In response to the evolving hybrid work landscape and shifting employee expectations, companies are reevaluating their recruitment, retention, and training approaches. This shift has given rise to ‘Employee Experience’ (EX) platforms. Viewed as the next generation of traditional ’employee portals’, these platforms foster a more profound interaction between HR and employees and provide metrics to gauge the success of internal initiatives.

Leading the charge in this market are companies like Qualtrics, PeopleSpheres, and Ti-People, each specializing in distinct EX modules. However, this industry is still nascent. Microsoft’s debut with its Viva Engage platform has been a game-changer. Just a year post-launch, Viva Engage boasts 10 million monthly active users and over 1,000 paying customers.

What is Microsoft Viva Engage?

Microsoft Viva Engage is a professional collaboration platform tailored to enhance team interactions and communication across organizational communities.

Built on the foundation of Yammer, this tool seamlessly integrates with all Microsoft 365 solutions and natively syncs with Microsoft Teams.

Its design and functions are reminiscent of social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

Viva Engage provides a centralized platform for communication among all employees within an organization’s digital framework. Through this interface, information, feedback, strategic initiatives, and industry-specific concerns can be efficiently shared and discussed.

By fostering structured two-way interactions, the platform aims to distribute information effectively, ensuring that all stakeholders are not just informed but also actively engaged in the company’s decision-making process.

Differences between Viva Engage and Yammer

Since October 2023, Viva Engage has taken over from Yammer. But what are the major differences between these two corporate social networks?

  • Data storage: Yammer stores user data in the Azure SQL Database, while Viva Engage uses Microsoft Graph to store user data in Microsoft 365.
  • Search: Yammer uses its own search engine, while Viva Engage uses Microsoft Search. This enables Viva Engage to offer a more powerful and unified search across Microsoft 365.
  • Integration with Microsoft Teams: Yammer integrates with Microsoft Teams via connectors, while Viva Engage is natively integrated. This allows VE to use Teams’ videoconferencing features, for example, to create live events.
  • Advanced features: Viva Engage offers a number of advanced features that were not available in Yammer, such as:
    • Leadership Corner, a space dedicated to connecting the leaders of an organisation with their employees.
    • Ask Me Anything (AMA), a new type of event that allows employees to ask their managers questions.
    • Answers in Viva, a new tab that uses Viva Topics and AI to match employees’ questions with the answers already available.

Anyone with an old Yammer licence has access to the Viva Engage application, as well as the community and conversation functions. This includes all Microsoft 365 customers. Other premium features, such as Leadership Corner, and Answers in Viva, are part of subscriptions to the Microsoft Viva suite.

viva engage
Source : Microsoft

Viva Engage: Benefits and challenges

Benefits of Viva Engage

  • Effortless Collaboration: Viva Engage effortlessly connects you with the right colleagues, eliminating the need to figure out who or where they are, and enhancing sharing and teamwork.
  • Streamlined Efficiency: Instead of querying multiple colleagues, you can directly tap into the expertise of a relevant community.
  • Deepening Connections: The platform fosters enriched professional bonds, leading to more intuitive and effective teamwork.
  • Information Hub: It offers a space for sharing updates, resources, and project insights, promoting shared knowledge.
  • Decluttered Communication: Viva Engage transitions communications from crowded email inboxes to a more organized stream.

Drawbacks of Viva Engage

  • Content Oversight: While the liberty to publish is advantageous, managing the content can become challenging. Even with a governing policy, it’s crucial to monitor posts after they go live.
  • Adoption Challenges: Since Viva Engage is a relatively new product, its uptake in the business world is not yet widespread. This can pose challenges in finding employees familiar with and actively using the platform.
  • Tool Saturation: Adding another tool can lead to information fragmentation. Clear guidance is essential for employees regarding when and how to use Viva Engage to prevent overlap and confusion with other applications. For companies with a workforce under 200, alternative communication tools might be more fitting than Viva Engage.

To find out more about the Viva Suite and other Microsoft collaboration applications, contact our experts!

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