Remote and hybrid work environments introduce challenges in maintaining team cohesion and employee connections.
Addressing the challenges posed by these environments requires the introduction of intentional frameworks and tools to support interaction and collaboration among employees.
As part of our intentional approach to address the challenges at AG Consulting Partners, we implemented the Microsoft Viva suite of products, including Viva Connections, Viva Engage, and Viva Insights.
Implementing the Viva suite has transformed the employee experience, improved efficiency and work-life balance, increased productivity, boosted employee engagement, and fostered a more positive work environment.
Keeping employees engaged in remote or hybrid environments presents its own challenges. In consulting, where the employees spend most of their day working within their client teams, it’s even more so. The lack of physical proximity between team members may hinder team cohesion, collaboration, and the ability of remote employees to build strong relationships, share knowledge effectively, and feel connected to their colleagues. Additionally, the absence of informal interactions and spontaneous conversations can result in a sense of isolation and reduced social connections.
At AG Consulting Partners, we recognize these unique challenges and are committed to evolving and innovating to provide our employees with an improved, inclusive, and holistic experience. In our latest effort, we’re thrilled to share our recent launch of the Microsoft Viva platform at our firm, including Viva Connections, Viva Engage, and Viva Insights, as part of our ongoing efforts to address the complexities of remote and hybrid work environments and enhance employee engagement and productivity.
Our company provides various tools to help employees communicate and engage with each other. These tools form an employee engagement ecosystem that includes an internal company portal, a corporate social platform, a messaging and meeting platform, and email. However, we face a unique challenge because our ecosystem competes with similar systems our clients use. Since our tools function separately, our employees often need help finding information and connecting with colleagues. As a result, we’ve faced difficulties maintaining high levels of employee engagement and participation, and our employees have struggled to create connections and work collaboratively with colleagues across the firm.
Our goal was to provide our team with a streamlined and convenient employee experience, whether they were working on their laptops or mobile devices. After careful consideration, we realized that our employees primarily use the Microsoft Teams platform for communication and productivity, both internally and with clients. Therefore, we sought solutions that could seamlessly integrate with this platform to make adoption easier. The Microsoft Viva suite of products offered extensive integration across Teams and the entire Microsoft 365 productivity suite, including Outlook email.
As a team, we collaborated to investigate the potential benefits of integrating Viva products such as Viva Connections, Viva Engage, and Viva Insights to support our hybrid workforce better. Our operations business manager, Madeline Young, was instrumental in our transition to Viva. According to her,
“Our encounter with the Viva suite was a complete game-changer. We immediately recognized how beneficial these tools are for our staff and hoped to use this resource to enhance the connection between our employees.”
Through our experience with Viva, we discovered the benefits of consolidating onto the Teams platform for social engagement, employee recognition, and increasing workforce productivity. We seamlessly integrated our employee portal, which made finding essential employment information even more effortless. Now, our employees can access critical company announcements, connect with colleagues, and access company resources in one place through their desktop or the Teams app on their phone.
Since incorporating Viva Connections, communication within our organization has significantly improved. We now provide our employees with a personalized and centralized experience that offers easy access to company news, updates, and resources. This has resulted in increased efficiency and productivity among our workforce. We’ve also implemented praise badges and company-wide announcements, strengthening our sense of community and employee recognition.
Our company’s people come first; we’re constantly searching for ways to bring our team closer together. With Viva Engage, we’ve made collaboration and knowledge-sharing a breeze by providing a platform for our community members to engage with one another directly within Teams. Viva Engage connects our coworkers in communities with various interests, creating a diverse and engaging network. These communities cover everything from gaming, health and wellness, crafting, technology, and pop culture. We also encourage our employees to create new communities if they can’t find one that fits their interests. Since implementing Viva Engage, we’ve noticed a stronger sense of belonging among our team, which has led to a more positive work environment and empowered our consultants to perform at their best.
At our firm, we prioritize our employees’ mental health and wellness. We were delighted to discover Viva Insights, a tool that helps our team manage their work-life balance. Viva Insights provides valuable insights into their work habits, aids in establishing improved routines, and even offers stress-reducing tools throughout the day. One of our managers, Caroline Henderson, often feels stressed, particularly when she has consecutive meetings. Caroline has found significant benefits in using Viva Insights’ meditation feature.
“On the days I have a lot of meetings, I have to jump between topics, which can be a challenge. Viva Insights offers short, 3-minute mediations that help me reset my mind before joining another call or diving into other work. These meditations have helped me be fully present in my calls and able to focus much better.”
Viva Insights is a powerful tool that enables our employees to manage their work-life balance and prioritize their well-being. This not only serves as an essential function but also helps unlock our employees’ full potential, enabling them to deliver their best work to our clients.
Seeing the Impact
Our goal has always been to provide our employees with the best possible work experience, and incorporating these Viva apps into Microsoft Teams has helped us achieve that goal.
Our employees appreciate the convenience of having all their work-related resources and wellness tools in one place. By pinning all three Viva apps in Teams, we’ve made them readily accessible to everyone. We’ve already received positive feedback, and seeing Viva’s impact on our team is exciting.
Chief Operating Officer Erin Anderson has already seen the impact of Viva, saying,
“The outcomes are remarkable, as we’ve seen an increase in productivity and improved employee engagement, which benefits our employees and clients. These findings underscore the importance of investing in employee engagement initiatives to drive business success.”
A recent Microsoft Viva and Glint study revealed a significant link between employee engagement and productivity. The study proved that highly engaged employees are eight times likelier to be top performers, while teams with high engagement achieve 21% higher.¹ These findings highlight the importance of investing in employee engagement initiatives to enhance productivity and drive business success. By integrating Viva into Microsoft Teams, we can effectively measure engagement, resulting in a more productive and profitable workforce.
Delivering game-changing results to our clients is at the heart of our firm’s mission, and using Viva across our workforce will help fulfill that mission. By leveraging Viva’s capabilities within our workforce, our employees can collaborate more effectively, increase their productivity, tap into the expertise within the organization, foster continuous learning, and streamline communication. It has already improved the quality of work and overall effectiveness of our consultants. These outcomes translate into a workforce better equipped to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations.
Using Viva tools, we have not only improved our employee engagement and business performance but also gained valuable experience in these areas. We understand that our clients face similar challenges in facilitating effective communication and collaboration within their organizations. Our consultants can apply this knowledge to assist our clients in implementing similar solutions within their organizations. Our top priority is ensuring our clients achieve their goals and enhance their business performance. With our expertise in these valuable tools, we can help them achieve just that. Our clients can use the Viva products to drive innovation, streamline workflows, and boost their employees’ overall performance.
Our implementation of Microsoft Viva has had a profound impact on our company! It has transformed the employee experience by improving efficiency, engagement, and work-life balance. AG Consulting Partners constantly dedicates itself to discovering new and innovative ways to support our employees and enhance their work environment. Microsoft Viva offers promising opportunities to accomplish these objectives, and we’re excited to see how it will positively affect our employees and clients.
We’re not done yet! As we continue to evolve and innovate to provide the best possible experience for our employees and clients, we invite you to stay tuned for updates. We remain committed to leveraging technology and exploring new avenues to improve our employees’ experience and deliver exceptional results for our clients.
¹(2023). A modern approach to measuring engagement. Microsoft Viva. https://adoption.microsoft.com/files/viva/glint/A-modern-approach-to-measuring-engagement-with-Microsoft-Viva-Glint.pdf
At AG Consulting Partners, we believe in taking care of our people first to enable them to bring their best to every client project. Our employees embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and embody our core values: transparency, stewardship, and intention. Founded in 2009, and headquartered in the Greater Seattle area, AG Consulting Partners is recognized as one of Inc 5000 and Puget Sound Business Journal’s fastest growing private companies.
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