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Published 28 November 2022

Everyone loves a great head-to-head, a clash of the titans, a dual, a derby, a victor. However, there won’t be any bad blood in this article as they’re far from enemies, Yammer and Viva Engage are cut from the same cloth, they’re on the same team. 

The rebranding of the former Microsoft Teams ‘communities’ app to Viva Engage and newest edition to the Microsoft Viva suite, has left some questioning Yammer’s relevance, confusion about which app to use and drawn speculation about both of their futures.

It’s such a hot topic that we recently ran a webinar together with our friends from SWOOP Analytics and Microsoft’s Viva Engage expert James Tyer, where we chatted in depth about the the differences between Viva Engage and Yammer and everything internal communicators, community managers and product owners need to know about the upcoming changes to the Yammer experience.

In this blog we summarise the key learnings from the webinar, share some of the key features of Viva Engage and review the core principles essential for Yammer and Viva Engage success.

So, what’s the difference between Yammer and Viva Engage? 

Viva Engage is Yammer’s younger Gen Z sibling. It comes from the same genes but has some new tricks. Viva Engage empowers the social layer of M365 by connecting and engaging leaders, colleagues, and communities, in the flow of your work, whether in Teams or on your mobile, so you can stay across everything you need in one place.

The core ethos of Yammer remains

There are some great new features coming with Viva Engage including stories, storylines, social campaign hashtags, leadership corner and answers hub. However, the core principles of Yammer and social enterprise networks are the same. Conversations still need to be authentic; it pays to be interested and inquisitive in content on the platform, be respectful and create a safe space for communities to connect and thrive.

A focus on social capital

Self-expression has always been championed and promoted on Yammer but with the introduction of features like stories, storylines and leadership corner, it offers people something that they’ve never really had before – their own space to share interesting and important personal updates and information about themselves allowing you to build a brand on Yammer and increase that social capital.

When people know more about who you are, they can get a better sense of your personality they are more likely to reach out and connect and the opportunities for better employee experiences increase exponentially – work, social, knowledge share, approachability. Building relationships at the heart of what Yammer has always been about.

Examples of using stories in the workplace include:

  • Work milestone updates, like promotions, certifications, and work anniversaries
  • Travel blog updates, for those who travel to different parts of the business or are in frontline roles
  • Event promotion and awareness
  • Quick short form training and how to content
  • Form or pulse check survey distribution

Opportunity to re-engage with your people

With this raft of updates and new features from Yammer and Viva Engage there is a key opportunity is to re-engage, re-assess, re-align the messaging around what a social enterprise network is for and why it should matter to your employees and teams. Whether you are using a non-Microsoft enterprise social network currently, if you aren’t using any form of enterprise social networks at all or simple those who want to revitalise your existing network. Remember to…

  • Re-define the why
  • Align the platform purpose with business scenarios
  • Ensure buy in from leaders

Top tips to remember for Yammer


  • Re-define the why for your network
  • Align the platform purpose to business scenarios
  • Ensure buy in from leaders
  • Success, failure or indifference is not your platform’s fault
  • Focus on relationships over just hard quantitative data
  • Support, promote and foster strong communities
  • Educate don’t dictate to your network
  • Listen to your people – identify existing initiatives and strong networks to leverage

About the author

Jack Hendy is a senior change and adoption consultant at Engage Squared. He has been helping people fall in love with technology for over six years in two hemispheres. He enjoys telling stories that change mindsets, playing golf and laughing raucously.