Microsoft recently announced the release of Microsoft Viva Engage—the improved Yammer—which brings new capabilities to strengthening work relationships as well as empowering employee engagement.
Viva Engage puts people at the center by equipping organizations with an avenue to tie diverse employees together to enable better communication and connection across the whole organization.
To better recognize why this vision is crucial, especially in today’s digital era, let’s look at the current state of the evolved work setup: hybrid work.
Adopting digital solutions that focus on work and collaboration, however, is not enough. You must also invest in the well-being of your employees to alleviate employee burnout and isolation.
Bridge the Gap with Viva Engage
These challenges with social isolation can have a major effect on your organization. It can lead to disengaged employees, affecting their productivity and performance.
You can address these challenges by learning to adopt Viva Engage and utilizing it to transform how your organization can boost your employee engagement.
1. Create new ways to build a sense of community.
Having a sense of belonging matters a lot to employees—sometimes, it can even be the thread that keeps them from looking for another employer!
All this leads to the idea that employees are now seeking a connection and purpose to their work beyond their typical work scope. Personal interests are being ranked higher in their priority list and must coexist with their workload.
As a leader, you can implement this type of culture by utilizing Viva Engage’s group communities! Find the balance between what employees need to work while helping them find common interests by joining groups that they are personally invested in or inclined to enjoy.
Some examples are:
- Book clubs
- Foodie communities
- Pet-lover cliques
- Social and political movement groups (e.g., women empowerment or the Black Lives Matter movement)
By creating groups like Q&A (Queers and Allies), BAE (Black AvePoint Excellence), even Foodies Unite, we’ve been able to connect hundreds of like-minded employees with others around the globe.
With this new sense of community, you can help employees find meaning in their roles and a new purpose as a part of your organization while implementing a positive culture that bridges relationships—both within immediate and global colleagues.
2. Strengthen relationships with coworkers.
According to Microsoft Work Trend, employees with thriving relationships among their immediate team members:
- Report better wellbeing (76%)
- Have higher productivity (50%)
- Less likely to change employers in the year ahead (61%)
Work friends get closer by doing activities together consistently. The more time and effort they spend with each other—eating lunch at the cafeteria together or mingling during a company outing—the higher the chance of forming better relationships among groups.
Of course, building stronger connections among colleagues means you have to provide opportunities for them to interact with each other as well.
You can utilize Viva Engage to create that space of interaction, almost like building an online break room.
For example, you can conduct organization-wide activities and contests in Viva Engage that encourage working with groups. Have them share photos, discussions, or their work, and you can even have them interact with other groups by providing peer-reviewed mechanics.
There’s also a “reactions” feature that can be used to gauge interest for posts. Simple reactions bridge gaps and promote a connection between coworkers and even leaders! Even a simple “celebrate” reaction from your C-level leaders could make an employee’s day.
3. Share their work and perspective.
With evolving employee expectations, employees also need a space where they can freely voice their needs as well as their successes. Recognizing your employees’ hard work creates a positive ripple effect throughout your organization.
Viva Engage can be that space where employees can freely and casually talk about their work as well as interact with different departments.
This ShiftHappens podcast episode, for example, details how a retail company started a trend and brand project that helped save costs in the long run by utilizing Yammer as an avenue to ask for ideas regarding a certain pain point.
With the upcoming Stories feature, employees can also share their work and perspectives with others through bite-sized videos and content.
This encourages an open, learning-centric, and idea-sharing culture that can improve not only your employee engagement but your brand as well.
4. Find answers to their questions – all within Microsoft Teams desktop and mobile.
Perhaps one of the most effective uses of Viva Engage is how it can stand as an information bank—not like SharePoint where all your documents are stored, but a living information bank that is constantly being updated by the minds of your employees.
Questions, concerns, attached files, links, news, product updates—all these can be readily uploaded into one group that connects all of this content together and allows your employees to readily access them in one central place.
Some use cases where this can be especially helpful are when:
- A salesperson has questions regarding a product update or needs additional resources for a pitch to a customer
- A marketing writer needs updated keywords and specific pain points that must be addressed in blog posts and other types of content
- A product engineer needs new insights on how to improve the development of new products
Hungry for more Viva Engage insights? Check out our interview with Steve Nguyen, a Principal Program Manager at Microsoft, where we discussed the thought process behind Engage, its relation to Yammer, and where Viva Engage fits in the overall Viva story.