Microsoft has revealed several new features for its Viva Engage platform designed for leaders, communicators and knowledge sharing in the hybrid workplace.
The tech giant announced at Inspire 2022 that Viva Engage would be integrated into the Teams and Microsoft 365 platforms to replace Yammer.
Viva Engage allows employees to create and join communities within their organisation, discover and follow topics, and gain access to content from across Microsoft 365.
The latest features added to the Viva Engage platform include ‘the leadership corner’, storyline announcements, ‘ask-me-anything’ events, advanced analytics, and more.
The End of Yammer
Microsoft has confirmed that it will be retiring the Yammer brand over the course of 2023, with the remaining Yammer experiences being rebranded to reflect Viva Engage branding to align with Microsoft Viva.
Yammer has been Microsoft’s social platform for the company’s productivity cloud for over ten years; however, the tech giant feels that community engagement is becoming increasingly important in the evolving world of work.
Essentially, Yammer will continue as Viva Engage, with the next step of the retirement process beginning next month with the rebranding of the Communities app for Outlook and Yammer mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Microsoft has stated that the rebranding will not change the current capabilities, value, or pricing of Yammer for existing Microsoft 365 customers or M365 SKUs.
The tech giant has said it will continue to enhance the Viva Engage experience with new capabilities to boost leadership engagement, authentic expression, events, and knowledge discovery, all of which aim to improve the hybrid working environment.
Microsoft states that Leadership Corner allows leaders to connect with their employees, showcase employee resource groups, and foster workplace culture by using discussions, storyline posts, events, and more.
Through Viva Engage, employees can see the leaders they are connected to within their organisation, meaning that leaders and their delegates can promote, aggregate, and launch initiatives from a single place.
Microsoft is also adding a new selection of intuitive dashboards to track metrics and employee sentiment to help leadership teams guide discussions with their employees.
A feature of Leadership Corner sees the introduction of a new event style in Viva Engage called Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) events.
AMA events are designed to drive engagement further and modernise the standard town hall experience.
It does this through upvoting, Q&A, and engaging discussion features with GIFs and images.
Microsoft says that long-running AMAs work well for leaders with globally distributed teams so that everyone has an equal opportunity to ask questions, upvote others’ questions, and get responses from their leaders.
AMAs can also provide moderation controls so leaders can hear what matters to employees, answer questions, and ensure their staff have the latest information when needed.
Microsoft has made it possible for leaders and corporate communicators to create campaigns as a way of driving key initiatives that support business goals and objectives.
The campaigns are automatically pulled into Leadership Corner and include a dedicated campaign page, a visual Goal Tracker to measure progress, and the ability to showcase key sponsors and recognise top contributors.
Answers in Viva
Answers in Microsoft Viva is being rolled out to Viva suite customers and Viva Topics customers as a new tab in Viva Engage.
According to Microsft, Answers utilises Viva Topics and rich AI to surface and match employee questions to answers and experts as a way of bringing collective knowledge to work for everyone.
Answers will surface similar questions that have been answered beforehand, recommend topics and experts, highlight top solutions, and prompt and reward people for contributing answers to the knowledge base.
As a way of better understanding engagement within Viva Engage, Microsoft has added Advanced Analytics to drill down into a variety of dashboards.
Users can access dedicated metrics for personal analytics, audience analytics, campaign analytics, and global answers.
Date ranges can be customised to allow users to determine reach and engagement over time to provide a deeper look into what is happening within Viva Engage.
Microsoft has confirmed that all metrics are aggregated, de-identified for privacy, and will be on by default; however, the feature can be toggled off by a Global Admin.