Microsoft Viva is designed to bring your employees direct and personalised access to communications and content. It is a multi-module tool – delivered through Teams – that allows you to engage and inspire your employees and strengthen your business culture of individual empowerment through insights, knowledge sharing, learning and news. But once you have it, how do you go about implementing it in the most effective way?
Pulling in learnings from some of the top Microsoft experts and earliest adopters, we have gathered our top tips for getting Microsoft Viva up and running in your organisation. These are just some of the ways you can start making your employees working life easier and more inspiring every day:
Before you start
Before implementing Viva, take the opportunity to discuss with your leadership team and your employees what you want to gain from it. Implementing Viva encourages and enables a holistic conversation about what your people need to get work done.
Ask, what will hybrid working look like for you? What do you perceive as the pain points in your organisation that you’d like to understand, and fix? How much difference could opening up your knowledge repository make to the way you work? Take this as a jump off point for your implementation and start sketching what a successful Viva implementation might look like.
First understand your organisational priorities, the key pain areas and the subjects, programmes, or issues that are most important for your people to know about. Viva AI is very powerful and will probably generate more Topics than you expect, so having a sense from the outset of what is the most important to you will help you to curate the AI outcomes and get the most out of this valuable tool in the long term.
If you already have an AI structure sitting over your knowledge management, this will help you overlay an even more meaningful order to the wealth of information Topics can surface, for instance, by building a robust term store from your organisational taxonomy. Use this AI or organisational taxonomy to direct your employees’ content tagging activity which will further help Topics to make better connections and get users to the most relevant content, quickly.
Be prepared to be surprised by the expertise that Viva will unearth in your organisation and decide ahead of time how you might capitalise on that. How are you going to approach newly found experts? How can they help build community understanding and share their knowledge in a wider forum?
Do you switch on the camera during Teams meetings? How do people show up in the way they use Teams? Ensuring you have a good, common understanding of your company values and the context of the way your people work, before you start to use Insights, will allow you to view the results through the lens of your unique company culture.
Your insights journey should begin with a limited set of reports and dig deep into the initial data findings. Get used to diving into the information behind the insights and take time to make actionable, measurable plans to address flagged pain points or capitalise on peaks of productivity, for instance. Once you have established a solid approach to using Insights in a meaningful way you can then start to expand your reports and make the most of the tool from the outset.
Start with your people, rather than being tempted to provide Insights to an exclusive group of managers. This helps to set the focus and demonstrate that Insights is a self-empowering tool first and foremost and not a performance management tool. Start with My Insights and encourage people to use the meditation and block time tools to focus and alleviate stress. Once people get a feeling for the kind of actionable data they can get from Insights, you can then enable the organisation wide charts for your managers to look at patterns and trends in their teams.
The meeting culture reports are a great place for managers to focus attention – as meetings and the way they are run are often a hot topic – and then use the findings to inform organisational change. You should also enable the team management charts to look at burn out potential, and whether 121 connections are happening. These reports can quickly give managers the information they need to support employees and make data driven decisions to help people feel better and, ultimately, become more productive.
Once you are up and running you will be able to think of Viva Insights as your business graph. Through this you will be able to build a clear and actionable picture of how people work together, interact with content, news and learning to get their work done.
Connections is a configured, company-branded, mobile-first, customisable hub where you can target content and experience to your business audience. Connections enables hybrid working by making the flow of work streamlined and relevant to the individual and the way they need and want to work. But the effectiveness is down to the way you implement it.
Centre your deployment around people. What are the most common use cases around the tools that your people need every day, including both Microsoft and all the other systems and other resources at play in your business? Viva’s strongest benefit is the way it reduces the need for context switching so, to fully realise the benefit of the tool, think about how you can bring those other resources into the Viva Connections experience. Of course, the mix of tools and systems will be different for each department – and it may not be possible to tackle these all from the outset – but by identifying the common use cases that benefit the whole organisation, and then tackling one unique set of department requirements at a time, you can maximise the experience return from your Viva implementation from the word go.
Don’t try and force in new features straight away. This can feel overwhelming for staff, and the benefit of Viva can get lost in the size of the change. Rather, take what you have and make it available in Viva Connections – this could be Yammer, SharePoint, or even your HR system. Start small and manageable and build consistency of use and high engagement from the start.
Once you are established and people are routinely using Viva you should constantly, but gradually, introduce new capabilities or highlight intrinsic Viva features. For example, use audience targeting in Connections which allows you to pinpoint specific information and knowledge, introduce Yammer communities, or more.
Think of Viva Learning as your way to establish a learning culture rather than just as a platform for delivering training and courses. It’s a common complaint that employees don’t have enough access to training but in many cases the issue isn’t the limit of access to the learning (as there is huge volumes of content out there for anyone to access), rather it’s the absence of context. At the moment of need how can the employee get the most relevant help – there and then. Viva Learning is both a learning hub and a contextual learning search engine which gives your people access to learning content created and curated by your business and – through integration with other systems – brings third party resources to the individual where they are working. When an employee needs to context switch, time, motivation, and focus can all get lost, so providing learning where people are doing the work is vital. Consider a holistic view and provide access to the same learning to individuals whether they are in Teams, SharePoint or anywhere in their working journey.
A last tip – audiences
Across Viva, you need to appreciate your different audiences. Know which audiences matter, identify them and use them effectively. Train the people who are producing content to understand audiences and build, tag, and target content appropriately. Consider the importance both of this training and of creating a role or process to oversee the quality of the structure and content that is being produced.