Could Microsoft Viva reinvent the employee experience?

Now more than ever, people are the key to business success. We forecasted employee experience and hybrid working were going to be key focus areas for organisations in 2021 – you can read more about our 2021 predictions here in our eBook. 

Getting the employee experience right, particularly in the ever-changing world of work we currently find ourselves in, can be a minefield for organisations. There has never been a greater need for technology, data and insights to support the employee experience, and this is where Microsoft Viva claims it can help.  

Microsoft Viva is a newly released product that aims to empower people and teams to be their best.  It purports to bring culture, insights on productivity and wellbeing, knowledge and expertise, employee development in skills and growth all into one place.

Microsoft Viva has 4 elements

  • Viva Topics is currently available and works with other platforms to automatically identify, process and organise content, as well as make it easily searchable.  
  • Viva Insights is also currently available and helps not only individuals view their own wellbeing and productivity, but also allows leaders to understand work patterns that lead to burnout. Insights also provides tips and suggestions on how to restore the work-life balance with real-time reports.  
  • Viva Connections is due to launch later this year. It is a feed and dashboard to enable connection with team members and keep up to date with news etc.  
  • Viva Learning is also due to launch later in the year. This pulls content from Microsoft and partner sites (including LinkedIn learning). It draws it together into easy-to-access modules.  

Our opinion 

What Microsoft Viva brings is actually nothing new, but what it aims to do is pull everything that is already available together in one place. This alone could save employees significant time and effort; it may also help organisations focus their attention on desired areas which could be the driving force to a better employee experience.  Companies already using digital hub solutions such as Unily or Akumina well may find that it isn’t something that adds much value.

One of the key things we see benefitting organisations is the collation of content and learning materials in Microsoft Viva Learning. The ambition is to enable leaders to assign learning and check on progress. It allows employees to use search to discover new topics and experts in that subject within a couple of clicks. In conversations with our customers, we have heard them stress the desire to have a learning culture throughout businesses, but in reality, when content and learning materials are scattered across multiple platforms, it becomes difficult to nurture. Viva Learning could be the answer for motivating employees to develop and enhance their skills and drive a learning culture throughout organisations. 

We also see real potential with Viva insights which could be transformational. I’m sure we’ve all been there, with work piling up and back-to-back meetings to attend, but when asked if everything is ok you smile and say ‘all fine’ as you don’t want it to appear as though you are not coping. This is commonplace and leaders within organisations can only work with what they know. But by being able to see the information drawn from factual and tangible data, they can have those honest conversations and stop burnout.

When there has been much in the press around employee monitoring and the negative implications on employee experience, Viva Insights is an evolution of Workplace Analytics and could play a strong role in using insights to protect and support your people rather than scrutinising and micromanaging. The potential to enable Headspace could also be a winner for organisations looking to invest in wellbeing and mindfulness.  We see many organisations make such subscriptions available to employees but make them difficult to find or access regularly.

Microsoft Viva Connections’ ambition is to be a digital gateway to enable organisations to create that all-important modern employee experience. It aims to help engage, bring employees together and assist in driving employee engagement up, with relevant news and conversations. We can see this working well in most industries but where we can see the most benefit is to those with a more dispersed workforce, as it allows employees to stay connected and gives each person their voice. 

For some companies, Viva will be the best thing since sliced bread but others may not consider it to be cost-effective. To access all Viva has to offer, there will be a cost per user/month and this is an annual commitment. This is in addition to your Microsoft licences and Workplace Analytics add-ons.

In summary, Viva is a promising step forward for Microsoft and we are already talking to our customers about how Viva could fit into their organisations. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to chat about Microsoft Viva’s potential for you and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog posts for all the latest developments.  

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