Creating a people-powered workplace with Microsoft Viva
With over 400 brands under their name, Unilever found many of their products to be in high demand during the pandemic. With the increased demand bringing about a heavier workload, the attention turned to the wellbeing of their employees, as Hesham Ahmed, Director of People Analytics and Employee Insights, Unilever, explained, “When the pandemic hit, we were concerned that employees were trying to manage their lives and work at the same time.”
To help employees improve their work-life balance, and to better understand the pressures within the organisation, Unilever deployed Microsoft Viva in conjunction with employee surveys to better understand employee wellbeing and improve resilience and work prioritisation, revealed Ahmed.
The survey results also allowed Unilever to better understand specific behaviours that can be replicated throughout the organisation.
Nicky Clement, Vice President HR, Organisation and People, Unilever, highlighted, “We found that those who had a specific break in time – turned off, switched off and did something else – they felt much happier about their wellbeing than those people who were always on.”
Microsoft Viva Insights, one of the modules within Viva, is also helping Unilever employees identify potential periods of focus time by informing them of upcoming busy periods.
Clement continued, “Giving yourself personal time back is absolutely critical. Our leaders really believe in this and take on this challenge to propagate this insight through the whole organisation. Taking insights and turning it into action becomes really easy [with Microsoft Viva].”
People are the key to business success
To truly empower people to feel connected, supported, and able to bring their best selves to work, Microsoft decided that a new approach, coupled with a new category of technology solutions called employee experience platforms or EXP, is required, leading to the launch of Microsoft Viva.
An EXP is a digital platform that puts people at the centre by bringing together systems of work with systems of support into an integrated solution; specifically, Microsoft Viva is an EXP that empowers people and teams to be their best, no matter where they are working.
Providing an organising layer for employee experiences, Microsoft Viva unites people to share knowledge, skills and connections, and empowers them to be the key pillars for organisational success.
Lynn Dang, HR Lead at Microsoft Singapore, said, “When we invest in our people, and we focus on improving the employee experience, we can directly impact employee engagement, wellbeing, talent attraction and retention, customer satisfaction, as well as an organisation’s financial success.”
Dang also described a shift that sees HR driving the people and culture agendas, while increasingly embracing technology to promote organisational success. “As we move into the future of work, HR will continue to help organisations thrive in a hybrid work model with a people-centric and technology-enabled approach,” she added.
“As a HR leader, I look at our workforce analytics and understand that the digital intensity of our employees’ days has increased substantially, with the average number of meetings and chats steadily increasing since the beginning of the pandemic. ” – Lynn Dang, HR lead, Microsoft Singapore.
With Microsoft Viva, HR leaders can make data-driven decisions strategically to improve inclusion and wellbeing through four initial modules:
- Viva Insights: Gives leaders, managers and employees data-driven, privacy-protected insights that help everyone work smarter and thrive.
- Viva Connections: Keep employees informed, connected and inspired to bring their best to work every day.
- Viva Topics: Frees up time by making it easy for people to find information and put knowledge to work.
- Viva Learning: Empowers people to gain targeted skills in the apps they already use, so everyone can learn and grow.
As employees continue to look for flexibility in managing their work and lives in a hybrid work model, Dang also urged organisations to consider how they can use technology to enable employees to work effectively within new patterns and paradigms.
She shared, “As a HR leader, I look at our workforce analytics and understand that the digital intensity of our employees’ days has increased substantially, with the average number of meetings and chats steadily increasing since the beginning of the pandemic. More employees are in back-to-back meetings with little space to pause and recharge, adding to increasing digital exhaustion.”
With Microsoft Viva, ‘focus time’ sessions can be booked in employees’ calendars to allow them to do deep thinking and high impact work. And while Microsoft Teams has grown to be one of the most popular virtual meeting platforms, Dang is a keen advocate of short meetings, as she explained, “If you are going for back-to-back meetings, having just five minutes to pause, take a break or do some reflection before you move into the next meeting can make a huge difference – putting in focus time or automating shorter meetings are just some ways to improve productivity and wellbeing.”
Microsoft Viva Insights helps achieve organisational balance
As the pace of work accelerates in a hybrid world of work, preventing burnout and enhancing wellbeing are critical to sustainable success.
Highlighting the role that Microsoft Viva Insights can play to improve productivity and wellbeing among employees, Nishanth Satheesan, Employee Experience Solution Lead, Microsoft Asia, said, “Viva Insights provides privacy-protected insights and actionable recommendations that help everyone in the organisation work smarter and achieve balance.”
“Viva Insights provides privacy-protected insights and actionable recommendations that help everyone in the organisation work smarter and achieve balance.” – Nishanth Satheesan, Employee Experience Solution Lead, Microsoft Asia.
For employees, actionable recommendations such as protecting time for regular breaks, focused work, and learning make it easier to prioritise wellbeing and boost productivity. For managers, Microsoft Viva Insights provides visibility into work patterns that can lead to burnout and stress, helping teams strike a better balance between productivity and wellbeing.
HR and business leaders can also be empowered to address critical questions about organisational resiliency and work culture, through insight into how work impacts their people and business. “Viva Insights helps leaders know where to take steps to protect employee wellbeing and presents an opportunity to understand where a change in process could improve business outcomes,” Nishanth concluded.
Click here to find out more about Microsoft Viva, and how the EXP platform can help you build a people-powered workforce.