Microsoft on Thursday introduced Microsoft Viva, a new employee experience solution designed to support the hybrid workforce and provide a single-entry point for employee engagement and internal communication.
Microsoft Viva will be is powered by Microsoft 365 and accessed through Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft 365 apps, according to the company.
In a blog post announcing the new product, Corporate Vice Presidenrt Jared Spataro commented on the rise of the Teams platform due to pandemic-induced remote work. Now, people need to feel connected and supported as teams continue to work remotely.
Spataro called other employee experience software “fragmented, hard to find and disruptive” to workflows. Spataro and the company developed a new approach and new category of technology called employee experience platforms (EXP) designed to support employees while being integrated into the same tools the use every day.
According to Spataro, there are four modules in Microsoft Viva: Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Learning and Viva Topics.
Viva Topics is generally available, and Viva Insights is available in public preview while Viva Learning is available in a private preview. More will be announced throughout 2021.
Viva Connections is designed to provide a single-entry point for employee engagement and internal communications, or a gateway to a digital workplace. It’s built on Microsoft 365 capabilities like SharePoint to create a “curated and branded employee destination,” Spataro writes.
Viva Connections includes company town halls and a sort of company intranet that includes things like company news, policies and benefits to employee resource groups or communities they want to join with Viva’s integration into Yammer.
“It provides a personalized feed and dashboard to help you find all the helpful resources you need from Microsoft Viva and from other apps across your digital workplace,” Spataro writes. “The content can also be customized for specific roles within the company—including frontline workers—so that they have a comprehensive view of just the resources they need.”
Viva Insights is designed to give employees, managers and leaders “personalized and actionable privacy-protected insights” and brings personal wellbeing experiences and recommended actions from Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics into the flow of work in Microsoft Teams.
According to Spataro, experiences announced in summer 2020 like virtual commute and an integration with Headspace was the inspiration behind Viva Insights.
Viva Insights is designed to help managers keep tabs on their employees’ wellbeing and help manage burnout by providing recommendations like turning off notifications, setting boundaries in their calendar and setting daily priorities.
“For company leaders, Viva Insights helps address complex challenges and respond to change by shedding light on organizational work patterns and trends,” Spataro writes.
“These could include wellbeing opportunities, but also things like space planning as companies reimagine their offices for hybrid work. Viva Insights also provides leaders with organizational network analysis to understand the connectedness and cohesion between and across teams.”
Viva Insights also includes a new dashboard for Microsoft Viva and LinkedIn’s Glint customers that maps insights about how people work to employee survey data about how people feel. Data from third-party tools like Zoom, Slack, Workday and others can be leveraged, according to Spataro.
Viva Learning, meanwhile, is a central hub for training and education, with AI that recommends timely content. Managers can assign and track completion of courses. Viva Learning aggregates content from an organization’s own custom content as well as content from LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn.
Training from other content providers like Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight and edX are also made available in Viva Learning, and it works with other learning-management systems as well.
As part of the announcement, Microsoft also said it is partnering with Cornerstone OnDemand, Saba and SAP SuccessFactors.
Viva Topics, according to Spataro, acts as a “Wikipedia with AI superpowers” for an organization. Using AI, Viva Topics can automatically organize company-wide content and expertise into relevant categories.
“When you come across an unfamiliar topic or acronym, just hover,” Spataro writes. “No need to search for knowledge—knowledge finds you.”
The tool surfaces topic cards as people work in apps like Office, SharePoint and Teams. When employees click on a card, a topic page appears with related content and people. Company experts can also help curate the information shown.
Viva Topics also pulls content and information from the Microsoft Cloud and other third-party services.
Spataro also says there will be more innovations announced in the coming months and throughout 2021.
“But while we’re so excited to introduce you to Microsoft Viva today, there’s so much more to come,” Spataro writes. “We believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build people-centered experiences that help our customers drive extraordinary outcomes. And we’re just getting started.”