At the time of this posting, the U.S. continues to roll out mass vaccination while positive cases and hospitalizations are decreasing daily across the nation. However, a new wave of more highly contagious COVID-19 variants from around the world are threatening the efficacy of vaccines, while experts are warning that we’ll need to maintain our infection prevention lifestyles, which include social distancing.
As the business world is evolving to meet the realities of this ongoing crisis, Microsoft continues to innovate for the changing world of remote work. This month, Microsoft unveiled a new employee experience platform aimed to improve the remote work experience for both businesses and employees. Microsoft, quick to predict the pandemic would forever alter the business landscape, has built the Viva platform on the lessons of the past year as well as emerging trends.
“We have participated in the largest, at scale, remote work experiment the world has seen,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, underlining the fact that the pandemic has redefined how people work, learn, and live. “As the world recovers, there is no going back. Flexibility in when, where, and how we work will be key.”
The new platform, Microsoft Viva, integrates into Microsoft Teams to most closely resemble the employee intranet, which has started to fall out of style as companies have shifted to remote environments and more SaaS products. But as you’ll quickly see, Viva is way more than the company wiki, and way more useful than scattered SaaS licenses from untested developers.
In the compelling product introduction video below, Microsoft highlights the value Microsoft Viva will bring to the new employee onboarding process, which has been one of the more challenging experiences to provide in a remote workforce:
Even the best platform is of little value if no one has the time to keep it up to date and provide access to the information employees want to find. The Viva platform overcomes this common hurdle using artificial intelligence (AI) to surface expertise in the apps employees use most frequently, highlight essential benefits and resources information, encourage cross-department communication, and provide insights to users at every level of the organization, all while protecting individual users’ privacy and trust.
Microsoft Viva is broken down into four modules: Topics, Connections, Learning, and Insights. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Microsoft Viva Topics automatically organizes content and expertise across your organization, simplifying the process of finding information and putting knowledge to work. While the insights module launched this month, Microsoft will be launching the remaining modules throughout the rest of the year.
Viva Connections provides companies with a curated, company-branded experience that brings together news, conversations, and other resources. Connections is expected to have a “Feed” tab similar to popular social media sites, allowing employees and leaders to share status updates, video stories, and conversations that can help bring remote employees closer together.
Microsoft Viva’s Learning module serves as a centralized hub for employee development within Microsoft Teams. Viva Learning encourages organic discovery of content, bringing together quality resources from LinkedIn Learning (formerly lynda.com), Microsoft Learn, third-party content providers, learning management systems, and the company’s own content.
Leaders can assign employees proven resources to encourage growth in areas of opportunity, rather than leaving employees to figure out development for themselves. In defense of making time within the work day for personal development, Microsoft states, “Learning needs to be more engaging and seamlessly integrated into the places people already spend their time at work. Across the board, employees report low engagement with learning and have limited time for upskilling, yet learning opportunities are linked to workplace happiness, wellbeing, and organizational success.”
Viva Insights builds on the previously released Productivity Score features in Microsoft 365, while taking users’ criticisms of potential “surveillance use case” into consideration.
Viva Insights will offer data-driven, personalized, and actionable insights to employees, managers, and leadership, to help employees achieve balance, collaborate smartly, and find their best focus. For managers, the data insights collected will never be on an individual employee, but rather aggregated across their teams. This will protect the privacy of individuals and encourage company-wide wellness initiatives, as opposed to targeting certain employees who may be struggling. Personal insights are visible only to the individual, while the manager and leaders insights reports utilize de-identification, aggregations, or differential privacy by default.
The Viva Insights app in Teams is available to install today. In time, customers with a Microsoft Workplace Analytics license will be able to use advanced analysis capabilities and integrations with Glint, LinkedIn Learning, and Headspace to provide their workers additional context, clarity, and experiences.
Microsoft Powers Industry Innovation
When the world went digital, Microsoft stepped up to the plate, doubling down on existing remote collaboration projects and building new systems to aid in the global fight against COVID-19. To learn more about the Viva platform or anything else Microsoft, contact Windows Management Experts today!