There is no denying the digital transformation has been significantly accelerated due to the pandemic. In response to the Government restrictions, businesses across a range of sectors have been forced to adapt, with widespread remote working becoming the new normal for many.

To facilitate this, organisations have turned to business collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, with an astonishing 115 million daily active users now utilising the service. With no sign of the restrictions being lifted anytime soon, tools and services that enhance the employee experience look to be a smart investment moving forward.

Unfortunately, these tools are often fragmented, hard to find and disruptive to the flow of work, which is counter-productive for businesses looking to thrive instead of survive in the current climate. In response to this, Microsoft has focused its efforts on a new category of solutions called employee experience platforms (EXP) that provide people with the resources and support they need.

In this blog, we have taken a closer look at the recent release of Microsoft Viva – the first EXP of the digital era that brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources and insights into one integrated and empowering experience

Viva Connections

Microsoft Viva includes four key modules; Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Learning and Viva Topics, with Microsoft hinting there are more to come. Although businesses have adjusted to widespread remote working, according to research nearly 60 percent of workers feel less connected to their team since the move.

This can be challenging for employees of all experience levels, but especially new hires, who are unable to meet their colleagues upon joining the business. Therefore, Viva Connections (VC) provides a single point of entry for employee engagement and internal communications – a gateway to the digital workplace.

Built on Microsoft 365 capabilities like SharePoint, VC provides a curated and branded employee destination, that allows leaders to connect with employees and employees to access important resources and news.

Presented within a personalised feed and dashboard, employees can easily interact with helpful resources from Microsoft Viva and other apps across the digital workplace. Viva Connections is highly customisable too, so the newsfeed can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of each user.

Viva Insights

It’s easier for businesses to make important decisions when they have access to data-driven insights. Instead of acting impulsively or guessing which course of action is best, organisations perform better when they are making decisions based on data, as this allows everyone in the organisation to thrive.

Viva Insights (VI) gives individuals, managers and leaders personalised and actionable privacy-protected insights, bringing new personal wellbeing experiences, insights and recommended actions from Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics into Microsoft Teams.

From a managerial perspective, VI allows people to monitor the performance and wellbeing of their wider team, so they can see who is at risk of burnout and offer support to them before the situation escalates. Meanwhile, Viva Insights helps company leaders address complex challenges and respond to change by uncovering organisational work patterns and trends.

When combined with other data sources, these insights are even more powerful, providing leaders with organisational network analysis that helps them understand the cohesion between teams in different locations. Of course, security is key when handling sensitive data, so Viva Insights uses aggregation and de-identification to ensure continued compliance.

Viva Learning

For thriving businesses, it’s crucial that they retain their most talented employees, whilst offering opportunities for people to develop and grow within their roles. According to a recent LinkedIn report, 94 percent of employees said they would stay longer at a company if it invested in their learning.

With Viva Learning (VL), employees can expand their knowledge and skillset naturally as part of their everyday work, discovering training courses and microlearning content. Not only this, but managers can assign courses to specific individuals and track their progress within the service.

Using AI that recommends the right content at the right times, VL is the learning hub of the business that aggregates content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, your organisation’s own custom content and training from third party content providers.

Microsoft recently announced partnerships with a number of high-profile providers, including Cornerstone OnDemand, Saba and SAP SuccessFactors, ensuring employees have access to the best possible development opportunities.

Viva Topics

Sometimes, finding an expert, understanding company acronyms or accessing the content you need can be tedious, especially if you’re working remotely. Unfortunately, this has a negative impact on business productivity, as employees spend a long time searching for or recreating information, instead of completing tasks.

Viva Topics (VT) aims to improve this by allowing people to harness and connect with the knowledge in their organisation. Using AI technology, VT automatically organises company-wide content and expertise into relevant categories, so workers don’t have to spend hours manually searching for the info.

If an employee comes across an unfamiliar topic, instead of going out their way to find the answer, they can find the necessary knowledge through the topic cards that are surfaced. When employees click on a card, a topic page appears with documents, videos and related people. Company experts can curate the info shown in VT by sharing knowledge through highly customisable websites called Topic Pages.

Along with content from Microsoft Cloud, Viva Topics also includes information from third-party services and builds on integrations made by partners like Accenture, Avanade and BA Insight, to offer a more comprehensive and complete service.

Maintain productivity during lockdown

With the UK currently in the middle of another lockdown, it looks as though the Government restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future, so businesses should invest in tools and technologies that enhance the employee experience.

Building on some of the most popular platforms and services, Microsoft Viva complements the remote working experience, ensuring workers have access to important insights and info that allow them to work productively.

For organisations that are looking to thrive in the current climate, this highly customisable solution will improve team cohesion and allow managers to monitor progress and offer support, despite being in different locations.

If you would like to unlock the power of Microsoft Viva for your business, then contact our in-house team for help finding the right solution.