family, friends and pets or just catch up on sleep.

Although we realise we were in a fortunate position to easily switch to working from home seamlessly, due to working remotely already being an option for the team and the cloud-based technologies we use being able to facilitate this. We have recognised that one negative of the current situation of prolonged remote working, is that we all miss the team interaction in the office.

For now, gone are the days of buying your work buddy a coffee to say thanks for their help on a certain project or a beer on a Friday as a thanks for staying late to sort a glitch for a client. In a bid to try and replicate these gestures of appreciation, we wanted to use technology to encourage employee communication and say thanks when team members have gone above and beyond.

At Allsop even prior to working from home, most of our internal digital interactions happen on Microsoft Teams. So we knew that this was the platform we wanted to use. Looking at teams we researched a few of the different apps available. We found that many of apps available did part of what we wanted but none of them were quite right. Because of this, we decided to build our own app using Microsoft Power Apps.

The Solution 

Microsoft Power Apps is a powerful app builder that allows you to easily and quickly develop and launch your own apps. This meant we could develop and customise it to be exactly what we wanted. We were able to quickly develop a simple to use solution integrated with other Microsoft products such as Microsoft Teams, Power BI and Power Automate.

We developed our Power App using the pre-existing Shoutout app to create our very own ‘Allsop Shoutouts.’ To keep it in line with our culture we based our Allsop shout-outs on our core values allowing employees to recognise these as they are displayed by the team. Our core values include putting the customer first, being accountable, respectful, continually improving and passionate.

The app allows team members to recognise a person, the value they have shown, add a comment to this and why it was appreciated. This is then posted automatically into a Microsoft Teams channel for everyone to see and also notifies the shoutout receiver. The data that drives this is also stored in SharePoint for use in a Power BI report.
Although it is likely that we will continue to use the Allsop Shoutouts once we return to the office, I’m sure coffee and beers will still be appreciated as a close second. 

Solution Architecture

Power Apps was used to create the Shoutout app that runs on both mobile and desktop devices. In this case we have modified one of the sample apps that come with Power Apps. The app can be accessed using an app or it can be accessed via Microsoft Teams.

SharePoint is used to store the data that is collected from the Shoutout app.

Power Automate is used to get data from the Shoutout app and put it into a nice user-friendly format using an Adaptive Card. This nicely formatted card is then passed to Microsoft Teams via Power Automate.

Microsoft Teams is used as the central tool in Allsop for collaboration. The Adaptive Cards are passed into our main team channel and the recipient of the shoutout is tagged automatically.

Power BI is used to report against the data collected from the usage of the Shoutout app.

Allsop Shoutouts – Screenshots of Workflow

This is just one of many use cases for a Power App, if you are interested in understanding how Power Apps could be utilised in your business, drop us a message or give us a call on 028 9018 3250. 

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