Microsoft have recently introduced their new employee experience programme built for the digital era, Microsoft Viva. This tool brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights into an integrated experience that empowers people and teams to be their best, from anywhere.
Our Head of Business Development, Andy Jarrett, looks at the new ways of working in 2021, the importance of the employee experience and how Microsoft Viva can benefit companies post COVID-19.
Viva is powered by the full breadth and depth of Microsoft 365; it is experienced through Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft 365 apps that people use every day.
The ‘fourth industrial revolution’
Our new normal is beginning to emerge and there is no question that there has been a significant long-term change in the way we work. In fact, we will probably look back at this period of history in the same context as we do with 20th century “pre-war” and “post-war” eras.
Generations to come may well use this context to discuss the technical transformation “pre and post COVID-19”. It is a virus that some say kick started the fourth industrial revolution.
2020 was all about response, digitisation, and cloud acceleration. Businesses had to scramble to install and adapt new technologies often under intense pressure.
As a result of this pace of change there is no doubt that 2020 saw higher levels of stress and burnout across all levels in business. The health and wellness of employees has been impacted as the blurring of home and work life morphs.
Redefining the workplace
This has made people question whether they were working at home or sleeping at work. These societal changes run deep, consider the vogue of open plan living, has it lost its allure against the backdrop of home schooling and Teams calls?
Architects are rethinking home spaces which are now more likely to provide quiet spaces or dual-purpose office/snugs for 2021 and beyond.
2021 is now about the continued execution of change, building on the tools implemented for remote working. These tools simultaneously delivered a platform for significant transformation thereby enabling the future of work.
The hybrid working environment we now live in poses three new challenges for businesses.
Firstly, work is no longer a place, meaning the role of the office has changed. It was once the centre for creating culture and belonging, now it is a place to visit but not necessarily the focal point.
Secondly, by adapting to remote working, employees have had to find a way to create a community in the digital environment, a sense of loyalty and belonging.
Finally, employees and managers need to be able to work more efficiently in this hybrid environment whilst looking after their team’s well-being.
In the “pre COVID-19” era managers could see stress building in team members, today it is much harder. Developing insights into remote working will support productivity and wellbeing.
Introducing Microsoft Viva
Against this backdrop Microsoft have announced Viva, a new employee experience platform, its beta testing opens shortly and it will be available in summer. Microsoft Viva is designed to address the issues raised above.
It recognises work is no longer a place and seeks to address this new hybrid world. It provides an integrated platform to improve employee experience, interact with HR, learning, culture, wellbeing and develop knowledge sharing.
Viva is tightly integrated into Microsoft Teams, so it becomes part of an employees working environment and not something separate and bolted on. Viva is being launched with four initial modules.
This module addresses the changing nature of the office as a digital destination, it is the gateway to a modern engagement experience designed to keep everyone engaged and informed.
This helps people and business thrive with data-driven, privacy-protected insights and recommendations to improve productivity and wellbeing. It assists HR and managers to support staff and identify stress and potential burnout.
This module empowers people to better themselves with employee training when and where it is needed, without disruption, making it easier for people to learn while working. It is supported by AI driven insights to offer the right courses at the right time, encouraging a culture of growth.
Finally, this module helps people put knowledge to work, using AI to surface expertise in the apps they use every day. Topics automatically organises content across apps and teams with built-in security and compliance features.