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5 Practical Tips for Using Microsoft Viva to Engage Frontline Workers

5 Practical Tips for Using Microsoft Viva to Engage Frontline Workers

Engaging frontline workers is hardly a new challenge, but the pandemic shone a real spotlight on the importance of frontline worker engagement, and many IC professionals have been playing catch-up ever since.

Frontline workers are critical to our everyday lives. They’re the ones looking after our children while we’re at work, building our homes and infrastructure, serving us in stores, cafes and hotels, growing the food we eat and taking care of us when we need medical attention. Despite this, data consistently shows they are less engaged than the wider workforce. One-third say they don’t have the right tech to do their jobs effectively, and just over one third (35 per cent) are happy with the quality of their workplace communications.

With frontline workers representing the majority of the global workforce, their disengagement poses a serious problem – not just for employers, but for society as a whole.

While the frontline worker engagement challenge might not be new, the quality of the workplace tech at our disposal has levelled up significantly in the last few years. Frontline workers used to be woefully underserved by technology, but things have changed, and the tools needed to prioritise their inclusion and engagement are now at our fingertips.

One of the biggest changes came from Microsoft with the introduction of Viva, which shook up the employee experience platform market by unifying key tools and applications and negating the need for a pricey third-party platform.

In simple terms, Microsoft Viva is a suite of M365 applications that come together to form an all-in employee experience platform. It’s evolved significantly over the past few years to use your existing IT infrastructure in a more effective and streamlined way, focused on connection and engagement.

If you’re still getting to grips with what Microsoft Viva is, you can download our introduction to Viva for internal communicators.

Here, we’ll talk specifically about two of Viva’s most exciting applications that are changing how we engage and communicate with frontline workers – Viva Connections and Viva Engage.

Viva Connections is a game changer for frontline workers. It makes communications more accessible by aggregating content and information from across M365 and presenting it in a single customisable feed. It helps keep them in the loop by streamlining corporate, regional and local messaging onto one seamlessly integrated central homepage.

How Viva Connections can Make Communications Accessible to Frontline Workers

1. Make Mobile Access Easy

Most frontline workers – 95 per cent, in fact – say receiving workplace communication is essential for their job, but recent data shows us that hardly any employees access their SharePoint intranet via mobile (98% via desktop). The current set-up is not working.

Viva Connections, however, is designed with mobile-first users in mind. Your frontline colleagues can access intranet content straight from the Teams mobile app in a dedicated feed.

Enabling Viva Connections is much easier than trying to design a mobile-friendly SharePoint intranet.

2. Share Relevant Content

IC professionals are no strangers to the importance of personalisation, and Viva Connections provides an effective way for you to reformat, repackage and target messaging to your deskless workforce. Its dedicated “audience targeting” feature can be applied to the dashboard and resources. News content from your intranet can also be targeted to the appropriate audiences using the out of the box controls available in SharePoint.

This makes sure on-the-ground teammates only see what’s relevant to them. Let’s be honest, frontline workers aren’t interested in the canteen menu for an office they’re 250 miles away from.

When combined with Copilot as a content authoring assistant, the experience can be taken to the next level with content automatically being rewritten by the author and personalised to suit different channels and target different audience groups.

3. Bring Practical Tools Together

The Viva Connections dashboard can be configured with dynamic “cards” that bring practical tools together to help frontline workers with everyday tasks such as clocking in and out for shifts. This means it also provides the perfect place to share not-to-be-missed news and updates.

Practically speaking, Connections is embedded within Teams which saves frontline workers from having to access multiple different apps to get the content and information they need.

An example of a Viva Connections homepage, showing the spotlight, dashboard, resources, and feed tab.

Using Viva Engage to Give Frontline Workers a Voice

Frontline workers can often feel isolated, disconnected from colleagues and excluded from company conversations. Two-thirds say messages from leadership often do not reach them, and one-third feel their voice is not heard when communicating workplace issues.

Viva Engage provides the opportunity to bridge this gap and give frontline workers a voice.

4. Encourage Collaboration

Viva Engage is a tool focused on improving the employee experience by creating an inclusive sense of community throughout the organisation. It allows frontline workers to connect and collaborate with colleagues from other divisions, take part in community conversations and gain direct access to leadership.

At a tactical level, Viva Engage serves up helpful features to encourage collaboration and boost frontline worker engagement. It allows IC teams to access engagement insights, post and pin announcements on behalf of leaders, create stories and post questions.

5. Facilitate connections with leaders

Hosting Ask Me Anything sessions – moderated Q&A-style events – encourages two-way communication and connection between employees and leaders. I’ve seen this feature work well for frontline workers because they can access the sessions via either the Viva Engage mobile app or the Teams mobile app without having to join a meeting or watch a video. They can jump in, ask a question, then come back to the app later to see the answer.

That kind of practical inclusivity is important for frontline employees whose shift patterns may not allow them to join a live session or a pre-scheduled All Hands call.

The Leadership Corner dashboard in Viva Engage, with headshots of key leaders at the top, posts from leaders displayed in a news feed, and upcoming ask me anything events displayed to the right

Start Engaging Your Frontline Workers

We can help you get started with Viva Connections, Viva Engage, and other Viva apps.

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