At last year’s Ignite conference, the big Microsoft Viva news was around the original four components (Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Topics, and Viva Learning) being available to purchase and implement as Viva Suite. We’ve had some exciting developments in the year since then, but none more exciting than those revealed at this year’s Ignite.
Microsoft announced a bunch of new capabilities and experiences in Viva (we’re talking five new capabilities within Viva Connections alone), some available today and some coming in 2023. The best part? These are all available to current licensed customers at no additional cost!
Here are some of the capabilities and experiences announced that we’re looking forward to the most:
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One-Stop Shop for Employee Engagement
According to Asana’s Anatomy of Work Index 2021, US employees switch between an average of 13 apps 30 times per day. Not only does navigating between different applications waste time, but it’s also incredibly draining, forcing employees to adjust to a new interface each time.
To combat this, Microsoft, an expert at delivering cohesive, integrated collaboration through Microsoft 365, is giving the same treatment to employee experience and engagement through Viva. At Ignite they announced Viva Connections Home, available directly in Teams.
Through this centralized landing page, users can access the rest of their Viva experiences, from Goals and Topics to Learning and Amplify. This creates a holistic experience (without app switching!) for employees, allowing them to take full advantage of everything Viva has to offer.
Tools to Improve Hybrid and Asynchronous Work
Flexible work is here to stay – whether hybrid, asynchronous, or working on the go. However, employees aren’t fully satisfied with current arrangements (Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index Report tells the whole story), and Microsoft is delivering experiences to improve employee satisfaction in the new work model through Viva. Some highlights:
Viva Insights has ramped up its offerings, from scheduled send suggestions to avoid sending after-hours Teams messages (a feature already available in Outlook) to quiet time settings that allow users to silence mobile notifications outside of their work hours. A favorite of ours, however, is the new meeting habits feature, which will offer data-driven recommendations for meeting organizers based on best practices and post-meeting surveys. All of these features help employees achieve more productive working hours in order to truly unplug.
Viva Amplify, an internal communications app new to the Viva family, is another game-changer. It enables impactful communication across the organization by empowering communication teams and leaders to craft better messaging. With centralized resources, in-app writing guidance, and results dashboards, your internal messaging can resonate with and re-energize employees, whether they work at home or in the office.
Viva Pulse, another new app, is taking Microsoft’s Glint acquisition and investment in engagement assessments a step further. The employee survey tool can be used by leaders to collect regular confidential feedback and assess what’s working and what could use some work, essential in a hybrid work world. A bonus: Glint will be joining Viva in the coming year and together, the two survey tools will bring people science to your employee engagement, giving you tangible results that have an impact on the employee experience.
Leveraging the Power of Your People
Viva was built to have your people at the center of work, and many of its features support this purpose. There were several new capabilities announced at Ignite that continue to keep people at the center of the Viva experience.
Viva Engage, which was previously announced (read our extensive overview here), has a fun new way for your team to connect: Stories. Releasing in public preview soon, Viva Engage’s stories are no different than other social media sites’, allowing users to share snippets of their day in photos or videos. This is a great opportunity for your team to get to know their colleagues and leadership better, building a stronger culture and community.
Viva People, another new addition to the experience platform, helps your team build better connections. As the Microsoft Work Trend Index Report found, 51% of employees say relationships outside their immediate work group are weaker. The enhanced experience will work to help your team discover colleagues and experts across your organization through rich profile cards with details on interests, knowledge, and goals, and a more immersive org browsing and people insights. This app will help drive community and remind your team they are all working toward a shared goal.
Finally, my favorite new people-focused feature is Viva Answers, yet another new experience in the Viva family. This is a neat crowd-sourcing app that uses AI to match employee questions to experts and/or answers within your organization, helping your team learn from each other and grow together. You hire your people because of their knowledge and expertise – Answers lets you use that to build your team up.
What’s Coming Next: More Role-Based Experience
Personally, I like a purpose-built tool; it seems like I’m not alone because Microsoft is doubling down on its efforts to develop role-based experiences. They have already released Viva Sales, eliminating manual data entry by automating collecting and inputting M365 and Teams information in your CRM. At this year’s Ignite, they more than hinted that additional role-based experiences were coming. I can’t wait to see what’s to come and how they will help departments across an organization!
If your team is using Viva in your day-to-day, these new features can be a little thrilling. If you still aren’t sure if Viva is worth your while, these new capabilities may be the push you need to dip your toes in the Viva pool and see if it’s the answer to your modern workplace woes.
I’ll leave you with some thoughts from Microsoft’s Kirk Gregersen, a product leader for Viva: “We have the opportunity to bring users a breadth of an integrated experience that is quite different than what else is out there on market. For example, today, Yammer and SharePoint are used by hundreds of millions of people for communication and collaboration. But with Viva, we can really extend that experience to be much more intentional about how we build community or how a company can do an internal campaign to get employees on the same page about an important issue.”
We’ve barely scratched the surface of all that’s coming in Viva. Read more about the announcements, including enhancements to Viva Learning, Viva Topics, and more: Microsoft Ignite 2022: Innovations and roadmap for Microsoft Viva.