Long after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted, organizations were still struggling to keep employee engagement and connections high. Especially as the number of employees working in a remote or hybrid situation continues to rise. Organizations need to keep workers motivated and driven to achieve both personal and professional goals to improve business performance and increase employee satisfaction. The challenge, however, is providing opportunities for employee engagement and connection in remote settings.
To help organizations provide these opportunities, Microsoft created Viva—an employee experience platform with dozens of tools and capabilities that bring resources, insight, communications, and learning into a single platform. The platform is powered by Microsoft 365 and integrates directly into Microsoft Teams, providing employees with skill development, connection, and engagement opportunities directly within their line of work.
Said Kipp Sorensen, COO at JourneyTEAM, “Microsoft Viva offers a comprehensive solution for improving employee engagement, well-being, learning, and collaboration, providing personalized learning experiences and easy access to relevant information and resources to increase productivity and job satisfaction, all in one centralized platform. It aims to create a more engaged and productive workforce by fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth.”
Below, we’ll dive into the 8 tools that make up Microsoft Viva, including Connection, Engage, Pulse, Amplify, Learning, Insights, Goals, and Topics. We’ll also discuss how each one enables organizations to improve the employee experience, drive business performance, and enhance engagement for both in-person and remote workers.
Viva Connections is a personalized and interactive central hub that keeps your entire team connected. With more than 70% of employees not feeling engaged at work, Connections is all about boosting that number.
The platform includes:
Resources: This provides easy-to-use navigation elements from the SharePoint application based on the sites and pages your employees visit and follow.
Dashboard: These are personalized cards that enable employees to access important content or tools, enabling them to work together more efficiently and effectively.
Feed: Employees are presented with a personalized feed with content from SharePoint Sites and Engage communities that your team works with or follows. This enables them to stay up-to-date and on top of the latest news or updates from within the organization.
Formerly known as Yammer, Engage delivers high-value employee experiences by connecting leaders, communicators, and employees to help them build communities, share knowledge, and increase engagement throughout the organization.
The tool has a similar look and feel to Facebook with a ‘stories’ section where users can make posts or upload media like pictures or videos. According to Microsoft, Engage was designed to help leaders communicate more easily with employees as well as provide a place for everyone to feel heard and included.
Expected for public release in July 2023, Pulse is all about collecting feedback from teams. The platform includes easy-to-use feedback templates to capture feedback (including anonymous feedback) directly in employees’ line of work.
For example, leadership can create a well-being questionnaire to determine how employees feel about an organization’s work-life balance or healthcare benefits. Authors can use AI-generated questions or create their own to capture in-depth, relevant feedback from employees. Questions can then be populated within Teams for easy access.
Also expected to be released in July 2023, Amplify provides leaders and communicators with a centralized communication hub. All communication processes can be created via writing templates that can then be sent out through various channels. The centralized hub provides everyone with a single place to view news, project or task updates, announcements, upcoming tasks, company policies, and more.
Viva Learning aggravates training content from across content providers and brings them into the flow for employees. This provides them with the opportunity to learn and gain new skills directly in the flow of work. The intuitive dashboard features:
An intuitive search bar where users can search for courses/trainings that interest them
Access learning materials quickly via quick links or bookmarks
Course recommendations to further learning journeys (can be powered by AI or by users/admins)
Save or share courses
‘My Learning Dashboard’ where learners can view current, planned and recommended courses in a single window
All courses feature a summary and duration, allowing users to complete trainings that fit within their schedule and planned learning path.
This personal and team well-being module within Viva tracks how well employees/teams are working and how you can improve things like work-life balance, productivity, or engagement. For example, Insights features a well-being tab where leadership or users can set up:
No meeting days
Time for email responses
When selected, Insights blocks out time on Outlook which helps keeps users organized and on track.
Insights also features reflection tracking, enabling users to determine how well they’re balancing both their personal and professional life. Additionally, by tracking these metrics, employees as well as leadership get deeper insight into personal and working habits. For example, Insights captures meeting metrics such as average duration, whether an RSVP was sent, the average amount of time per day spent in meetings, and whether a follow-up meeting was created. Capturing this data helps identify where meeting times could be improved or how much of an impact that meetings have on completing tasks. These insights are also available to admins, enabling them to see where improvements could be made.
Goals is Viva’s alignment solution. The tool connects teams to the organization’s strategic priorities and unites them to that purpose, furthering goal completion. Essentially, Goals ensures that employees across the organization are aligned on company goals and actively working to meet them. It also captures goal progress, providing valuable visibility into whether goals will be completed on time. For example, the Goals dashboard shows individual OKRs as well as company goals and a progress tracking bar. As goal tasks are completed, the progress bar is adjusted, enabling employees to clearly see how their progress also contributes to company goals. This has been shown to increase both engagement and motivation within organizations.
Finally, Viva Topics uses AI to gather and organize content from across an organization’s Microsoft 365 ecosystem. More simply, Topics scrubs and searches the entirety of a business’ SharePoint and Teams environment and gathers content. That content is then organized into topics such as Outlook, Power BI, data science, email, project management, etc. The platform will also provide recommendations on how to organize content to help employees find resources more easily. To maintain security, Topics only allows approved users to access confidential documents so they remain secure.
Additionally, to help employees get the most from Outlook, Topics will gather content (such as Word documents or PDFs) from across an organization’s Microsoft 365 system. Content is then presented in a single dashboard, providing users with resources on how to best use or troubleshoot Outlook. Topics also feature experts within the organization who can help with particular subjects. If users have additional questions, they can easily reach out to individuals within the organization for help.
Viva Pricing and Licensing
Because Microsoft Viva is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, Microsoft users may already have access to some Viva tools. Viva is also available at $12 per user per month; the subscription price includes access to: Connections, Engage, Learning, Insight, Topics, and Goals. A further breakdown of Viva’s pricing and licensing can be found below:
Ready to Boost Employee Engagement?
If you’re ready to increase engagement, motivation, and success across your entire organization, contact JourneyTEAM. We’re happy to help with any of your needs—from minor questions to major projects. Get started by contacting us today.
Want to see more of Viva?
Check out our webinar ‘Unlocking the Power of Microsoft Viva: A Guide for Modern Teams’.
“The Microsoft Viva modules each bring unique value to the table. In the webinar, I showed how Connections & Engage can improve the health of your team's relationship with each other and leadership. Brent showed how Insight and Learning can grow your team's capabilities and previewed Pulse and Amplify. Kipp finished up with a deep dive into how Goals and Topics will let you both measure performance against objectives and empower a greater understanding of your organization's unique information. Any single Viva module can be transformative to your teams, all the modules together will supercharge the way you work together to drive performance and results.”
—Kevin Zollinger, Senior Architect on the Collaboration and Content Team, JourneyTEAM