Microsoft is releasing its portfolio of collaboration and communication tools under the Viva brand name. The software group speaks of an “Employee Experience Platform” where companies could pool various tools for the work of their workforce, learning and sharing knowledge, adapt them to different roles and integrate them into their workflows. This is based on features from existing products such as Microsoft 365, Teams, and Sharepoint. Also, the Group intends to continuously develop further features and integrate them into Viva. Also, the platform should be open to the integration of third-party tools and services.
“We all participated in the world’s largest remote work experiment, and it had a dramatic impact on employee experience,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO. Every company today needs a unified employee experience, from onboarding to day-to-day collaboration to continuous learning and the development of each employee.
Microsoft ranks the features on its Viva platform into the following categories: work, well-being learning and knowledge. Accordingly, four modules will be available to customers at the start:
Viva Connections is called up via teams and is intended to serve as a central entry point for employee engagement and as a hub for internal communication in the companies. Microsoft calls the tool a gateway to the digital workplace. Viva Connections builds on Microsoft 365 features such as SharePoint. In virtual meeting rooms, executives and employees could meet and connect. Viva Connections also aims to enable users to access various internal resources, such as corporate news or corporate policies. According to the manufacturer, the tool provides a personalized feed and a dashboard that allows users to organize their content, apps and messages. This will make it easier for employees to find certain resources and to better keep track of their digital workplace. The tool can also be adapted for specific roles within the company.
Nearly 60 per cent of workers have felt less connected to their teams since moving to the home office, said corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, citing research by the Work Trend Index initiated by Microsoft. Admittedly, it is difficult to replace physical contacts such as meetings in the office, company meetings, excursions and other events in virtual space. “This is a challenge for all of us,” the Microsoft manager said.
Viva Insights is designed to help employees organize better and take care of their well-being. It is important to plan for periods for regular breaks, concentrated work and learning. Managers and executives gain insight into the work of their teams, giving Microsoft a better estimate of the stress and risk of burnout. Then, recommendations could help turn off notifications once, set time limits in the calendar, and sort the priorities that employees focus on the essentials. About 30 per cent of workers said in the Work Trend Index that the pandemic had heightened their sense of burnout, “That’s why it’s never been more important than today to help people switch off and make the most of their scarcest resource: their time.” Viva Insights is intended to support management in recognizing complex relationships in its work patterns and processes. Organizational network analysis helps to understand the connection and cohesion between departments and across teams. These insights are also to be combined with other data sources. A new dashboard for Microsoft Viva and LinkedIn Glint customers combines insights about how employees work with employee sentiment data. Users could also use data from third-party tools such as Zoom, Workday, and SAP SuccessFactors.
To ensure privacy, Microsoft anonymizes the data aggregated for analytics in Viva Insights. Personal insights are only visible to the respective employee, the software company asserts. Information and insights for managers and managers could not be traced back to individual employees. This would protect individual privacy.
Viva Learning is designed to help employees and entire organizations make learning part of their daily work and corporate culture. Microsoft executives call the tool a central hub for team learning. Employees could easily use and share with colleagues with Viva Learning training courses and microlearning content. Managers are thus able to assign learning content and track the completion of courses. In this way, a learning culture can be promoted in the company, the provider promises. According to Microsoft, Viva Learning includes AI capabilities to recommend learning content more accurately and at the right time. Viva Learning could also integrate materials from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn as well as own content and training from providers such as Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight and edX.
With the help of Viva Topics, companies should be able to make better use of the knowledge hidden in their organization. Employees could be more efficiently linked and supplied with the knowledge necessary for their work, the provider promises. The tool uses AI to automatically sort content and expertise into relevant categories such as Projects, Products, Processes, and Customers across the enterprise.
In doing so, Microsoft wants to turn around the usual processes. It is no longer the employees who should have to look for knowledge, but rather the knowledge should be found automatically by the employees. Viva Topics displays topic maps while users work in applications such as Office, SharePoint, and Teams. By clicking on these maps, theme pages with suitable content such as documents, videos or colleagues appear, which could help. Experts in the company can also help curate the information displayed in Viva Topics by sharing their knowledge of these so-called topic pages.
After launching a series of viva modules of its own, Microsoft intends to continuously expand its Employee Experience platform. According to its information, the Group relies on an open platform approach as well as integrations and an ecosystem of Viva partners.