At Ignite 2021, Microsoft announced the first employee experience platform (EXP) that brings resources, communications, knowledge, insights, and learning together into an integrated experience that empowers its users and teams to the best that they can be from any location. The first EXP is Microsoft Viva which currently consists of four modules:
In our first article, Microsoft Viva Part 1: Viva Connections, we took a look at how and why Viva Connections is important to the wellbeing of individuals of an organization. Today, with Viva Insights, we will take another step forward by supporting employees with their well-being and how Viva Insights helps to accomplish this goal.
Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the swiftness of ensuing changes in work processes, organizations had to quickly pivot in their operations with great consideration for retaining collaboration, communication, and privacy with individuals, teams, managers, and leaders. Organizations have had to change from having employees on-site full or part-time and employees who are working remotely full or part-time, or a combination of both. This hybrid work environment has tested the ability of individuals, teams, and leaders to value, protect, and maintain their boundaries for a work-life balance, which was much more easily achieved when we physically moved between spaces. With the hybrid environment, it is not easy to switch off and unplug. Employees and teams are reachable throughout the day, evening, and weekends, giving little time for rest, relaxation, and enjoyment of life. By not switching off and unplugging, the health of the employee can change for the worse, which affects morale, productivity, and the ability to contribute to the organization. Burnout, anxiety, low engagement, deteriorating mental health, and overall malaise are the results of a work-life imbalance.
In 2020, Microsoft recognized this and integrated personal experiences such as virtual commute and Headspace to help people stay in a routine and provided a toolkit to learn to manage stress. This was the beginning of Viva Insights for individuals. Viva Insights for individuals is accessible through Microsoft Teams, and these insights will help your people stay connected with their colleagues. It will help them protect their time whether it is for breaks, focused work, or dedicated learning.
Viva Insights provides individuals, managers, and leaders, privacy-protected, actionable, and personalized insights from Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics. This data can be used to help individuals and teams proactively manage their time to support their wellbeing, thereby, preventing high stress and burnout.
Managers have a responsibility of ensuring their teams are productive and team members are not overburdened with immense workloads, causing burnout. With Viva Insights, managers are provided with privacy-protected and data-driven insights along with actionable recommendations to support and cultivate healthy, successful teams.
For company leaders, Viva Insights provides a greater overview of the health and wellbeing of their organization by providing an organizational network analysis which shows the cohesion and connectiveness between and across teams in the organization. From this, opportunities to foster wellbeing will emerge, including space planning to encourage connectiveness in our hybrid work environment. For company leaders, complex challenges and responses to these will become clearer as Viva Insights will provide organizational work patterns and trends.
Organizational insights become even more powerful and revealing when partnered with content providers like LinkedIn Glint. For example, integrating Viva Insights with LinkedIn Glint will, through employee survey data, map how people work and how they feel.
With Viva Insights, privacy and security are of the utmost importance to individuals. Only individuals will have access to their insights while managers and leaders will receive de-identified and aggregated insights. This is set by default and follows differential privacy.
The Viva Insights app in Teams is already available and can be installed. These insights are now being delivered in Teams to individuals, managers, and leaders. Microsoft Exchange Online users have a public preview of personal insights. For managers and leaders, insights are available for licensed Workplace Analytic customers in public preview.
Over the next few months, Viva Insights will see additional experiences added, including Headspace for meditation and mindfulness as well as integration with Viva Learning.
1. Personal Insights: Announced at Ignite 2021, Viva Insights is available in Teams as a public preview for Microsoft 365 users with Exchange online and features an initial set of wellbeing experiences and personal insights.
Individuals can seamlessly stay connected by prioritizing one on one meetings and staying on top of requests that are received across emails, chats, and shared documents. Managing and prioritizing these from one place will be important as virtual communication continues to grow as the primary form of communicating.
Just as important as answering these requests, is focussing on work that can be done without interruption. The protect time experience does just that for the individual. Individual insights are completely private and are derived from meetings, calls, emails, and chats that the individual already has access to.
As part of the wellbeing insight, additional wellbeing experiences will be added, including the virtual commute which will help individuals mindfully wrap up their day, Headspace for meditation and mindfulness, and check-ins that will prompt individuals to pause and reflect upon their day.
Employees contribute to their organizations in many ways and nothing goes further than the acknowledgment of their work. With personal insights, actionable insights in Teams will allow employees to protect time for learning from courses that are recommended by LinkedIn Learning. By investing in the organization’s employees, they will keep their skills and knowledge current and will increase their retention.
A feature that is already generally available, Cortana can provide a daily Briefing email (in English) to people so they can begin their day with key prompts and insights. These include meetings to prepare for, opportunities to connect, and commitments to follow up on. This flow of everyday work is available through Microsoft Outlook.
Later this year, the daily Briefing email will have new cards which will allow people to prepare for the week ahead. With one-week overviews, individuals will be able to protect time for important activities such as unlocking courses from LinkedIn Learning and learning in protected time blocks.
2. Managers: Managers have always had the role of being the key person for employees to turn to for support and connectivity. With the hybrid work environment that is being experienced globally, this role is more important than ever as they now have the responsibility to ensure their people are engaged with positive experiences while providing support for good morale.
More importantly, Managers will receive insights that will help them detect work patterns that will lead to stress and burnout whether caused by overloading of meetings and work, minimal focus time for their work, and working extra outside of their normal working hours to complete tasks to meet deadlines. Over time, these insights will provide Managers the ability to create team action plans at the individual level, including recommendations for best practices to prioritize, boost productivity, and ensure their wellbeing. As their team members implement these recommendations, Managers will be able to assess the progress of their team against the team goal over a period of time. Individuals can rest assured that their privacy is protected in every way through the use of de-identification, data aggregation, and minimum thresholds.
3. Leaders: From the individual up, Viva Insights in Microsoft Teams provides insights to the Leaders of the organization. Viva Insights is empowering Leaders to ensure that their organization and staff are prepared for their organization’s future. Critical strategic questions can be answered, plans can be created, and action plans actioned so their organization is resilient, agile, and organized, and with strong, positive employee engagement, individuals will feel the connectiveness of a shared purpose. Feeling aligned, employees will work and collaborate, pulling together to succeed.
From Viva Connections that simulates the connectiveness between colleagues, managers, and leaders to Viva Insights that underscores the health and wellness of individuals, Microsoft Viva is creating an exceptional EXP platform.
The privacy of individuals will be protected through security compliance and policies that are in place. Microsoft takes privacy seriously and takes extra steps to ensure this by applying and enforcing minimum thresholds, aggregated data, and de-identification.
Leaders, Managers, and Individuals will be contributing to their well-being as well as to their team and their organization. A healthy work environment will provide healthy team members, a strong team, and an energetic, successful, and positive organization.
In Part 3 of our Microsoft Viva series, we will look at how Viva Learning supports the wellbeing of the people, how it helps an organization grow, and how it keeps an organization agile so it remains at the forefront of its industry sector.