Enhancing the employee experience with Viva
Microsoft is a dominant player in office software, and constantly looking to broaden their offering for businesses driven by computers. They offer the operating system computers run on with Windows, the servers for online services in Azure, the basic office software in Office365, and the most popular communication platform in Teams. It’s hard to do knowledge work without using Microsoft’s products.
Their newest large-scale launch was Viva, an employee experience (EXP) platform. It has been marketed somewhat like a Yammer 2.0, as it offers a social side to work in its communities. It creates feeds, and offers interesting content for us to consume, much like any other social media.
Human capital as the competitive advantage
Microsoft has identified an earning potential in supporting companies’ effort to improve their employee experience. Especially software companies are fighting hard for the best workers, which has seen software engineer pay and benefits skyrocket. Employees are the most important asset for knowledge work organizations, and they’ve been able to leverage that well in IT.
However, the benefit package alone doesn’t help organizations recruit and retain the talent they desperately need. Here’s where the employee experience comes in. Offering challenging but rewarding work, securing the well-being and work-life-balance, and allowing for autonomy and freedom are among the top requirements for employers in the software field, and workers in other industries are following suit. Companies have noticed that investing in employee experience might be a more cost-effective way to acquire the talent they need.
With Viva, Microsoft is offering employee experience as a service, that is surely attractive to many founders and managers. But what does Viva offer? And is it actually going to solve the employee experience by itself? Let’s talk a bit about how it works.
Viva and Teams are for different purposes
It’s important to notice, that Microsoft is touting it as an extension precisely for Teams – The business communication platform everyone is buzzing about. The move suggests that Microsoft has noticed that large scale implementations in Teams fail, because organization-wide channels are not really useful. They only create disruptions and fail to disperse announcements and communications for the entire employee base. Thus, this company-wide, one-directional communication has been separated to Viva, while Teams focuses to offer a better teamwork experience in smaller teams.
Viva Connections allows companies to feed them the important announcements, strategies, and values, while giving them a virtual social space to chat and build relationships with colleagues. In a way, Viva is trying to emulate company culture in a digital context. But it isn’t all Viva is capable of. According to Microsoft, the employee experience consists of Growth, Purpose, Wellbeing, and Expertise, alongside the aforementioned Communities.
A lifetime of learning
The Growth-side of employee experience means learning and growing with the company. Improving your professional skills in teamwork, and in your area of expertise. It facilitates coaching and career paths. With Viva Learning, companies can upskill their employees, and find people to promote and train. Challenges and career development plans help people be more content at their job, as they’re clear about what the future holds, making them more loyal.
Challenging work makes people fill accomplished in their position. This reinforces Viva’s Expertise offering. Doing work with people smarter than you is more meaningful than doing menial tasks with little glory. Viva Topics reinforces knowledge and expertise sharing and helps people discover information in their organization that helps them succeed in hard tasks. The acquired experience creates expertise and confidence. Confident people speak up and contribute to better decision making. They are also more motivated, which the customer is sure to notice and appreciate.
Capable and loyal employees are more involved in building the company culture, which bases on its values. When you agree with the values and the mission of the company, you feel like you have a Purpose. Not only are you good at what you do, you are making a positive impact in the world. The company will also benefit, because the workers agreeing of the company’s goals ensures the operations align with the strategy.
Of course, you can’t create value or get much done if your employees work themselves to sick leave. Viva Insights tracks the habits of employees while they work and analyzes meetings for their effectiveness. It tries to improve good work-life-balance to minimize burnout and sudden drops in productivity. Viva Insights also generates reports for leaders to understand how their organization and people are performing – in good and bad.
It’s all about the experience
In Viva, Microsoft offers the full employee experience package, that should get the attention of organizations in labor shortage industries. With reasonable costs, companies can have an advantage in recruiting with their culture. Especially financially secure people might be persuaded for a new job if it offers better wellbeing benefits, even if the rewards were similar.
Fingertip is another extension to Microsoft Teams. It offers the next-level leader’s experience by digitizing and quantifying more knowledge work processes than any other software. It can facilitate more than 80% of knowledge work, help make better decisions, and implement your strategy transparently. It is an intuitive leadership system with collaborative elements. And like Viva, it offers the knowledge in past, well-documented decisions, and projects you can learn from and replicate.