October 5, 2023

What We’ve Learnt From Our Microsoft Viva Rollout


Darion Mannie, Collaboration Consultant in Digital


With our growing team and a hybrid working style, we recently decided to roll out Viva Engage and Viva Connections, two apps under Microsoft’s Viva suite. We called it, ThetaVerse.

If you're unfamiliar with what the Viva suite is, check out our previous article here.

Viva Engage is akin to a social media platform for organisations (its predecessor was Yammer). Viva Connections is essentially a personalised dashboard that pulls in the most important info for your employees to see (staff guides, newsletters, events, etc.). Both are designed to make it easier for your team to see, share and collaborate.

We’re still in the early phase of our adoption, but we’ve already learnt a few lessons we think you’ll benefit from if you’re considering implementing it in your business.

1. Culture-wise, it’s a big change

As with all new systems, apps and technologies, a big hurdle is evolving the existing ways of doing things. We wanted to implement Viva in a way that aligned with what our people were already familiar with whilst encouraging them to use these new apps. The apps needed to make lives easier, not more frustrating.

Our advice:

A thorough understanding of your organisation’s current communication and interaction methods is critical to driving a successful adoption. For us, focus groups with individual areas of the business were an excellent way to identify areas of opportunity and shape how our Viva should function. We included people from recruitment, marketing, practice areas, management, etc. The outcome was a comprehensive list of requirements, priorities and wishlist items for the Viva set-up. We asked questions like:

  • How do you currently share information?
  • Where do you store documentation and help guides?
  • What element or module will help that specific department, e.g. HR?  

2. Change management – how to get everyone on board

Implementing the Viva apps and technology was straightforward. The challenge was getting people to use them. Naturally, it took some guidance and encouragement to teach and remind people how to use the new features. With consistent messaging and support (we took a campaign-style approach to its rollout), we quickly saw a good uptake. Seeing a new side of social engagement with the teams was also fantastic.

Our advice:

Make it fun!

In the lead-up to Viva’s release, we created ‘rocket launch’ videos that showcased what our people could expect from Viva. We also ran competitions, like asking users to locate a hidden item in the Viva suite. These activities helped us make the rollout more fun and engaging across the company and encouraged people to explore what it was all about.

We also had a couple of “Viva heroes” who did a great job maintaining the momentum and enthusiasm around Viva. In a busy environment, it’s crucial to have these people cutting through the noise.

3. Time is a huge asset – we can’t confine a culture change project to a set date

Improving Viva and encouraging its use is a continuous process. Our ultimate goal is for people to know Viva like the back of their hand.

Our advice:

Give yourself a little more time than you may think. Projects with culture change must be adapted as you go, and it’s often a bit of trial and error to get the best results. This more agile approach ensures continued, iterative success. We’ve taken a long-game approach to our Viva, knowing we can keep evolving it as the business evolves.

As you can see, implementing Viva is less about tech and more about your people. We hope this has given you some insight into what you might expect if you were to do the same. Of course, if you need some help along the way, you know where to find us. Our Discovery Workshop is a great place to start. You can also check out our free guide for more information on the Viva suite.

Interested in starting your Viva rollout?