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

By 4th September 2023October 10th, 2023No 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.

Despite being available for nearly two years, Microsoft Viva remains a mystery to many.

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 launching soon.

Key features of Microsoft Viva components

Microsoft Viva is a suite of different apps, including Connections, Engage, Insights, Topics, Learning and Goals.
Viva Insights logo

Viva Insights

Viva Insights is one of the most visible tools in the Viva suite. If you’re working in Microsoft 365, you’ve probably already received emails from Viva Insights.

These help you protect your focus time, show you meeting documents, and remind you of promises you made to colleagues earlier in the week.

In a nutshell, Viva Insights gives everyone personal recommendations to work smarter and take care of their wellbeing. 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 Pulse is still in public preview, and is yet to be made generally available.

Is Viva included in Microsoft 365?

Viva Connections and Viva Engage are included as part of Microsoft 365, along with basic versions of Viva Insights and Viva Learning. These can both be upgraded to a premium version.

Currently, Viva Topics and Viva Goals are only available as add-on subscriptions, either individually or as part of the Viva suite. Viva Sales is a completely separate subscription.

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.

If you don’t want the full bundle, you can subscribe separately to individual apps. These are priced between £1.64 and £4.90 per user, per month. If you’re planning to use two or more apps, it could be cheaper to get the full package.

Viva Sales logo

What about Viva Sales?

While the other Microsoft Viva apps are aimed at everyone in your organisation, Viva Sales is a horse of a different colour. This difference is reflected in the price tag, at $40.00 per user each month.

It’s the first role-based Viva offering and promises to help sales teams connect data and automate time-consuming tasks.

Viva Sales breaks down the siloes between your CRM system and the Microsoft 365 apps where work happens, such as Outlook and Teams. It works alongside different CRMs, including Salesforce and Dynamics 365.

Users can update CRM records without switching between tools and can access their sales notes from within a Teams call. They can also share customer data with colleagues seamlessly and securely inside Microsoft apps.

And with AI tools to track call sentiment, record actions, and create meeting summaries, Viva Sales can free up admin time and let salespeople focus on building relationships.

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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