For years, businesses suffered the consequences of poor employee engagement. Thankfully, there is no need to suffer any more. Viva Engage and Yammer are both Microsoft enterprise social networking platforms developed to enhance employee engagement and knowledge sharing. In turn, they help businesses and organisations improve productivity and performance, and support a happier workplace.
While Viva Engage and Yammer share similarities in communication, collaboration, and content tools, they have different focuses, features, and futures. Yammer is being phased out as Microsoft go all-in on Viva Engage instead.
Employee engagement has always been a top priority for the business sector, but new challenges have arisen due to the increase in remote working in recent years. Microsoft Viva Engage aims to revolutionise staff engagement so that businesses can build stronger, connected communities for the benefit of all employees. This blog will highlight the advantages of Viva Engage through community-building and knowledge-sharing features when integrated with Microsoft 365.
What is Microsoft Viva Engage?
Viva Engage is a Microsoft platform that enables businesses and organisations to improve employee engagement, collaboration, and wellbeing by providing workers with personalised and relevant insights and resources. Viva Engage is built on Microsoft’s Teams and SharePoint apps, making it easy for customers and users to integrate it into their existing technology stack.
Why are Businesses Using Microsoft Viva Engage?
Community building and knowledge sharing are among the biggest attractions of Viva Engage to the business sector. Likened to a corporate intranet for modern times, it connects employees, promotes dialogue, and facilitates staff interaction whether they work in an office or remotely. In essence, it bridges gaps in communication.
Viva Engage aims to revolutionise the way businesses engage with their workers. Its multiple features help unlock employee potential by connecting people across the business. This fuels engagement with leadership and helps form personal networks through the social and community capabilities of Microsoft 365 apps, including Microsoft Teams.
What are the Key Features of Microsoft Viva Engage?
Viva Engage creates groups that can be used for knowledge sharing and community building. This helps workers share ideas and best practices, discuss industry topics and trends, and create positive environments that support colleagues, promote collaboration and explore common interests.
Viva Engage offers multiple features allowing businesses to develop a strong sense of community culture and better understand their employees’ needs, interests, and preferences. These include:
1. Business analytics and insights
There was a time when businesses lacked the necessary tools to make data-driven decisions to improve their overall performance and achieve goals. These days, there is no need to rely solely on intuition or guesswork. Viva Engage provides valuable insights for managers and HR teams into how employees engage with a business, its resources, and the communities that lie within it. In turn, this allows businesses to identify trends, measure the effectiveness of initiatives, spot areas for improvement, and tailor their engagement strategies accordingly. Engaged employees are more productive, motivated, and committed to their work. They are also less likely to leave their jobs, which can save organisations significant amounts of time and money in recruitment and training. It can even make your retention figures look impressive.
2. Enhanced communities
Historically, building communities in business was a challenge. Geographic dispersion, language differences, and workplace diversity were just some of the barriers blocking their progress. With Viva Engage, employees can easily connect with each other and build communities. Communities based on shared interests, skills, and goals, are some common examples of how Viva Engage is supporting the workplace by fostering a sense of belonging, thus improving collaboration. Employees can include stories and develop storylines with multimedia and share what they are passionate about. They can also ask questions and find answers, follow leaders, and connect with co-workers through Viva Engage.
3. Supports learning
The business landscape is constantly evolving, and companies need employees who can adapt and acquire new skills to stay competitive. A wide range of learning resources are available with Viva Engage for the benefit of employees. The platform provides training courses, education modules, and helpful videos, which enable both employers and employees to develop new skills and improve their performance. It also facilitates real-time interaction and knowledge sharing for the benefit of the entire workforce.
4. Employee recognition
Viva Engage enables organisations to recognise and reward their workers for their achievements and contributions. Using this tool for manager feedback and regular performance evaluations can help create a culture of recognition, boost morale and motivation, and lead to continuous improvement in the workplace. Frequent recognition creates healthy competition too, with a willingness from employees to go above and beyond.
5. Conducting surveys
In the pre-digital age, businesses used traditional methods such as paper surveys, telephone surveys, and focus groups to gather feedback from employees. With Viva Engage, conducting staff surveys couldn’t be simpler. Business leaders can use the platform to send employees surveys to gather feedback on a variety of topics such as work-life balance, wellbeing, and organisational culture. It can also provide useful links and videos to wellness resources and mechanisms for anonymous reporting to address any concerns.
Are there different options for Microsoft Viva Engage?
Yes, the number of Viva Engage features you can access depends on your subscription. There are a variety of features included as standard on all Viva Engage subscriptions such as analytics, storylines, and announcements. However, premium features like leadership corner and community campaigns are also included with Microsoft Viva Suite subscriptions.
Viva Engage Features:
Inform and update employees wherever they may work with announcements and notifications across web and mobile apps.
Use @mentions to create and follow topic hashtags or engage with leaders, as well as help co-workers find relevant content and company resources.
|Queries and solutions:|
Support employee learning by posting questions and inviting answers to find crowdsourced solutions.
Pin conversations, join group discussions, and invite dialogue across all business departments.
Receive detailed analysis from business communities, events, and conversations to gauge activity and worker engagement.
Connect team leaders and employees through virtual events involving video, live Q&A sessions, quizzes, and more.
Create, upload, and share stories from leaders and co-workers using social media tools such as Facebook and Instagram.
Give your employees the power and autonomy to communicate with a range of people across the business, sharing ideas.
Premium Viva Engage Features (available with Microsoft Viva Suite):
Connect leaders from all departments through discussion, hashtag campaigns and open question forums.
Post storylines and stories on behalf of another user to maximise topic impact on leaders and employees.
|Answers in Viva:|
Find answers and solutions through semantic searches and group responses to harness expertise and preserve knowledge in the business.
Dedicated campaign pages support the creation and management of business-wide campaigns.
Why did Microsoft Viva Engage replace Yammer?
It made little sense for Microsoft to have two similar brands that performed similar functions like Yammer and Viva Engage. It was confusing for customers and users, and it soon became clear there was no room or requirement for Yammer in Microsoft’s vast array of products.
Microsoft acquired Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012 and attempted to broaden its appeal, especially in the workplace, by integrating it with its core Office products. In 2019, Yammer was integrated with Microsoft Teams then two years later Microsoft launched Viva as an “employee experience platform”.
It soon became clear to Microsoft that Viva presented greater user opportunities and engagement, so it launched Viva Engage in 2022 and described it as an “evolution of the Yammer Communities app.” That was the beginning of the end for Yam+mer which will eventually be consumed by Viva Engage, with brand changes taking place throughout 2023. Yammer mobile apps have already changed to Viva Engage and the same will happen to the Yammer web app this summer.
As Viva and Yammer chief vice president Murali Sitaram stated: “Having two apps surfacing similar experiences and the same services and content has introduced confusion and made it challenging to drive adoption and create clarity for the end user.”