3 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement and Communication in Microsoft 365 with Microsoft Viva 

Employee engagement and communication matters more than ever. In fact, according to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, companies with high employee engagement have better financial outcomes. And companies with highly engaged employees focus on two things: employee communications and goal setting.

However, in the hybrid world, where colleagues are working from home, in the office, or the field, it’s actually getting harder to reach them with timely and relevant comms.

Not to mention the challenge of engaging employees who are working non-linear hours and shorter working weeks, where comms teams are being tasked with providing a platform so they can interact, share stories, and feel part of the team.

That’s where the latest Microsoft Viva suite of tools come in. Since the pandemic Microsoft has gradually introduced a new suite of employee experience tools under the umbrella name of ‘Viva’.

Microsoft Viva is a portfolio of apps tailored to address the different aspects of the ‘employee experience’ within Microsoft 365.

Whilst many of these are useful for HR roles, there are now three ‘Viva’ apps in the Viva suite that are extremely useful and relevant for those in a comms role, in particular: Viva Connections, Viva Amplify, and Viva Engage. Let’s take a look at each.

1. Viva Connections

Viva Connections is a digital interface that displays or surfaces content from around Microsoft 365, such as Microsoft Feed, SharePoint news, videos from Stream, and Viva Engage posts, all in a single space within Microsoft Teams.  Available on desktop or mobile, it’s a great one-stop-shop to surface information for busy colleagues or frontline workers who haven’t got time to seek out content on other channels.

Every end user’s Viva Connections homepage has the same features on it, such as access to Microsoft Feed, their SharePoint Intranet, an Announcements bar, a News Spotlight, Dashboard cards, and Resources section. However, the content shown to each employee can vary according to their role within the company.

It is important to note here that content shown on the Viva Connections homepage is not stored there. This means it is not a new channel to publish content on, rather it’s a place where content from your Microsoft Feed, SharePoint sites, and using Fresh posts from Viva Engage and videos from Stream, is surfaced in one place, or as Microsoft likes to say in ‘a single pane of glass’.

Whilst you largely can’t publish content directly onto the Viva Connections homepage, with the exception of targeted announcements, you can influence what end users are shown on their news spotlight and dashboard by targeting and boosting content taken from around Microsoft 365.

Find out how to target and boost content in Viva Connections in our eBook.

2. Viva Amplify:

Viva Amplify is the newest licensed app in the Viva suite that allows you to create multi-channel content campaigns with approvals, workflows, and reports all within Microsoft 365.

The purpose of Amplify, as the name suggests, is to enable you to publish your content in a way that it will be read as widely as possible, on one or (preferably) more channels.

As a licensed app, you can create comms campaigns that reach audiences with the right message on the right channel, regardless of whether they’re hybrid working, in-the-field, remote, working non-linear patterns, in the office, or are frontline workers.

You can distribute your news and campaigns to the channels where your users work, such as Outlook, SharePoint, and Teams, and coming soon Viva Engage communities.

The idea is that you’ll be able to reach more people, increase engagement, and measure the impact of your messages.

You can publish content on multiple channels such as Outlook, SharePoint, and Teams

Amplify also gives you writing guidance to help you create content that’s on message and resonates with your target audience.

Find out how to use Amplify and set up a campaign in our eBook.

3. Viva Engage:

Formerly known as Yammer, Viva Engage is a social media channel within Microsoft 365 that helps you build connections and communities in your organisation.

This is the platform where you can make everyone feel a sense of belonging and part of something bigger than just themselves.

Viva Engage, designed to encourage employee engagement and communication at scale, has all the social media features you’d expect – end users have a profile and a news feed where they can post images and videos as well as choose to follow leaders or join communities.

For many Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans, it comes as standard, which means everyone in your organisation has access to it, making it a useful comms tool.

As a Comms ‘admin’ you’ll be able to set up communities, share links to content that lives elsewhere (e.g., SharePoint or Stream), as well as have admin privileges such as being able to post company-wide announcements.

Find out how to get the most out of Viva Engage in our eBook.

Where does Fresh Intranet fit in with Viva?

To make the most of the Viva suite of apps and functionality you will need a structured and well-managed SharePoint intranet, like Fresh.

Fresh, an intranet built on SharePoint in Microsoft 365, is aligned with Microsoft’s roadmap. It is structured and automatically integrates with each of the Viva apps.

As a comms tool, Fresh supports ways to integrate with each of the Viva apps in the following ways:

Fresh + Viva Connections

There are numerous ways you can optimise the Fresh Intranet experience in Viva Connections. Use the Viva Connection cards to surface your intranet homepage as well as display additional cards for news, events, links, alerts, and more.

Fresh has currently five Viva Connections cards available to use (‘Page’ card, ‘Tool’ card, ‘My Data’ card, ‘Alert’ card and ‘Search’ card) with eight additional cards under development.

Look out for the ‘Curated Page’ card, ‘Event’ card, ‘What’s New’ card, ‘Document’ card, ‘Curated Documents’ card, ‘Viva Engage Conversations’ card, ‘Viva Engage Communities’ card and ‘Video’ card in early 2024

Fresh + Viva Amplify

Viva Amplify works alongside and is fully supported in Fresh. Following Microsoft’s best practices for building on top of Microsoft 365, Fresh Intranet works seamlessly with Viva Amplify. Plus, any page distributed from Viva Amplify to SharePoint can be extended with Fresh web parts after publication.

Fresh + Viva Engage

If your company is already making extensive use of Viva Engage, particularly where conversation threads are fast becoming news sources, you will soon be able to use the Fresh Viva Engage Conversations component to display these conversations as news cards within your intranet or as a news source within Viva Connections.

The Fresh team is also building a Viva Engage communities card – a Viva Connections Dashboard card that can display specific communities from Viva Engage within Viva Connections. Additionally, users and communicators can use Fresh’s provisioning option to create Viva Engage communities from Fresh.

For tips and tricks on how to improve your Employee Communications and Communities within Microsoft 365 using a Viva license, download our eBook: How to Improve Employee Communications and Engagement with Microsoft Viva  An eBook for ‘Employee Communications and Communities Microsoft Viva’ license holders.

To find out more ways you can use Fresh Intranet with Viva apps, book a meeting with one of our customer success team today.