The corona pandemic has permanently changed working life for many people. In offices in particular, conversation and networking options – as we used to know them from the past – have been lost. Microsoft recognized this problem and developed an app for Microsoft teams, Viva Engage, to increase the sense of belonging again. In this post, you will learn how Microsoft Viva Engage helps companies increase employee retention.
Die employee retention Companies have been busy not only since Corona came into existence and as a result more people than ever before have been working from home. As a result of the pandemic, something has changed permanently in many companies: the offices and parking lots are emptier, there is no small talk in the kitchenette, nor is there a chance to meet colleagues on the way to the meeting room. Integrating new employees into the team and into the entire company has become much more difficult on the virtual path. Managers often only see their employees in virtual meetings with a focus on technical topics. In the home office, there is no need to go to the coffee machine together. We rarely take the time, before or after a virtual meeting, to talk to other participants about topics that are not related to the content of the meeting. And if you met colleagues from other areas of the company at least occasionally in the hallway before the pandemic, these chance meetings are now gone and there are therefore no opportunities to exchange ideas.
As a result, employees are deprived of a lot of room for discussion, networking within the company is lost, as is cooperation in a team or project. Among other things, this can result in: loss of information occursthe sense of belonging turns into loneliness, well-being sinks and the connection to the company dwindles or is lost altogether.
Against this background, what can companies do in terms of employee retention?
Viva Engage as part of the Microsoft Viva Suite
Microsoft is attempting to provide an answer to this question with Viva Engage as part of the Viva Suite. The app for Microsoft teams should make it possible to set up a company network or to maintain the already established network from the home office. In this network, we can exchange views on various topics with other employees and also with supervisors, right through to top management. A big advantage is that no scheduled virtual jour fixes, coffee breaks or the like are necessary. Viva Engage gives the workforce the opportunity to get in touch with each other at any time – completely independent of the time availability. Employees can connect with each other and network in so-called communities. Communities are groups in which interests, fields of activity and much more can be exchanged virtually. You can also search for other communities or set them up yourself.
In private life and the social media channels used there, it is already a matter of course for many to follow other people and read their posts. With the own profile in Viva Engage users have an overview of their own posts in all communities and their own followers as well as the people they follow themselves.
This profile gives employees the opportunity to express their own personality, opinion and interests in the form of contributions both within and outside of communities. The personal profile also makes it possible to follow other people and topics that concern these people.
Employee retention with Viva (Engage) within teams
Viva Engage is available as part of the Viva Suite within Teams, both as an app and as a tab in the Teams channels. This means that users do not have to leave the teams user interface. The everyday work of many employees already takes place in teams and Viva Engage avoids unnecessary media breaks in teams.
Viva Engage can also be integrated into Teams as a tab in a single team’s channels. It can both Added communities as well as topics as a tab become. The latter is interesting when a topic is discussed in several communities, which means that not all communities have to be integrated individually in a teams channel as a tab.
Old wine in new bottles?
But wait a minute: don’t we already know that from Yammer? Did Microsoft just change the name of the Teams app from Communities to Viva Engage? So far this impression may have been created. However, a second look at the tabs in Viva Engage reveals a major innovation: in addition to the start page and the communities, there is the personal storyline embedded.
The storyline enables what was previously impossible: posts can now be published outside of communities and authors no longer have to assign their posts by topic. That’s how the storyline creates one own personal space – like a blog. This is particularly valuable for new topics for which there may not yet be a community.
Furthermore, users can publish a contribution on their storyline and thus draw attention to existing communities and topics. This supports the sharing of knowledge and information and brings people together. Through the storyline, employees can learn about contributions from colleagues who may also be of interest to them. By following these people, they become automatically provide valuable information. In addition to this information, they discover people and experts in the company with whom they can identify and from whose knowledge they can benefit.
This networking in the company and the sharing of thoughts, ideas, topic-related content and other information can take place in Viva Engage across all hierarchical levels. The management also has the opportunity to reach the workforce. In this way, top management in particular can become “tangible” for employees in all organizational units and hierarchical levels.
It is also practical that followers can be automatically notified of new posts on their personal storyline and share these posts on their own storyline. This in turn increases the range and the personal network is expanded. This creates the basis for cooperation on specific topics, innovations for companies and the identification of employees with the company and the Increased employee retention.
Interpersonal relationships and the exchange within the framework of networks in the company are essential components of employee loyalty. In times of home office and remote work, however, this is becoming increasingly difficult. Viva Engage is a straightforward tool for companies and their workforce. With the tool, employees can also be part of the corporate network in a virtual way, get to know people, get in touch and stay in touch, share knowledge, discover similarities and have the feeling of belonging to a community, a company, even when working from home.
As a collaboration consultant, Birgit Wegmann advises customers on questions relating to collaboration solutions with Microsoft 365. Her focus is on the requirements assessment, conception and implementation of intranets and customer-specific specialist applications based on SharePoint Online, collaboration solutions with other M365 services such as OneDrive, Workflows with Nintex and Power Automate as well as teams training for power users and end users