Published March 2023

Viva Engage is here! Everything you need to get up-to-speed and start your first campaign.

Have you heard the engagement news?

No, your invitation isn’t lost in the post… I’m talking about the recent announcement of Yammer’s engagement to Viva Engage, on Feb 14th. That’s correct – Yammer, is now Viva Engage. Why, you ask? The decision to rebrand to Viva Engage reflects Yammer’s evolution from a standalone social networking tool to an integral part of the broader Microsoft Viva suite.

The engagement hasn’t come as a huge shock to us, we’ve been watching this space for quite some time. Last year, Jack Hendy shared his take on Yammer & Viva Engage. As Jack relays, Microsoft began this courtship back in 2021, when Viva Engage (née Yammer) became a part of the Teams app. The core ethos then, and now, remains. Microsoft knows that connection in the workplace is important, and Viva Engage is the place to connect your people and bring them together – virtually.

If you’re looking to learn more about the engagement, the new features coming in 2023, and how you can make the most out of the rebrand with your own organisation, whether you’re using Viva Engage or not – you’ve come to the right place.

What’s new to Viva Engage in 2023

Let’s get the formalities out of the way. If you’re a current Yammer/Viva Engage customer, you can expect to keep all the things you love. Your Home feed, Communities, Announcements, Conversations, Storyline, Q&A and Virtual Events will remain available for all in Viva Engage.

If you are a licenced Viva Suite or Viva Topics customer, Microsoft has announced a range of new features coming to Viva Engage so let’s talk through them.

Leadership Corner: This helps leaders and employees communicate better. It’s like a personal space that’s tailored for each employee, based on the groups they’re part of and the leaders they’re interested in. This feature makes it easier for leaders and employees to connect and engage with each other.

Ask Me Anything (AMA’s) events: AMA’s allow employees and leaders to connect and have discussions. These events are moderated to ensure that questions and answers remain respectful and productive. They provide a modern take on traditional townhall meetings.

Advanced Analytics: These give you a deeper understanding of engagement and trends happening across Viva Engage with views for My Analytics, Org Analytics, My Answers, and Global Answers.

Answers in Viva: Automatically organise content and expertise across your organisation, making it easy for people to find information and put knowledge to work with this community-based Q&A experience.

…I’ve saved the best for last.

Social Campaigns: Designed to foster employee participation in initiatives that align with organisational goals and objectives. These campaigns are centred around a specific hashtag and provide an engaging platform for employees to express their thoughts and ideas. Each campaign has a dedicated landing page with a cover photo, progress tracker, and information about contributors. The campaign feed aggregates conversations across storylines and communities, while analytics tools allow campaign owners to measure reach and engagement.

Viva Engage

When can we expect to see changes?

Throughout the first half of this year, all of Yammer will evolve to become Viva Engage, and the Yammer brand will retire. You’ll notice changes from April, with updates to the Communities app for Outlook and Yammer mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Beyond April, the yammer.com web experience will become Viva Engage, with a few UX/UI enhancements expected.

The importance of belonging at work

Let’s take a sidestep for a moment. It can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of new features and engagement details, but you might be thinking… Does my organisation need this? And that’s a great question to ask.

The truth is, a sense of belonging and connection at work is meaningful for many. We have spent the better part of 3 years adapting and carving out new ways of working that are no longer one-size-fits-all, and we are striving to deepen our connections with our colleagues and workplaces now more than ever. The numbers speak for themselves, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index (2022) found that from a sample of 20,000+ full-time workers, roughly half surveyed (51%) feel their relationships outside their immediate work group have weakened, and that they feel disconnected from their company (43%).

When we create space for authentic connection at work, we flourish. As individuals, and organisations. Viva Engage connects employees and empowers everybody to contribute and express themselves at work. It introduces an opportunity to bridge to the gap, and bring all people together across the organisation, from front line workers to corporate workers, and everyone in-between.

How Viva Engage can help you create connection in your organisation

There are many ways Viva Engage can create connection including:

  • Break down barriers: Create open lines of communication, reaching out to everyone from any device at any time.
  • Celebrate success: Provide a place to publicly acknowledge the achievements of your people and the work they are doing.
  • Crowdsource: Quickly find an answer by asking a question that reaches everyone or showcase your expertise by answering them.
  • Learn from others: Understand how they tackle challenges and take advantage of available professional development opportunities.
  • Connect your teams. Create a true sense of belonging by communicating, collaborating, and connecting over projects and initiatives.
  • Have fun: Create a safe and inviting space for frontline and remote workers to feel connected to the wider organisation.

Where to from here?

First things first, see where you land in the decision tree!

Decision tree outcome: Let’s re-launch

If you landed on let’s re-launch then embrace the rebrand! A rebrand is the perfect opportunity to re-launch Viva Engage across your organisation with a new campaign. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

Rally your teams: Adopting new ways of working requires buy in and support from across the business. If you don’t have a working group, establish one and identify:

  • Executive sponsors
  • Change managers
  • Champions
  • Department leads
  • IT specialists
  • Community managers

Complete a stocktake of your environment: Complete your audit, and clean-up any unused communities. With an existing base, you’ll have good insight into what works, and what doesn’t with your audience.

Define objectives and vision: What will successful adoption and engagement look like you, your working group, your people, and your organisation? Are these goals aligned?

Need a hand? We can help you to conduct a review of your current state, discover where you want to be, and help to fill in the gaps with an Enterprise Social Network strategy and Change strategy to drive adoption of Viva Engage.

Decision tree outcome: Explore your options!

If you don’t currently have an Enterprise Social Network, or are looking to review your options, I encourage you to think about it if you are look to:

  • Strengthen employee relationships by connecting with leaders and team members?
  • Build communities that support diversity, shared interests, and business initiatives?
  • Give employees a voice and empower leaders to listen, learn, and engage everyone?
  • Create a space for your people to share unique stories, experiences, and find belonging at work…?

Chat to us about using Viva Engage as a part of your existing Microsoft 365 package and explore introducing this to your organisation for the first time. We can help you to discover what’s possible and develop an Enterprise Service Network strategy to define a vision for your organisation.

About the author

Caitlyn Hoare is a certified change and adoption consultant at Engage Squared, with several years’ experience working in communications and change management in the tech space. Caitlyn is passionate about keeping people at the heart of technology. When she isn’t sharing photos of her plants in the Plants of Engage Squared  Viva Engage community, she’s cycling long distances and drinking strong coffee.