Microsoft Viva is the new employee experience platform that’s designed to empower people and teams to be their best. We’ve already covered some bits that were known on its announcement almost a year ago. Viva brings together communications, insights, knowledge and learning within the flow of everyday work. And it is built into the apps like Teams, Outlook and Office. As part of Microsoft 365, Viva sits in your trust boundaries with privacy safeguards and protection for employees.
Viva builds on Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Graph Extensibility Framework, so developers can leverage their existing skills. It provides an open and extensible platform with a strong ecosystem of partners (including Cornerstone OnDemand, Coursera, edX, Glint, Headspace, LinkedIn, Pluralsight, Salesforce, SAP SuccessFactors, ServiceNow, Skillsoft, Slack, Workday, Zoom and many more), so it works seamlessly with your existing systems.
As a single solution, Viva ensures every employee is connected to their organization’s culture, personal productivity insights, expert knowledge, and key learning resources. It will be even easier to align employee work to the company’s strategic mission and core priorities. In all, Viva empowers every level of the organization to address key challenges of hybrid work and employee burnout.
At the time of writing this article, there are 5 Viva modules: Viva Connections, Viva Insight, Viva Learning, Viva Topics and Viva Goals. Let’s get into the overview of those.
Microsoft Viva Connections give you access to your company digital workspace directly from Microsoft Teams by personalized resources that empower you to be productive and complete important tasks. Stay informed with tailor content like company news, events and engaging conversations form communities you follow, share content with colleagues to give your ideas flowing, all from within Microsoft Teams. Discover SharePoint sites, employee benefits and resources customized just for you. Stay informed, engaged and empowered from anywhere with Microsoft Viva Connections.
Viva Connections creates an opportunity to push specific content and display popular resources by combining the power of your SharePoint intranet with Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft 365 apps like Yammer and Stream. Viva Connections offers added functionality through three primary components – the Dashboard, the Feed, and Resources. All three components will display different between desktop and mobile devices.
Dashboard is your employee’s digital toolset that brings together the tools your employees need, enabling quick and easy access whether they are in the office or in the field. The Dashboard uses dynamic cards that employees can interact with to do things like complete simple tasks or review critical data. It’s authored in SharePoint and published to the Viva Connections Teams mobile app.
Feed delivers updates to the right people at the right time with powerful targeting and scheduling capabilities. It’s tightly integrated with Yammer, SharePoint news, and Stream to display a personalized feed, based on post-level targeting of the groups that employees belong to. It supports both centralized corporate communication scenarios and democratized news scenarios. It’s available in the Viva Connections Teams app on mobile, and as a web part on desktop.
Resources are the navigational links that are set up and customized in the SharePoint app bar from the home site. These resources will get displayed on both the desktop and mobile instances of Viva Connections.
The Microsoft Viva Insights app in Microosft Teams and on the web shows you personalized recommendations that help you do your best work. Get insights for building better work habits, such as following through on commitments made to collaborators and protecting focus time in the day for uninterrupted, individual work.
It derives these insights by summarizing your Microsoft 365 data – data that you already have access to – about emails, meetings, calls, and chats.
By using the Viva Insights app, you can:
- Stay connected – stay on top of your collaboration with colleagues through features such as AI-based task suggestions and meeting assistance.
- Protect time – find more time to eliminate distractions, stop multi-tasking, and focus on your core priorities.
- Send praise – send acclaim to your employees and coworkers, either in a private chat or in a Teams channel conversation.
- Reflect – take a moment to check in with yourself, to reflect on how you’re feeling.
- Headspace – experience a guided meditation from Headspace.
- Take a break – during your workday, take an occasional one-minute “breathing break.”
- Start a virtual commute – mindfully close out your workday.
- Use Microsoft To-Do – act on a task in your to-do list.
The insights for individuals that this app presents are completely personal and private. Personal insights in the app are for you only, neither your manager nor the system administration can see your insights.
The personal insights and actions in the Viva Insights app are based on your Exchange Online mailbox data, such as email and calendar data. The insights are derived from data that is already available to you in your Exchange Online mailbox. For example, if you want to determine what commitments you made to others, you could manually review each email in your mailbox. The Insights app simply saves you from this tedious process.
The Insights also has an Outlook add-in which many IT admins disable by default. To change the settings, you must liase with the Exchange Online Administrator of your organization. The steps to manage:
- Sign in to the Microsoft 365 admin center.
- In the left navigation pane, select Exchange.
- In the left navigation pane, select Organization, then Add-ins.
- In the list of add-ins, select Microsoft Viva Insights, and then double click or select the Edit(pencil) icon. This opens the Edit add-in settings dialog box.
- In the dialog box, clear or tick the Make this add-in available to users in your organizationcheckbox to disable/enable the add-in, and then select Save.
Another feature that irritates most people is the Daily Viva briefing e-mail that all users get.
To turn off Microsoft Via daily briefing, sign in to Microsoft 365 admin center and follow these steps:
- Choose Settings in the left pane
- Choose Org settings in the submenu
- Click on Services in the top bar
- Choose Briefing email from Microsoft Viva from the list
- Uncheck the box Let people in your organization receive Briefing email
- Click Save
Viva Learning makes it easy to incorporate learning into your day. When you open Viva Learning in Microsoft Teams, you’ll see a personalized view of learning content from both your organization and partners such as LinkedIn Learning. As you continue to search for and complete more training, your recommended content will update to reflect your interests.
- Easily find learning opportunities provided by your organization.
- Browse courses from Microsoft and third-party content providers.
- Search for specific learning content that appeals to you or supports your career goals.
- Share relevant, interesting, and important learning content with your team members or groups in a Microsoft Teams chat or channel.
- Organize your custom selections of learning content in Microsoft Teams channels and tabs.
- Bookmark courses you’re interested in.
- Play LinkedIn Learning courses in the embedded player without leaving Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Viva Learning helps mangers to keep the team engaged and up to date with necessary skills without the need to coordinate learning across platforms. Mangers can recommend learning content to individuals, share content with your team, and track the reported completion status of learning that you’ve recommended.
Viva Learning is by default available in Microsoft Teams with Microsoft Learn and Microsoft 365 Training content already available. You’ll also have free access to a set of 125 courses from LinkedIn Learning. In addition, Viva Learning can integrate with select third-party content providers and learning management systems.
Viva Topics helps many companies provide information to their users when they need it. For example, new employees just started and need to learn a lot of details quickly, and encounter terms they know nothing about. They also need to find who has knowledge in that domain in the organization, and what the term actually means.
A topic is a phrase or term that is important for your organization. It has a specific meaning and has resources related to it that can help people understand what it is and find more information about it. There are lots of different types of topics that will be important to your organization. Initially, the Microsoft AI technology focuses on the following types:
- Creative work
- Field of study
Viva Topics uses AI to automatically search for and identify topics in your organization. It compiles information about them, such as a short description, people working on the topic, and sites, files, and pages that are related to it. A knowledge manager or contributor can choose to update the topic information as needed. The topics are available to your users, which means that for every instance of the topic that appears in a modern SharePoint site in news and pages, the text will be highlighted. Users can choose to select the topic to learn more about it through the topic details.
When a topic is identified and AI determines that it has enough information for it to be a suggested topic, a topic page displays the information that was gathered through topic indexing, such as:
- Alternate names and acronyms.
- A short description of the topic.
- People who might be knowledgeable about the topic.
- Files, pages, and sites that are related to the topic.
In order to use Microsoft Viva Topics, you need to purchase it separately EUR3.40 per user per month or get the whole Viva Suite at EUR 7.60 per user per month (VAT excluded).
Microsoft Viva Goals is the newest module of Microsoft Viva bundle. It is a target setting and management solution that aligns teams to your company’s strategic priorities, driving results and a thriving business.
Viva Goals enables individuals and companies to organize and track their targets through Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Viva Goals immerses everyone in the company’s purpose and top priorities and creates a culture of engaged employees focused on achieving common targets.
Viva Goals combines the power of the OKR framework with an intuitive platform that simplifies the work required to succeed in reaching shared targets.
It provides you visibility into your company’s strategic objectives, shows you the OKRs you own, displays how the projects you’re working on relate to the key OKRs of your organization, and makes presenting progress at business meetings a seamless process.
Viva Goals integration with Microsoft Teams enables you to track, update, and communicate progress towards shared goals with ease and within a single tool so that you can focus on purpose-driven work.
If you want to start with Viva, it’s best that you involve all stakeholders from the very beginning. Your HR, Learning and Development and Communications teams are some of the key stakeholders. It’s also a good idea to partner with someone that already knows the platform inside out. We at Impactory GmbH have pioneered the Viva Employee Experience platform since its release and already have a number of projects and customers benefiting from the added value of Microsoft Viva. Reach out to to discuss how Viva can enhance the employee experience in your organization.
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