Mike is a Principal Consultant for ThreeWill. He has a passion for solving problems, most notably through products or platforms. He has almost 20 years of experience in product development and leadership, using the latest and greatest technologies, including open source technologies.
When last I wrote, I spoke of the value that employees place on their organization being accountable and transparent. I illustrated ways in which PowerBI can be leveraged to demonstrate your commitment to this principle as an organization. But transparency and accountability are a two-way street. If you expect it, you should plan to give it too. Now I’m not talking about sharing personal things with your organization. But I am talking about being thrifty and honest with your work – being responsible and accountable. So, on top of projecting transparency and accountability in your outbound communications and information-sharing, it’s also important to provide avenues for your employees to contribute to that same culture, by giving them fast insights into important information that will help them be as efficient and accountable in their day-to-day and as a valuable member of your organization.
Enter Viva Connections
In the 365 ecosystem, there are many opportunities to get information to the user faster and make it more actionable. The one I want to focus on today is Viva Connections. Viva Connections is a digital platform designed to bring employees closer together and create a more connected and engaged workplace. It serves as a central hub where employees can access important company news, updates, and resources, regardless of their location or device.
Think of Viva Connections as a personalized dashboard that provides quick and easy access to relevant information. It brings together internal communications, employee resources, and other important tools into a single, user-friendly interface. Whether you’re in the office, working remotely, or on the go, Viva Connections ensures that you stay connected with your organization and have the necessary information at your fingertips.
The simplest and standard way to see Viva Connections in action is within Teams. It can operate as the first tab within Teams, branded with your company logo. This means that the dashboard will be the first thing users see when they open Teams on a mobile device and because it’s completely optimized for mobile, the tiles in the dashboard are built for speed and ease of use.
Dashboard tile possibilities
So, how can you leverage this dashboard to foster a culture of accountability? By getting your employees to the things that matter to them most as quickly as possible. And if you give them the ability to take action on it right way, you’re cooking with gas. There’s no better route than with these dashboard tiles. Let me show you some examples.
Here’s something we built and use right here at ThreeWill. As an organization of consultants, you can imagine that it’s pretty important for all of us to know if we are forecasting and allocating our efforts properly. Capacity plans help us run, and it’s important both for leadership to know who’s doing what, but it’s equally important for me to know what I’m responsible for this week. Our capacity tile pulls in our numbers from a 365 data source and contextualizes the data to the logged-in employee. So, each person gets an immediate look into what the organization has planned for them this week and next.
What is the most searched item for any intranet? The holiday calendar, of course. So why not get employees to this information as quickly as possible? Another tile built by ThreeWill, this handy tile gets employees to the holiday calendar straight away, along with automatically showing the next upcoming holiday to eliminate clicks.
All of your forms and surveys
Viva Connections is backed by a robust community of developers. This community shares innovation openly and regularly via a group called Microsoft Patterns and Practices. ThreeWillers are active participants and contributors in this community. We habitually check this community for inspiration and even foundations for our next idea. This next tile I’m showing off comes directly from that community, seen here.
Dashboard tiles are fantastic at pulling in data from all over 365, but it’s at its simplest when it’s pulling from SharePoint. This tile pulls in SharePoint list data tied to any number of links to Microsoft Forms. Microsoft Forms is a powerful tool for gathering information from employees in a variety of ways, like surveys, idea submissions, requests to HR, etc. If you’re getting the most out of 365, you’re probably already taking advantage of Microsoft Forms extensively. If that’s the case, you might have forms and surveys all over the place and they may not be easy to find. This tile allows you to collect them into a list, similar to bookmarking and displays them within the popup of the tile. So, you’re now just 2 clicks away from providing feedback, asking for help, or submitting a request.
What will you do?
Hopefully, these examples get you thinking of the information you want to make more readily available and ways that you might engage with your employees in new ways. By utilizing Viva Connections, organizations can enhance employee engagement, streamline communication, and foster a sense of belonging and community within the workforce. It’s a powerful tool that enables employees to stay informed, collaborate effectively, and access resources essential to their work, ultimately contributing to a more productive, connected, and accountable work environment.