What is Microsoft Viva Engage?
Viva Engage is the latest feature from Microsoft that serves as a platform for people in an organization to connect and socialize. It looks and feels like Facebook in that it features a stories section that allows users to make posts and upload pictures, videos, and other content – but only that it’s in the Teams app.
According to the corporation, the new feature “is designed to help organizations build community, spark engagement with leadership, harness knowledge and answers and build personal networks.” The overarching idea is that leaders can communicate directly with employees and receive feedback, thus allowing workers to feel heard and included.
After its launch, Viva Engage will replace the Yammer Communities app for Teams. Microsoft however has said that Yammer isn’t going away and that it remains a crucial part of Microsoft 365. However, there are speculations that Viva Engage could eventually replace Yammer, especially due to its unique benefits.
Engage is the latest module from Microsoft Viva, launched in 2021, that also includes Viva Connections, Learning, Topics, and Insights.
Why is Microsoft introducing new engagement features?
Microsoft’s new feature is designed to solve a number of problems – particularly that of engagement in the workplace. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations were forced to adopt remote work to remain in business and maintain productivity. After the lockdown, many employees opted to work from home, making engagement harder than ever.
Now, employees across multiple roles and functions can connect and collaborate with co-workers via Viva Engage no matter when or where they work. It also provides tools for self-expression so workers can share their thoughts, ideas, and passions.
However, employee experience isn’t all that Viva Engage has to offer. The app brings together much of what employees need to excel at their jobs – sales, marketing, finance, or IT – so organizations can build a culture of resilience and ingenuity. So, it is commendable that Microsoft has put employee engagement at the heart of the digital workplace.
Viva Engage has sparked conversations about the relevance of the network. Some argue that there are already several social networks, and there is no need for another one. While it is true that there are several social media platforms, each network has its unique design and the unique interaction it attracts based on how it’s built.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, and the rest, Viva Engage is Microsoft’s answer to changes in trends as it sports features like videos, stories, emojis, and more. Sure, you can post your personal stuff into Teams, but Microsoft is introducing Engage, especially for employees’ home life, family, sports, and other activities, while Teams retain its collaboration purpose.
Will Viva Engage replace my intranet?
There are some assumptions that the launch of Viva Engage could eliminate the need for a complete intranet solution. But this is not true, as Engage was not designed to replace your intranet. The simple reason is that they perform completely different functions.
Viva Engage takes its design cue from Facebook and has nearly every feature on the app. Still, it does not replace the corporate intranet, especially since employee engagement should go beyond a “social network.” It should also include a virtual coffee break, kudos, advocacy, etc. – all of which a complete intranet solution like Powell Intranet offers.
Also, keep in mind that intranets serve a wide range of functions, including internal communication, content publishing, dialogue, engagement, collaboration, HR, document storage, search and findability, learning, access to digital workplace tools, communities of practice, knowledge management and more. This explains why modern intranets have remained the pillar in digital workplaces for more than 25 years.
So while Viva Engage has its advantages, ditching your intranet is a step in the wrong direction because you will miss the benefits of a modern intranet like Powell Intranet.
Want to dive deeper into the topic of Microsoft Viva and the SharePoint intranet?
What is Powell Intranet, and what are its capabilities?
At Powell Software, we develop digital workplace solutions that improve the employee experience, helping companies write their own “future of work” by leveraging the talent of their entire workforce. With Powell Intranet, the award-winning, customizable, and inclusive intranet solution, you can supercharge your Microsoft 365 SharePoint digital workplace for an exceptional employee experience.
Below are some employee engagement techniques Powell Intranet offers:
- Kudos: Many employees feel under-appreciated, which negatively impacts their productivity. Powell Intranet lets you show appreciation by sharing kudos to boost staff morale.
- Coffee machine: Remote workers love this feature because it brings the in-person coffee chat online by letting employees set up a coffee machine chat at an agreed time through Microsoft Teams.
- Water Fountain: This functionality provides a list of interesting topics to all company employees. During your virtual coffee break, you can pick a topic or let the Water Fountain suggest one for you and get people talking.
- Employee Advocacy/Share on social media: A company’s best brand advocates are its employees. This functionality lets you create an advocacy program to give people a sense of belonging in pushing brand awareness to new heights.
- Ideation: Multiple voices can lead to new ideas. With the ideation feature, employees have a platform to brainstorm, share ideas and be creative.
- Gamification: Powell Intranet offers many gamification features, like awarding badges and spots on a leadership board for employee participation.
- Communities Template/Yammer discussion: Sometimes, it’s easier to promote engagement by letting employees gather around a common subject instead of the entire team. Powell Intranet enables you to build such communities.
Microsoft Viva Engage combines collaboration and productivity to make Teams an all-in-one hub for businesses that want to stay in touch with their teams. However, users will need a modern intranet like Powell Intranet to maximize employee engagement.