Microsoft recently launched Viva, an all-new integrated employee experience platform to enhance remote work across four key areas: engagement, wellbeing, knowledge, and learning. Powered by Microsoft 365 and Teams, Viva is a blend of Microsoft’s existing remote work tools and exciting new features.

The pandemic’s impact on the traditional workplace is the main inspiration behind Viva’s development and launch. The unprecedented mass exodus to remote work since the onset of the pandemic helped Microsoft realize the limitation with its flagship collaborations platform — Microsoft Teams. Viva is Microsoft’s answer to the steadily growing demand for more robust, flexible, and employee-oriented virtual workplaces.

During the announcement, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella explained that Viva has all the tools and resources that employees need to collaborate, learn, grow, and thrive. The platform replicates workplace communications and resources through its four modules: Connections, Insights, Learning, and Topics.

Viva Connections

Connections is the gateway to the Viva experience. According to Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s Corporate VP, Connections acts as the single-entry point for employees engaged in internal communications. Through this module, employees can access company resources, such as policies, news, announcements, and benefits, and even join employee resource groups and communities.

Connections is a lobby-style feed and dashboard combo where employees can stay in the loop with their teams and the organization at large.

Viva Connections is built on Microsoft SharePoint technology and is accessible as an app on Microsoft Teams. The desktop app on public preview will be available in the first half of 2021, with a mobile app planned to roll out later in the year.

Viva Insights

Insights is a two-part productivity scoring system for employees and managers. It focuses on strengthening productive work habits and employee wellbeing through working smart. Employees can have personalized reminders for focused work, coaching, learning, break time, and virtual commute.

In a nutshell, Viva Insights enables employees to create and stick to a work pattern that is not only productive but also encourages a healthy work-life balance.

Managers and leaders can view aggregated insights and recommendations from various teams to foster a healthier and more productive workspace. For instance, managers can gauge burnout risks, work capacities, and team engagements. These stats should help managers understand the impact of certain work habits on the employees and the whole organization. The valuable insights can help inform and accelerate HR decisions and changes.

Viva Insights allows team leaders to monitor work trends and patterns while protecting the privacy of individual employees through combining and de-identifying data across workgroups. Companies will also be able to integrate Insights with third-party HR experience services such as SAP SuccessFactors, Zoom, Workday, and Slack.

The Viva Insights app in Teams is already available in public preview.

Viva Learning

A lot of learning is done on the job, and Viva makes it so much easier by housing all the relevant learning resources in one place. Viva Learning aggregates learning content from multiple sources, including LinkedIn, Microsoft Learn, and third-party course creators and publishers, such as Pluralsight, Coursera, Skillsoft, and edX. Employees can easily access training material, courses, and tutorials recommended by the system or custom in-house content.

Managers can also assign learning material to specific employees and track progress and completion to accelerate employee training and onboarding.

It’s easy to discover, share, discuss, and organize learning to promote a company-wide learning culture on the platform. With Viva Learning, skills development and growth become a natural part of daily workflows.

The Viva Learning app is only available in private preview. But Microsoft plans to integrate Viva Learning with other similar platforms such as Saba and cornerstone OnDemand later in the year.

Viva Topics

Viva Topics is a quick way to discover and connect to knowledge and experts across the Office 365 suite. Simply hovering over an unfamiliar term generates a pop-up topic card. Clicking on the card sends the user to a topic page populated with documents, conversations, resources, and people related to that term. Users can also type in questions on Topics’ search tool to view query-based information.

Topics pulls information from various Microsoft 365 apps and third-party sources, such as Salesforce and ServiceNow. It uses AI to build and organize topic pages automatically and filter sensitive or restricted information.

Think of Viva Topics as a highly advanced, intelligent glossary list tool that collects and presents keyword-based information from across the entire workspace. The service is now available to Microsoft 365 commercial license accounts as an add-on.

Why Viva?

Viva is Microsoft’s most ambitious effort yet in catering to the virtual needs of the modern workplace. The new platform is an entirely new breed of experience-based collaborative platforms.

The current remote working situation could very well be the new workplace norm for many organizations. Having sampled the perks of remote collaborations, many employers and employees will probably retain the flexible work structure even after travel and distancing restrictions get lifted. Microsoft is obviously expecting a continued need for a platform like Viva where employees can work and grow together.

Get in touch with Softlanding to learn more about the ongoing Microsoft Viva rollout and how you can leverage the new platform.

Caroline Blivet
Written By:

Caroline Blivet

As Softlanding's Marketing Lead, Caroline and is responsible for driving lead generation, developing a go-to-market strategy and, delivering marketing campaigns. Outside of work, Caroline enjoys hiking the beautiful trails of British Columbia.

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