Transforming organisations with Viva

“In 2022, a crack community unit was sent to Microsoft for some contracts that they couldn’t commit. These people promptly got together, not escaping from Teams, to explore the world of Microsoft Viva. Today, still wanted by the community they serve, they survive as collaborators of fortune. If you have an employee experience problem, if no-one else can help and, wherever you can find them…maybe you can hear from the Viva Explorers.”

Thanks to the great mind of Lesley Crook (and with apologies to the A-Team), a group of community minded people has come together to help you understand the world of Microsoft Viva. You can read the tale on the Tech Community blog but this post is about the part that I play - the Viva Transformer.

Transformation is such a key part of any journey to new ideas and employee experience with Microsoft Viva is no different. Turning on the technology is only part of the story and in this post, I will talk about some of the high level areas to consider when helping to transform the organisation with adoption and change management. In my current role as head of practice for modern workplace at CPS, we always include change and adoption plans so that we know that things will be of benefit and understood by staff. So what do you need for rolling out Viva at your organisation?

Start with Why

So you’ve decided that you are rolling out Viva. Great, good plan. Except you might have missed something. Have you worked out why? Not only that but have you backed up that reason by speaking with staff? Can you align the different areas within Viva specific challenges that have been raised by employees? This is where you need to start.

If you already have an annual staff survey or are taking pulse surveys with a tool like Glint. You may already have some insight into the challenges being faced. You may have a very vocal employee forum or be taking feedback from regular town halls. Make sure that this feedback is broad and caters for the introverts and quieter personalities in your organisation as well as the louder voices that often emerge. Take some of the key points and make sure that you drill a little deeper to make sure that you are getting to the right root of the problem.

One way to consider these is to construct these into areas around the employee lifecycle. The lifecycle starts as soon as someone starts looking at a company, moves through hiring and the all important onboarding. It considers how you engage people with the organisation and each other, putting in place all that people need to perform and allow them to grow within the organisation. Finally, there will always be a point where people depart and considers how you ensure a good farewell that leaves a lasting impression to pass on to others or to encourage a return one day.

Employee Lifecycle

What do you implement?

When it comes to implementations for the Employee Experience, much depends on what you are implementing. The Viva Explorers will be sharing plenty on how to implement Viva with the technical details so in this post I’m going to consider more what you need to transform. If you are have followed the whys above, you have a great backlog of items but what do you do first? What is the priority?

To establish these, the first thing to set up is an Employee Experience Working Group. These will have a group of key stakeholders that can drive change from the top along with key implementers which can make that change happen. There are many ways to implement these that I will go into in future blog posts but some of the key elements are:

• Transparent views for the whole organisation around what is being done
• Mechanisms for feedback to be taken and addressed
• Agreement on how priorities are determined
• Clear guidance on current priorities

There will often be a lot of different areas that need addressing at once but either not enough budget or not enough time to address all at once. Clearly tracking and agreeing the priorities helps employees understand what is coming and can also help to manage the amount of change in one go. It provides a consistent message to employees and helps deliver to completion.

How do you know you have succeeded?

Implementing initiatives to improve the employee experience is great but only if they succeed in improving the experience. Having clear criteria for success and KPIs to measure how close to that enables clear and transparent goals that all can see. These will keep all involved but also help to keep the organisation focused on delivering those, the great news is that Viva has ways to help you with this.

Through Viva Insights, you can look at evidence based measures to support your initiatives. Looking to reduce burnout for staff? Look at hours spent outside of core hours or percentage of back to back meetings. Looking to increase cross departmental engagement to support innovation? Measure the connections taking place in Teams and Outlook through meetings, calls, chats and emails. Don’t like the pre-canned reports? No problems, build your own. Want to integrate absence data? No problems, build out reports with Power BI.

Viva Insights gives your leaders and managers the support needed to understand their employees and what is influencing them. It also supports those insights with recommendations on what can be done to improve that as well with links to key reports and more articles in the inspiration library.

It’s not just insights though, there is also Ally.IO (which will hopefully have a Viva name soon!) that helps to give data driven objectives for OKRs (Objective Key Results). These help people understand their purpose for the organisation as it aligns objectives from top to bottom but it also supports them with real data. It allows people to hook their Key Results as metrics with databases and tables providing the actual data to support the OKRs and the continuous feedback reviews.


There is so much more to talk about with transforming the employee experience with Viva and I’m looking forward to being able to share that with you as part of the Viva Explorers. Between us, we cover so many different perspectives, from the technical to the cultural, the why you should to the what you should to the how you could. We will be sharing but also listening to your journeys and helping to feedback to Microsoft along the way. Why do I do this? I want this focus on employees at the centre to benefit as organisations as possible and therefore help as many people as possible. Making change happen the right way is what makes transformations happen and stick which is where the true magic happen. Look out for more coming from the Viva Explorers soon...

Photo by Martin Zdrazil on Unsplash