In this era of hybrid, remote, and flexible working, employees’ needs are changing faster than ever. The days of ad hoc huddles and sharing information over coffee breaks are gone. Leaders, HR, and internal communications teams need to plan more than ever, deliver against expectations of personalisation, and create communities for sharing news and opinions.
We look at how Microsoft Viva can support internal comms teams to communicate and build engagement across your organisation.
In the State of the Sector 2023 report, employee experience experts Gallagher found that internal communicators’ appetite for adding to the channel mix had fallen from 39% to 19%. Yet, creating clarity around strategy remains vital with 67% classing it a priority.
Quite right, we say. We have the tools, we have the channels, now let’s focus on how best we use them.
If you have Microsoft 365, you’ve already got the basics – Viva Connections, and community and conversations in Viva Engage. And, if you’ve upgraded to the full Viva suite, you’ll have Viva Learning, Insights, Topics, and Goals, plus access to new tools yet to come.
In this blog we look at seven ways Microsoft Viva can support internal communications teams, and the value it can bring to you and your employees.
1. Makes it Simple, Makes it Easy
Viva Connections probably brings the most easily accessible benefit to internal communications.
It’s available for Microsoft 365 users with E3 and E5 licences at no extra charge. Viva Connections acts as a gateway to your intranet and all your communication tools, with a level of personalisation that many intranets lack. Content from your SharePoint platform is shared in a dashboard, personalised to individuals based on features such as their role, region, and personal interests.
Connections is, essentially, your employees’ portal into the Viva suite of tools, easing the internal comms task of connecting the right people to the right content at the right time.
2. Helps You Engage Where People Work
Hybrid working means that digital engagement is more important than ever before and using digital channels to communicate with staff is vital.
For a business that uses Microsoft Teams for collaboration and communication, it makes sense to utilise this powerful channel to engage employees. The beauty of Viva Connections is that it brings the expert tools required to run engaging internal comms straight into Teams – where your people are working.
Connections is tightly integrated with Viva Engage, SharePoint news and Stream, so employees have a single-entry point to discover content relevant to them and their work. It also acts as a launch pad for accessing other sites and news from across the organisation. All available right from the Teams app bar. Plus, it’s available through the mobile app as well as on desktop.
3. Makes it Straightforward to Make it Yours
Microsoft Viva is easy to customise and extend and can be accessible from wherever your employees are. And, you can strengthen its capabilities through partner integrations and experience enhancing apps.
With Viva Connections you and your employees can select messages, content, and dashboard items for their personal view, or to direct to individuals or groups. The employee dashboard is a series of ‘cards’ which users can interact with to find information or carry out a task. This might include dynamic content such as the company podcast, or the latest business news article.
All of this in-built targeting makes Viva an essential tool for internal comms teams. It helps to create perfectly pitched messaging, to know where and when it is being delivered, and to ensure news or instruction hits the mark every time.
4. Makes Communication Genuine
Viva Engage – which picks up the mantle from Yammer – is the social layer of Microsoft 365 allowing teams to share stories and find connections.
Viva Engage gives organisations enterprise-level social capabilities. These capabilities foster community-building among workers, facilitate communication between employees and leadership, and create authentic connection.
Viva Topics – the knowledge and expertise hub – can support HR and internal comms to build employee engagement. For example, through providing the information and guidance required to take a new employee through their induction. Topics can help a new employee navigate through the content and expertise they need to do their job, and make it easy for them to connect with colleagues.
5. Makes the Message Consistent
Viva Connections provides a central gateway for your internal communications. This makes it easier for internal communicators to ensure that messaging is consistent across departments and teams, even when messages need to be delivered in different ways and at different times.
Internal comms experts can create and manage communication channels – like news feeds, targeted teams sites, or chat groups – to ensure that employees get the same messaging regardless of their location or role.
Clever use of the growth and development tool Viva Learning can also support this consistency, ensuring that all employees have at least a basic training in consistent communication across teams. This will allow them to take the lead on their own department comms, further easing the load on comms resources.
6. Brings Remote Employees into the Heart of the Business
One of the biggest challenges for internal comms is ensuring remote employees are part of the culture, and are as in touch with the values, strategies, and key messages as any hybrid or office-based individual.
Connections plays a massive part in overcoming this. But, so too does Engage, providing an ‘always on’ connection to colleagues, leaders, and experts. By putting the responsibility to communicate into everyone’s remit, Engage can help shape and reinforce culture as well as aligning a disparate workforce around common messages and knowledge.
7. Keeps Giving you More
The Viva suite of tools is growing with Pulse recently released, and Amplify ‘in private preview’ (or beta).
Amplify is set to be a gamechanger for internal communications. Amplify will help internal comms teams to share unified, consistent messages that combine multiple communications and channels through easy campaign creation. This will both simplify communications and make them more impactful for employees.
Pulse is a new app that helps leaders gather regular, confidential feedback from employees. This two-way conversation supports a vital part of the internal comms remit – listening to employees. Like the rest of the Viva toolset, Pulse is available through Teams, and uses smart templates, questions, and analytics to pull in valuable input.
For more on Microsoft Viva, catch up on this episode of the Work Happy podcast with Head of Professional Services, Martin Day. In conversation with Chief Visionary Officer Alex Graves, Martin demystifies Microsoft Viva and looks at how this new and ever expanding tool set is helping businesses, leaders, and employees.
For more help and guidance on how your organisation can get the most from Microsoft Viva, get in touch with us today.