Microsoft Viva: A High-Level Overview of Key Features
Microsoft launched Microsoft Viva in February 2021 with the aim to enhance employee’s overall user experience, foster positive company cultures and boost productivity. The platform combines a set of tools and technologies that support organizations in engaging, connecting and fostering collaboration in their workforce, regardless of where they are physically working. In today’s increasingly distributed workforce, Microsoft Viva provides capabilities that are becoming vital to the success of an organization’s overall Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
For organizations that haven't yet launched Microsoft Viva, below is an overview of its six key features:
Viva Connections is a personalized and company-branded employee experience solution that brings together the resources and information that employees need to help them stay engaged and productive. It offers a single-entry point to the organization's intranet, communications channels and other relevant content, including news, events and employee benefits.
Viva Connections can assist in a range of areas, including:
- Internal Communications: Viva Connections can serve as a central hub for internal communications, enabling employees to stay up-to-date on company news, events and announcements. The platform can provide a personalized newsfeed that curates content based on an employee's role, department and interests. By keeping employees informed and connected, Viva Connections can help foster a strong sense of community and collaboration within the organization.
- Employee Onboarding: New hires can quickly familiarize themselves with the company culture, values, policies and procedures in Viva Connections. The platform can provide access to important resources such as employee handbooks, training videos and virtual tours of the workplace. By creating a welcoming and informative onboarding experience, Viva Connections can help new employees feel more engaged and productive from day one.
- Employee Engagement: Viva Connections can help boost employee engagement by providing easy access to recognition programs, employee surveys and feedback mechanisms. The platform can also host social channels and interest groups where employees can connect with each other, share ideas and collaborate on projects. By promoting a more inclusive and participatory culture, Viva Connections can help improve employee satisfaction, retention and performance.
- Learning and Development: Viva Connections can support employee learning and development by providing access to a variety of training resources, including e-learning courses, instructional videos and webinars. The platform can also offer personalized learning paths that align with an employee's skills, goals and career aspirations. By investing in employee development, Viva Connections can help cultivate a more skilled and agile workforce that is better equipped to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing business environment.
- Employee Wellness: Use Viva Connections to make available resources such as health and wellness programs, mental health support and work-life balance tips. The platform can also offer personalized wellness plans that cater to an employee's specific needs and preferences. By prioritizing employee wellness, Viva Connections can help create a more healthy, productive and engaged workforce.
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Viva Learning is a learning management system (LMS) that allows organizations to deliver training and development programs to their employees. It provides access to a wide range of learning content, including online courses, articles, videos and other resources from various sources, such as LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and other third-party providers.
Viva Learning can assist organizations in areas such as:
- Improving Sales Performance: A company can use Viva Learning to train its sales representatives on product knowledge, sales techniques and customer service. This training will improve their sales skills and help them close deals more effectively. As a result, a company can see a real impact on its bottom line and enhanced customer satisfaction.
- Employee Onboarding: Viva Learning can provide new employees with access to training materials, policies, and procedures. This will help them get up to speed quickly and become productive faster, resulting in a shorter ramp-up time and a more effective workforce.
- Compliance Training: Many industries have strict regulations that employees must comply with. Viva Learning can be used to deliver compliance training to employees, ensuring that they understand the regulations and how to comply with them. Enhancing this training will reduce the risk of non-compliance and avoid costly penalties.
- Soft Skills Training: Viva Learning can be used to deliver training on soft skills, such as communication, leadership and teamwork. This will help employees develop essential skills that are not typically taught in school, making them more effective in their roles and improving their overall job performance.
- Remote Training: With the rise of remote work, companies need to be able to deliver training to employees who work from home or other locations. Viva Learning can be used to deliver remote training, allowing employees to access training materials from anywhere with an internet connection. This will ensure that employees receive the training they need, regardless of their location.
All organizations want additional analytics into their workforce. Viva Insights provides these. Its “wellbeing platform” also enables individuals and teams to understand and improve their work habits, communication patterns and collaboration skills. It provides insights on how employees spend their time, how they interact with their colleagues, and how they can manage their work-life balance.
Viva Insights can assist in areas such as:
- Identifying Work Patterns: Companies can gain insights into how employees are spending their time, including the amount of time they spend in meetings, on email or collaborating with others. This information can help managers identify patterns in employee work habits to optimize their workload accordingly. For example, if employees spend too much time in meetings, managers can restructure their schedules to allow for more focused work time.
- Measuring Employee Well-Being: Viva Insights includes a well-being feature that provides insights into employees' stress levels and workload. By monitoring employee well-being, managers can identify areas of concern and take action to reduce stress levels, such as providing additional support or resources to employees.
- Enhancing Collaboration: By identifying which teams are communicating the most and which ones may be struggling, Viva Insights can help teams collaborate more effectively. This can help managers identify opportunities for cross-functional collaboration and provide additional support to teams that may be facing challenges.
- Improving Productivity: With Viva Insights, companies can identify areas where employees are struggling to complete tasks or are experiencing roadblocks in their workflow. This information can be used to optimize workflows and improve productivity across the organization.
- Measuring Engagement: Viva Insights includes an engagement feature that provides insights into employee sentiment and engagement levels. By monitoring engagement, managers can identify areas where employees may be disengaged and take action to improve morale, such as providing additional training or recognition programs.
Overall, Viva Insights can help companies gain a better understanding of their employees' work habits, well-being, collaboration, productivity, and engagement levels. By leveraging this information, companies can take action to improve employee satisfaction, reduce burnout and increase productivity across the organization.
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Viva Topics is an AI-powered knowledge management platform that helps organizations capture, organize and share knowledge across the enterprise. It uses machine learning algorithms to identify and categorize content from various sources, such as documents, emails and chats, and create topic cards that provide context and insights on specific topics and integrates with Microsoft SharePoint and Teams.
Viva Topics can assist in areas such as:
- Customer Service: In a customer service scenario, Viva Topics can help agents quickly find the information they need to help customers solve their problems. For example, if a customer calls in with a question about a particular product, Viva Topics can quickly surface information about that product's features, benefits, and common issues, allowing the agent to provide better and more efficient service.
- Compliance: Many companies operate in highly regulated industries that require strict adherence to complex compliance standards. Viva Topics can help ensure compliance by automatically surfacing relevant policies, procedures and regulations to employees based on their role and department. This can help reduce the risk of non-compliance and improve overall governance.
- Project Management: Viva Topics can help project managers keep track of all the various tasks, documents, and resources associated with a project. For example, if a project involves multiple teams and departments, Viva Topics can automatically organize and categorize information related to each team, making it easier for project managers to stay on top of everything and ensure that the project stays on track.
- Employee Development: Viva Topics can help employees find the information they need to develop new skills and advance their careers within the company. For example, if an employee expresses interest in a particular area of the business, Viva Topics can automatically surface relevant training materials, job postings, and other resources to help them pursue that interest. This can help improve employee engagement and retention, as well as promote a culture of continuous learning within the organization.
Viva Sales allows sales team members to populate the organization’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform without having to switch screens to add relevant information. This allows sales team members the opportunity to capture additional information they may have missed that might greatly impact a potential sale. Viva Sales currently works with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, which is Dynamics 365 CRM, as well as Salesforce.
Viva Sales can assist in areas such as:
- Improving Sales Productivity, Training and Coaching: A company can use Viva Sales to empower their sales teams with the correct information at the right time, enabling them to close deals faster and more efficiently. For example, Viva Sales can provide real-time access to customer information, buying history and insights, allowing sales reps to tailor their approach to the customer's needs and preferences, resulting in improved productivity and higher sales conversions. Viva Sales can also help companies improve sales training and coaching by providing sales reps with personalized coaching, training, and development opportunities. For example, companies can use Viva Sales to provide reps with access to on-demand training resources, such as videos, webinars and other training materials.
- Enhancing Customer Engagement: Viva Sales can help companies engage with their customers better by providing personalized, relevant, and timely interactions. For example, companies can use Viva Sales to automate outreach campaigns, send targeted messaging, and deliver customized content that resonates with each customer's needs and interests. This results in increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and repeat business.
- Streamlining Sales Processes: Viva Sales can also help companies streamline their sales processes by automating administrative tasks, such as data entry and lead qualification. This frees up sales reps to focus on building customer relationships and closing deals. Additionally, Viva Sales can integrate with other business systems, such as CRM and ERP, to provide a more cohesive and unified view of the customer journey.
- Enabling Remote Sales: With the rise of remote work, many sales teams are now working from home. Viva Sales can help companies effectively manage remote sales teams by providing them with real-time access to customer information, sales data, and other relevant resources. This enables reps to work from anywhere, collaborate with team members, and stay productive and efficient.
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Viva Goals lives up to its name. It allows organizations to set goals, so managers can in turn review and ensure the organization’s priorities are aligned and the team members are all providing tangible results. These goals connect the team members goals' with their manager for instant review and they can be adjusted to align when business challenges arise.
Viva Goals can assist in areas such as:
- Aligning Goals With Company Strategy: Viva Goals helps companies align employee goals with the organization's strategy. For example, if a company's strategy is to increase revenue from a particular product line, Viva Goals can help set goals for employees working on that product line that align with this strategy. This ensures that every employee works towards the same overarching goal and helps drive business results.
- Improving Employee Engagement: Viva Goals provides a transparent and collaborative way to set goals and track progress. By involving employees in the goal-setting process and providing ongoing feedback, Viva Goals can help improve employee engagement and motivation. Employees are more likely to feel invested in their work when they understand how their goals contribute to the larger company strategy and when they receive regular feedback on their progress.
- Supporting Performance Evaluations: Viva Goals provides a data-driven way to evaluate employee performance. By tracking progress toward goals and providing ongoing feedback, managers can assess employee performance more objectively. This can help ensure that performance evaluations are fair and accurate and can help identify areas where employees excel or need additional support.
- Increasing Accountability: Viva Goals provides a way to set clear expectations, hold employees accountable and track their performance. By tracking progress and providing regular feedback, Viva Goals helps ensure that employees are meeting their goals and contributing to the company's success. This increased accountability can help improve overall performance and drive results.
- Identifying Training and Development Needs: Viva Goals can help identify areas where employees need additional training or development. By tracking progress towards goals, managers can identify areas where employees are struggling and provide targeted support. This can help employees improve their skills and ultimately contribute more to the company's success.
While some may view Microsoft Viva as yet another application in the Microsoft 365 stack, I argue it will greatly enhance the user experience and provide real ROI to your organization. User adoption and training is the biggest challenge in implementing Microsoft Viva, as was the case with Microsoft Teams, but putting effort into training and fostering its adoption will pay dividends to your organization’s bottom line.
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About the Author
Errin has over 25 years of experience in IT services and has led multiple large-scale managed services programs from data warehousing, Active Directory Security implementations, global SharePoint efforts, Business Intelligence, Azure, Microsoft 365, and Hybrid Cloud development efforts for over 75 Fortune 500 companies.
Errin is the author of four Microsoft Press books and delivers world-class IT services leveraging his ability to provide scalable enterprise-level solutions combined with the operational experience to execute those solutions effectively. Connect with Errin O'Connor: