No, not a Spice Girls track from the 90s, but an intuitive employee engagement platform from Microsoft. In the new hybrid world we find ourselves, it’s so important that our people and teams feel connected, motivated and engaged. Businesses need to bring people together whether they are working in the office or from home – a platform like Microsoft Viva helps to bridge that gap to keep teams connected.
Before we get into it, let’s firstly ask ourselves, what is employee engagement and what is employee experience?
Employee engagement is from the perspective of the employer and what they are doing to drive motivation and ensure they are connecting with their team.
Employee experience is simply that – the experience of the employee – and this can be positive or negative depending on the level of employee engagement.
So really it’s about how these two elements come together to form a positive culture for all parties.
Not surprisingly, people are more engaged when their employer invests in them, and actually 94% of employees say they will stay longer with a company that invests in learning and training. Of course, a lot of businesses now understand that their employees are in fact people, and caring for them and their wellbeing actually makes for more productive staff and a happier team. Businesses save money by retaining staff for longer. Who’d have thought treating staff well would be a win win?!
What is Microsoft Viva?
Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform that brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights. Powered by Microsoft 365 and experienced primarily through Microsoft Teams, Viva fosters a culture where people and teams are empowered to be their best from anywhere.
The idea of Viva is to make the experience of working at a company easier, less stressful and less demanding while maintaining productivity. It brings wellbeing and work together in one place rather than seeing them as separate entities. It’s made up of 4 parts:
- If your business uses a SharePoint intranet you can add it to Teams and you can make it your homepage, saving you and your colleagues having to flick from one application to another.
- You can also connect Yammer (Microsoft’s internal workplace social media), which is great for larger corporations, but for SMEs I probably wouldn’t recommend that.
- This is available now. Just go to the 3 dot menu and add ‘Insights’ to your Teams tabs (remember to pin it!).
- The ‘Stay Connected’ tab allows you to keep on top of commitments and tasks – it reads language in emails and Teams messages (don’t worry, everything is still private! It uses an algorithm to work it out).
- It provides personal insights: it will read reminders so you don’t lose track of tasks, you can pin favourite contacts etc.
- Protect Time: this helps you plan ‘Focus time’ in your calendar so you don’t get overwhelmed and will also mark you as ‘Do not Disturb’ on Teams.
- You can send praise to other colleagues which is good for morale.
- This is where you’ll also find the virtual commute – it prompts you at the end of the day to switch off, write any reminders of things to do for the next day and take stock. Headspace, the online mindfulness and counselling service, is now part of Microsoft, so there are all sorts of mental breaks and meditation you can do.
- Research suggests that the average knowledge worker spends seven productive weeks trying to find or recreate information or documents that already exist! Topics helps to reduce this by curating and keeping track of information across different subjects such as a specific customer or service your business has.
- You can bundle related documents together and create header pages so that all information is in one place and easy to navigate.
- The AI engines within 365 and Teams will go through SharePoint and OneDrive to bring all the info together that you need, when you need it!
- There is a whole host of courses and learnings to access – from Microsoft training, to businesses subjects like managing people or being a resilient person.
- Managers and colleagues can share or set training/learning sessions for teams or other colleagues.
- Content can be drawn from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learning or third party providers, such as Cornerstone.
Integrating with Teams
As mentioned previously, Microsoft Viva integrates with Teams. Some organisations may already use a similar platform, such as Tinypulse (we do here at Select), but the great thing about Viva is like with anything Microsoft, it all works very nicely together. Not only can you integrate it with Teams, it can also detect the hours people are working and when so you can manage potential burnout.
How much does it cost?
This is a two-part answer really. There is stuff that is already there if you are a Microsoft 365 customer so you will already have access to the Connections and Insights segments. Topics and Learning come at an extra cost of £3.80 per user, per month.
Is it worth it?
It’s been challenging to maintain a truly connected workforce throughout the pandemic and with hybrid working here to stay Microsoft Viva can be used to help overcome those challenges. I think some sort of employee engagement platform is important, but whether Viva is worth it or the right platform for you will depend on your culture and way of working. If you’re already using another platform like us, it might be worth waiting for Viva to develop a bit further before you jump ship.
Because two of the elements are freely available to Microsoft 365 users, I’d suggest adopting these first and seeing how your business gets on before making the decision to invest in the full package.
Whatever you decide, one thing’s certain – happy and engaged employees make for a more prosperous business!
If you’d like to talk about how your company might adopt Microsoft Viva, get in touch today
Watch our webinar to find out more and see a demo…