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Ringing in the new age of ease and flow within remote workspaces with Microsoft Viva

Vanessa Larsen

Principal Consultant

June 3rd, 2022

We’ve already written on the benefits of learning analytics for higher education institutions, yet much of the same applies to the workplace. As more employers offer the option of remote work, it is vital they upgrade their software to keep up with the demands of virtual teams and task completion.

Although there are many benefits to remote work, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Greater communication issues, lack of accountability, and time management are among a few of the issues that arise.

To address this, Microsoft has launched its newest feature – Viva – an employee experience platform (EXP) that intends to improve team productivity, focus, engagement, and overall wellbeing.

What is Microsoft Viva?

The purpose of Microsoft Viva is to address and meet organisational goals while prioritising and optimising the employee experience. It operates to create a better workplace for all through its four modules: Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Topics, and Viva Learning. Let us move through each module to better understand the features and benefits.

Viva Connections

What It Is

Viva Connections offers teams an easier way to communicate within the Microsoft 365 framework to replace outsourced communication platforms employers may have used in the past. Viva Connections also works as a search engine for team members to retrieve information, central documents, and announcements much more easily without having to seek them out.

What’s New

Though this feature was already available to Microsoft 365 users, Microsoft has now launched an app to streamline communications for mobile workers. It is integrated with SharePoint and Yammer to show an all-in-one feed of updates for those who are on the go. This is a big win for organisations with remote workers, who have historically struggled to engage with their remote workforce.

The most outstanding feature of Viva Connections that has been released is the Viva Connections Dashboard, giving both mobile and desktop workers a single pane of glass for their work – tasks, approvals, notifications and updates. The value of the Dashboard is that organisations can then extend to their own business processes using Adaptive Cards, giving staff a one-click experience right from their Teams app.

Viva Insights

What It Is

One of the most unique features we see within Viva Insights is the focus on employee wellbeing. Microsoft has partnered with mindfulness platform Headspace to offer opportunities for improving mental health and preventing burnout.

What’s New

With Microsoft Viva Insights, companies can also now leverage the power of analytics on staff ways of working to support cultural initiatives. As data is gathered on each employee’s personal workflow, predictive analytics within Viva Insights offer employees recommendations to create a better work-life balance.

Additionally, by tracking performance, Viva Insights can better prepare employees for meetings, starting projects, and meeting deadlines with fewer interruptions and stress. To offer a complete view of performance, productivity, and wellbeing, Insights also supports data integration from third-party providers, such as SAP, Workday, and Zoom.

Best of all, Insights offers managers and employers a birds-eye view of their teams’ well-being, which provides valuable information to support their staff and their wellbeing, when to implement company-wide changes, start new projects, and make important announcements; this same information can be used to see where there are opportunities to pivot and improve the company culture so operations can run as smoothly as possible.

Viva Topics

What It Is

Viva Topics is an AI-powered knowledge management service that puts the right information in front of the right people. It compiles information based on relevant topics that relate to one another, so employees have all the necessary information in front of them as they work instead of wasting time searching for vital information.

What’s New

Viva Topics curates’ information by producing topic pages and topic cards with suggested definitions, related content, relevant conversations, and expertise. Then the AI organises and optimises the information output for relevant users as it pertains to their role in the organisation. Viva Topics is also integrated with the tools people use most, like Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Outlook, to achieve maximum visibility of knowledge. The latest updates also include close integration with Yammer topics and questions, and SharePoint Syntex, providing a seamless transition between an organisation’s various sources of knowledge.

The main goal of Topics is to make necessary information easily accessible to employees as they work. Topics make it so that instead of employees searching for information, the information finds them through topic pages and topic cards to increase productivity and focus.

Viva Learning

What It Is

Viva Learning serves as an internal learning hub for employees to receive appropriate training as it pertains to their tasks. Microsoft has partnered with various companies to source their learning content, including LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Udacity, Udemy Business, and Edx.

What’s New

Viva Learning opens a brand-new avenue to thoroughly train team members without leaving the tools they use every day like Microsoft Teams, in many cases, drastically reducing the need for one-on-one training.

Where employers previously needed to allocate managers to train new team members through one-on-one calls, they can now rely on Viva Learning to provide the necessary training  through several learning sources in one place. Instead, managers can be tasked with higher-level projects and strategising staff learning experiences besides the usual time and resources involved in the process of training and onboarding.

Managers and employers can also keep track of their team members’ progress and suggest training modules to existing employees to improve their performance.

Conclusion

Overall, Viva supplements hybrid and remote workspaces in a variety of ways, offering a new way for employees to interact and thrive in their respective workflows.

The new modules add convenience, ease, and a greater touch of care, especially through the valuable tracking/reporting and suggestions of Viva Insights and Viva Topics, which intelligently compiles relevant information and simplifies the often-strenuous process of searching and gathering information.

Viva is an obvious next step for companies seeking to optimise their employee experience. If you’re ready to take that step, connect with our team today to find out how you can leverage Microsoft Viva for your company.

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