Microsoft

Viva Insights: Empower Hybrid Work Employee Experiences with Data-Driven Insights

Viva Insights Logo

Viva Insights

In the ever-changing landscape of work, having data-driven intelligence is paramount for individuals, managers, and leaders. Viva Insights takes signals from across M365, Exchange, and teams and uses them to identify trends. From those trends, MS applies a ton of workplace insights gleaned from academic and hands-on research to derive from that data meaningful suggestions that can help make employees more effective, engaged, and focused. Additional insights for managers and leaders help keep tabs on other measures of effective companies, as well as organization goals.

What is its place in the Viva suite?

Microsoft introduced their employee experience platform ‘Viva’ last year, a suite of apps meant to elevate the employee experience with key pillars in Connections, Topics, Learning, Goals & Insights. The ability to encourage behavior, and track progress towards goals over time is central to any employee experience platform. Viva Insights provides actionable intelligence to do so and accomplishes this through a streamlined teams app and a powerful data analytics platform.

Microsoft Viva Pillars

What business problems does it solve for leaders?

Employee Wellbeing and Engagement

Employee burnout is at all-time highs. The remote/hybrid working environment has made it more difficult than ever to escape the stressors associated with the workplace. After-hours meetings, too much external collaboration, and lack of focus time, among other factors, all contribute to employee burnout. Insights is tuned to look for signs of employee burnout, as well as encourage employees to take steps to prevent it. Using the Insights app to prioritize focus time, unwind after a stressful day with mindfulness activities, and utilize tools for disconnecting in the evening can have a meaningful impact on employee wellbeing.Viva Insights Screengrab

Operational Effectiveness

By leveraging teams, outlook, and M365 data, Insights provides a deeper look into the effectiveness of your teams. What types of activities drive after-hours work, how much control do people have over their own schedules, are people working on similar topics, but aren’t collaborating? Answering these questions can help uncover areas for change – all backed by real data. Tweaking policies or encouraging small behavioral changes can yield outsized benefits.

Accelerating and coordinating Change

With the wealth of deidentified behavioral data provided by Insights, organizations can start drilling deeper into what types of activities make a successful team. By combining Viva data with existing performance metrics, we can identify and encourage winning behaviors and map progress over time. By zooming in on who our most effective collaborators are, we can communicate changes more effectively and with less confusion. And by identifying which areas may be cut off from the rest, we can ensure that those changes are effective across the entire organization.

Common manager use cases

Visibility into work patterns

Are your employees overworked or overstressed? After-hours work or constant collaboration without focus time can lead to burnout or employee turnover. Managers are directly positioned to fix organization problems or encourage different strategies to mitigate these issues.Manager Insights

Team engagement and Useless meetings

By analyzing meeting data and collaboration data, managers are able to keep unengaged meetings to a minimum and ensure that their teams have sufficient time to go heads down and get work done. By monitoring quiet time, collaboration hours, and focus time managers are able to identify trends as they happen.

Proper 1:1 time

Managers are encouraged to set and maintain effective communication with their reports. By providing sufficient time for employees to engage with their managers, they become more effective and communication channels remain open.

Common Personal use cases

Actionable recommendations

There are many personal analytics that Viva Insights brings to the table. With Insights you can:

  • Prepare for your day using an AI-powered email briefing
  • Proactively schedule focus time
  • Wrap up your day and working on to-do’s for tomorrow
  • Practice mindfulness with guided exercises
  • Stay connected with important people in your network

These recommendations provide tools to not only work more effectively, but to get more out of the work you do and the life you live outside of work.

Praise

Insights encourages employees to send praise or shoutouts to colleagues. Expressing appreciation and sharing gratitude is a powerful way to stay connected and cultivate a culture of recognition.

Data Analysis and Queries

While Viva Insights provides dozens of research-backed plans as standard, you have the ability to tailor your reports to fit your exact needs. Using tools provided in Workplace Analytics, PowerBI, and R, you’re able to fine-tune queries to return data as you see fit.

  • Personal Queries – Data about people, how do they spend their time, how do groups compare to one another, how do they collaborate
  • Meeting Queries – Data about meetings: what are they about, who attends them, are people multitasking?
  • Workplace Analytics query builder – Allows end-users to put reports together with an intuitive point and click interface. Doesn’t require any advanced programming knowledge
  • Prebuilt PowerBI Templates – dozens of prebuilt templates – ready to go out of the box. These are a great starting point to realize value from Viva Insights on day one, but still allow tweaks to fit over time.
  • R Package Toolkit – 100+ functions built to analyze and visualize data from Insights

Data Sources:

  • Exchange Online email and calendar data
  • OneDrive and SharePoint Document activity
  • chat and call signals from Teams
  • Windows 10 application activity history — if both the organization’s IT administrator and an individual opt-in

How can you extend and customize?

  • Workplace analytics, PowerBI and R toolkit allow custom queries
  • Workplace analytics allows custom Plans to help visualize change over time

Privacy

Insights deals in the types of data that make privacy and security of the utmost importance and a non-negotiable portion of any Insights engagement. Viva gives us a Compliance and Privacy Framework to help navigate these concerns. By focusing on issues like Risk analysis, bias in the data, local laws, product privacy features, and more, we’re able to build a holistic view and governance model to ensure that an Insights rollout is performed effectively, safely, and legally.

Some important notes around data collection:

Insights does not give employees access to new personally identifiable information on other coworkers.

Insights data is processed and stored in the employee’s Exchange Online mailbox.

How to get started

Viva Insights workshop:

  • Typically 1-2 weeks
  • Helps plan and build common use cases
  • Ensures leadership buy-in
  • Develops privacy and governance frameworks
  • Pilots with a beta group

Ready to Reimagine Your Employee Experience?

Our dedicated Microsoft Modern Work practice brings the best expertise in the industry.  Our Microsoft Partner Advisory Council and Partner Program contributions along with our 20+ years of delivering employee experiences to our clients means we seek to build the best strategy for your organization. From Intelligent Intranet to Microsoft Teams to Microsoft Viva, our consultants are here to ensure your success.

Your intranet portal is the doorway to creating and evolving your employee experience. If your organization is considering Microsoft Viva and wants to understand how to prep for it, we’re here to help.

Contact our team to learn more.

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Steve Ottenad

Steve Ottenad is a Seattle-based Microsoft Practice Architect at Perficient. He focuses mainly on SharePoint, Teams, Viva, and Frontline Worker topics.

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