In the last couple of years, we have seen a shift in the way we work. Hybrid working is now a reality and organisations are looking for ways to engage employees that are not permanently office based. Through the pandemic tools like 'Microsoft Teams' became vital in enabling us to communicate when we are not in the office together. Now we have 'Microsoft Viva Engage', an app you can add in your Microsoft Teams to connect with wider audiences across your organisation.
What is Viva Engage?
Viva Engage is part of the Microsoft Viva Employee Experience Platform which offers us the opportunity to:
- Connect with company leaders and colleagues.
- Build and join communities.
- Connect conversations, communities, events, and open sharing with colleagues across the organisation.
- Answers to questions.
- Share your unique stories and interests.
- Share knowledge and best practice.
- Share content and interests.
With hybrid working on the increase Viva Engage is giving us an opportunity to connect whether working remotely or in different office locations, it is bringing a way for us to find belonging at work.
If you have been using the Microsoft Teams Community app you may have noticed it recently changed to Viva Engage and has been enhanced with some extra features.
It sounds like Yammer!
Viva Engage is built on top of Yammer and enhances it with new functionality and capabilities. Yammer is integrated with other Microsoft Viva apps like Viva Connections and Viva Topics.
If you are thinking right now that it is another communication channel, why not just use Teams!? Consider how you communicate outside of work; you might use an app for chat and another for your social media communication. Unlike the apps you are using outside of work, Microsoft Teams integrates Viva Engage, so they do not need to be separated, with the Viva Engage app in Microsoft Teams we do not need to leave for another app. It also brings us functionality and capabilities we would not get through teams and channels.
Microsoft have also announced that in the upcoming year Yammer will undergo a rebranding to Viva Engage to better align with Microsoft Viva, becoming an integral part of the Microsoft Employee Experience Platform. This transformation will unify Viva Engage across various platforms, including web, mobile, Teams, Outlook, and more.
It's important to note that this rebranding will not affect the existing capabilities, value, or pricing of Yammer for current Microsoft 365 customers and/or M365 SKUs. All the features you currently appreciate with your existing M365 license will remain accessible, but under the new name, Viva Engage.
Why use Viva Engage?
Today working with your colleagues does not always mean you are in the same room, you might be at home, another office, even a different country. The new ways of working we are experiencing come with many benefits but there is also the downside of colleagues feeling isolated or disconnected. Sure, there are tools like Microsoft Teams we can use to communicate but Microsoft Viva Engage gives us a familiar way to connect, share, and socialise.
Outside of work you might use a social media platform to follow influencers, connect with friends and family, Viva Engage is similar. We can leverage the functionality and capabilities of a social platform in Viva Engage to connect with our colleagues, follow our organisations influencers, and share our experiences and knowledge in communities.
Microsoft Teams connects us directly with people we are working with, whereas Viva Engage and Yammer allow us to connect with people in the wider organisation. Like your social media app, you might follow your director to see sharing, connect with others in your organisation through interest groups to organise a lunchtime run, or ask a question to your Microsoft 365 Champions, and so much more.
If you have used Yammer, you will be familiar with many of the features in Viva Engage, but you will see a refreshed interface and some extra features including the Storyline and stories.
From mid-October 2022 'Storyline' and 'Stories' have been in general availability and give us some familiar and new ways of engaging others.
- Storyline allows you to share posts that include text, attachments, links, images, and videos.
- Stories give us the ability to engage our audience and share information through short videos or photos, like other social media platforms have been doing for a while.
In our busy days we do not always have time to read long posts from our colleagues and this is where Stories, can modernise our experience in Viva Engage. Imagine the time saved and people engaged by a short video or images, instead of those unread posts!
More capabilities have been announced for 2023 including Leadership Corner and Answers within Microsoft Viva.
Yammer has been around for a while and had a mixed reception. I have had mixed opinions on it over the years myself!
When I first encountered Yammer, it was new, the organisation at which I was working had launched Yammer but not really promoted or fully utilised it, so when I look at Yammer, I never saw any benefit for me and never used it. Fast forward several years and I had moved organisations and role, I had started my journey in becoming a Microsoft 365 consultant. I was rolling out SharePoint Online, when I looked at Yammer again, it was then that it clicked, this was an app I could use in supporting rollouts and communicating with different people across organisations. Since then, I have seen the importance of it as a way to engage people across an organisation and is often an app I would recommend, especially in supporting adoption and change management for your Microsoft 365 apps.
Having gone through this journey with Yammer, it never surprises me when I speak with different organisations, and they are not sure what to do with Yammer and have pushed it to one side. However, with more of us working remotely and the new Viva Engage app in Microsoft Teams, it is a good opportunity to look again and see where this could benefit your organisation.
With that said, there is some work to be done to do to ensure this valuable communication tool is adopted and utilised for success. The organisations I have seen succeed with Yammer and now Viva Engage have been those that plan adoption and change management across their Microsoft 365 apps. It is always rewarding to see our customers take apps like this a realise the benefits and change the way they work for the benefit of everyone in the organisation.
If you want to find out more about Microsoft Viva Engage, reach out and have a discussion with us on realising the benefits it may bring your organisation.
Get to know more about the suite of Microsoft Viva tools here.
Alternatively, you can find out more about Viva Engage and the other Viva apps on the Microsoft Viva page