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Microsoft Announces Viva Employee Experience Platform

Microsoft is rolling out an employee experience platform, called Viva, that integrates with Microsoft 365 and Teams, according to a statement from the company.

Viva brings tools for employee engagement, learning, well being and knowledge discovery directly into users’ workflow to help employees learn, grow and thrive, according to the statement. Microsoft is trying to take advantage of the shift to an increasingly distributed and digital work environment and the increasing emphasis on culture, employee engagement and well being. Analysts estimate the market for employee experience platforms at about $300 billion in annual spend. Today, the market is mostly fragmented with myriad services, infrastructure and hundreds of tools from different vendors that often go undiscovered and underutilized by employees.

Microsoft Viva Unifies Employee Experience in one Platform

Microsoft Viva’s initial set of modules are interoperable with existing employee experience systems and tools so the they are more accessible and discoverable to employees, Microsoft said. The solution is organized around four major areas: engagement, well being, learning and knowledge.

Viva Connections allows employees to access internal communications and company resources like policies and benefits and participate in communities like employee resource groups, all from a customizable app in Microsoft Teams. The Connections app for Teams will be available on desktop in public preview in the first half of 2021, with a mobile app coming later this year, according to the statement.

Viva Insights gives individuals, managers and leaders personalized and insights. Personal experiences and insights, visible only to the employee, help individuals protect time for regular breaks, focused work and learning, as well as strengthen relationships with their colleagues, according to the statement. Managers and leaders can see trends at the team and organization level, as well as get recommendations to better balance productivity and employee well being. Employee feedback can integrate with information from LinkedIn's Glint to more accurately identify where changes should be made, Microsoft said. Insights will also be able to incorporate data from third-party services like Zoom, Slack, Workday and SAP SuccessFactors, Microsoft said. The Viva Insights app in Teams and the new Glint and Viva Insights dashboard are now available in public preview.

Viva Learning makes training and professional development opportunities more discoverable and accessible by aggregating all available learning resources in one place, according to the statement. In addition to Microsoft's own Learn, content can be integrated from LinkedIn Learning and third-party providers including Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight and edX as well as an organization's own content library. The Viva Learning app is now available in private preview, and starting later this year, Viva Learning will offer integrations with leading learning management systems, including Cornerstone OnDemand, Saba and SAP SuccessFactors, according to the statement.

Viva Topics delivers a knowledge discovery experience that helps people connect to information and experts across their own company, according to the statement. Topics uses AI to discover data from Microsoft 365 and can integrate knowledge from a variety of third-party services such as ServiceNow and Salesforce to automatically surface topic cards within conversations and documents across Microsoft 365 and Teams. Viva Topics is now generally available as an add-on to Microsoft 365 commercial plans.

Viva Employee Experience Platform: Executive Insight

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft
Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft
Jared Spataro, Microsoft

"We have participated in the largest at-scale remote work experiment the world has seen, and it has had a dramatic impact on the employee experience," said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. "Every organization will require a unified employee experience from onboarding and collaboration to continuous learning and growth. Viva brings together everything an employee needs to be successful, from day one, in a single, integrated experience directly in Teams."

"As the world of work changes, the next horizon of innovation will come from a focus on creativity, engagement and well being so organizations can build cultures of resilience and ingenuity," said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president, Microsoft 365. "Our vision is to deliver a platform for the employee experience that helps organizations create a thriving culture with engaged employees and inspiring leaders."