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Microsoft Viva explained: Your guide to Microsoft’s employee experience tools

By 10th January 2024No Comments

Microsoft Viva launched in 2021 as Microsoft’s first venture into employee experience. Since then, Viva has grown into a full suite of tools supporting culture, communication, and learning.

In this quick guide, we’ll sort the fluff from the facts and share everything you really need to know about Microsoft Viva.

What is Microsoft Viva?

Microsoft describe Viva as “the first employee experience platform to bring tools for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing and knowledge discovery, directly into the flow of people’s work.”

The Viva suite consists of different modules, all focusing on distinct areas of employee experience.

Some components focus on improving efficiency, while others lean into goals or work-life balance. There are currently eight Viva apps available at the moment, with more new features on the horizon.

Key features of Microsoft Viva components

Logos for each app within the Microsoft Viva suite
Viva Connections logo

Viva Connections

Viva Connections is a one-stop shop for internal communications. It brings together information from SharePoint, Viva Engage and Stream into a single screen as part of Microsoft Teams.

This app shows a customised dashboard of relevant news, resources and discussion. It uses AI to personalise the feed for everyone in your organisation.

Gone are the days of labyrinthine intranet sites, abandoned networking groups, and accidentally replying-all to email announcements. Viva Connections brings the conversation directly to your people, in the place where work gets done.

Viva Engage logo

Viva Engage

Viva Engage is a virtual community platform that replaces Yammer. This makes it easier than ever for remote and hybrid workers to connect with colleagues inside Microsoft Teams.

The main features of Viva Engage mirror popular social media apps. You can post stories, tag colleagues, follow topics, make announcements, respond to a Q&A and join virtual events.

This is an exciting new platform, with lots of new capabilities in the pipeline.

Viva Amplify

Viva Amplify is geared towards internal communications teams, and offers a central platform for planning, publishing and analysing employee engagement campaigns.

Amplify lets you create and publish campaign messages for different internal channels, including SharePoint, Teams, Outlook and Viva Engage. There’s options to reformat content quickly for each channel, streamlining your workflow.

Other features include scheduling and approvals, as well as sentiment analysis and engagement analytics.

Viva Amplify has a lot of potential to help your employee engagement team make data-driven decisions and create messaging that resonates with your people.

Viva Insights logo

Viva Insights

If you’re working in Microsoft 365, you’ve probably already received emails from Viva Insights.

In a nutshell, Viva Insights gives everyone personal recommendations to work smarter and take care of their wellbeing. It can help protect your focus time, surface meeting documents and stay on top of incoming tasks. Meanwhile, leaders get anonymised data on working practices across your organisation.

With Insights, the focus is on building healthy working habits – not rewarding presenteeism. Managers can view trends for out of hours working, time spent in meetings, and available focus time. But Viva frames this data with actions to help reduce pressure and avoid team burnout.

This tool actively encourages people to schedule breaks, leave on time, and decompress from the day with a virtual commute routine.

Viva Glint Logo

Viva Glint

Every HR team knows that employee satisfaction surveys produce valuable organisational insight alongside a mountain of additional work. Viva Glint proposes a way to streamline this process and make it easier to gather, analyse, and act on employee feedback. With research-backed questions and built-in templates, you can create surveys around onboarding, engagement, culture and more.

The real value of Viva Glint, however, comes from it’s AI powered analytics. Rather than spending weeks crunching the numbers and pulling out trends, Glint gives you the headlines as soon as your survey closes. With detailed dashboards, industry benchmarks, and personalised presentations for managers, you can focus on the information and actions that matter to you.

viva pulse logo

Viva Pulse

This app is designed to be used for ad-hoc feedback. While Viva Glint gives you the big picture on employee experience, Viva Pulse lets individual leaders and project managers take a snapshot of how things are going in their team.

You can create your own surveys or use built-in templates to check the pulse on team workload, wellbeing, management style, change programmes, and more. Results are anonymous, and it’s worth noting that surveys can’t be sent to less than five people – so might not be ideal for smaller teams.

Viva Goals logo

Viva Goals

Viva Goals is a tool to help define objectives and track key results across an organisation.

Viva Goals brings individual, team and organisational objectives out of the dark corners of your filing system and into your Teams workspace.

This tool prompts people to create meaningful goals and OKRs. You can then track progress in real time through integrations with popular data systems, such as Tableau, PowerBI and Azure.

Teams and individuals can see how their own working objectives align with wider priorities, building a strong sense of drive and camaraderie.

Viva Topics logo

Viva Topics

In any organisation, there’s a lot of assumed knowledge. Think acronymns, projects, products, clients – and countless nuggets of wisdom and history that only veteran employees will know.

Most people tend to catch on within a few months of meetings, mentoring and a lot of questions – but Viva Topics proposes a faster way.

Viva Topics lets you hover over keywords in Microsoft 365 apps and discover topic cards. These contain bespoke definitions and expertise to keep everyone in your organisation on the same page.

Viva uses AI to identify, index and curate meaningful topics and generates a contextual guide for you to review, edit and approve.

You can also manage permissions and restrict access to protect sensitive information.

Viva Learning logo

Viva Learning

Viva Learning brings bite-sized chunks of training content into the flow of work in Teams. Like Viva Connections, Viva Learning has a dashboard for people to see personalised content and track their training in one place.

Viva Learning combines content from Microsoft and your learning management systems. The idea is to make it easy for people to discover learning materials, share insight, and upskill as they do in their day-to-day work.

Is Viva included in Microsoft 365?

Some features from Viva Connections, Viva Engage, Viva Insights and Viva Learning are included as part of Microsoft 365, with options to update to premium features.

Currently, Microsoft are offering three Viva licencing bundles:

  • Microsoft Viva Employee Communications and Communities Bundle
    • Viva Connections
    • Viva Engage
    • Viva Amplify
  • Microsoft Viva Workplace Analytics and Employee Feedback Bundle
    • Viva Insights
    • Viva Glint
    • Viva Pulse
  • The Viva Suite
    • All Microsoft Viva apps

How much does the Microsoft Viva Suite cost?

According to Microsoft, the pricing for the full Viva suite works out at £9.90 per user per month. This is an annual subscription and doesn’t include VAT.

The communications and communities bundle is priced at £1.64 per user per month. The Analytics bundle is £4.90 per user per month.

Viva Sales logo

What about Viva Sales?

While the other Microsoft Viva apps are aimed at everyone in your organisation, Viva Sales was the first role-based Viva offering and promises to help sales teams connect data and automate time-consuming tasks.

In July 2023, Microsoft quietly rebranded Viva Sales as Microsoft Sales Copilot, aligning this tool more closely with it’s line of AI-powered assistants.

Is Microsoft Viva worth it?

The Microsoft Viva suite puts good leadership practices, connection, and wellbeing at the centre of employee experience, helping to clarify priorities, surface information and set reasonable boundaries for work-life balance.

It is a great tool that can help facilitate open, collaborative working. But no software can conjure culture from thin air. It shouldn’t be seen as a plug and play solution for great employee experience.

To get the most out of these powerful tools, leaders need to invest energy in developing culture and connection, rewarding positive behaviours and leading by example to encourage healthy work habits for everyone in your team.

Data apprentice Daisy shares an idea with Samantha, one of Inform's directors, demonstrating our open collaborative culture.

Develop your employee experience with The Inform Team

At Inform, we can help you make the most of new ways of working, no matter where you are in your journey.

Whether you’re looking at ways to enhance culture and behaviours in your workplace, or are looking to boost skills and confidence with tools in the Viva suite, our team of change managers and Microsoft trainers can help. Drop us a message to find out more.

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