February 15th, 2021 10:10 am
Microsoft unveils Viva, its employee-experience platform for Teams
As the number of employees telecommuting continues to rise from the COVID 19 Pandemic, as do the platforms becoming widely available under Microsoft for increased employee productivity. Many employers are currently using Microsoft Teams as a level of engagement and communication. A new platform to be integrated with Teams is soon to come.
Calling employee experience the “new ERP,” Microsoft introduced four Viva “modules” that provide access to workplace learning, knowledge, analytics, and corporate info.
Microsoft today unveiled its employee-experience platform, Viva, which the company calls a digital “gateway” for employees to access relevant news, learning, analytics, and knowledge within their organization.
Four Viva “modules” — Connections, Insights, Learning and Topics — will become available in Teams on a staggered basis over the next few months, Microsoft said, leveraging existing capabilities within the Microsoft 365 portfolio, including SharePoint and analytics tools.
The platform is also designed to provide managers and leaders better insights into the well-being and performance of workers, the company said.
“Today we are bringing together collaboration, learning and well-being, in order to create a complete new product category: [the] employee experience platform or EXP,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a pre-recorded briefing ahead of the announcement.
Each employee gets a personalized news feed, which internal communications teams can use to highlight important information — it’s accessed in the dashboard that serves as the Viva homepage.
The Connections app can be customized with corporate branding and curated content to target groups of employees with focused information and tools.
Connections is slated to be available on the Teams desktop app in the first half of 2021, with the mobile app following in the summer.
An analytics tools, Viva Insights, is aimed at both individual employees and managers and can track productivity and well-being at a personal and business-wide level.
Viva Insights, which replaces two existing Microsoft 365 tools — MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics — will offer an overview of productivity levels, said Microsoft. The goal is to ensure employee well-being and avoid burnout by, for example, detecting when an employee has too many meetings and not enough focus time.
Additional features such as virtual commutes and integration with the Headspace meditation and mindfulness app will be available in the “coming months,” along with an integration with Viva Learning.
In addition to tapping into data from Microsoft’s own products such as Teams and Outlook, Viva Insights will incorporate data from third-party applications, including video tools like Zoom and HR platforms from Workday and SAP SuccessFactors.
Microsoft has drawn criticism for its Productivity Score tool in recent months, which can allow managers to monitor individual productivity levels. The company said that personal data derived from Viva Insights is only viewable by the individual employee, while higher-level info is accessible by business leaders and managers only after being aggregated and anonymized, with privacy setby default.
Viva Insights can be downloaded for Teams today, with personal insights available for Microsoft Exchange Online users in public preview, and manager insights available to existing Workplace Analytics customers.
The Viva Learning app for Teams, now in private preview, is a central repository for learning materials. The aim is to help employees easily hunt down information needed to do their job, from training videos to PowerPoint presentations.
Teams users can search and share learning content in chat and create their own “tab” within the collaboration platform to organize their content.
Learning content is available from a range of sources, from Microsoft Learn and LinkedIn Learning to third-party providers such as Coursera and PluralSight. Viva Learning will also integrate with learning management systems from Cornerstone OnDemand, SAP SuccessFactors, and others.
Viva Learning is currently being piloted with select Microsoft customersl a general release is pegged for “later this year.”
Finally, Viva Topics is a knowledge management platform that helps an employee access the information that relates to their job role.
Topics uses AI to collect content across an organization into topic areas such as projects, products, or customers, collating information from within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem as well as third-party providers such as Salesforce and ServiceNow. These topic pages are automatically collated by Microsoft’s AI, with an organization’s “experts” able to add and edit the wiki-style pages.
Topic “cards” are also available within Microsoft 365 apps, highlighting topics when they appear in certain messages or other content within apps, providing quick context around unfamiliar acronyms or terms, for example.
Topics are arranged around a “topic center” which will eventually be viewable from Teams and SharePoint, allowing workers to discover content recommended to them based on topics they follow, and personalized by the Microsoft Graph.
Viva Topics is generally available as of today for all Microsoft 365 customers.
Did you like this article? Share it with your friends!