New communities experiences bolster employee engagement in the age of hybrid work

Hybrid Work

New communities experiences bolster employee engagement in the age of hybrid work

As hybrid work becomes the norm, employee experience and engagement are more important than ever. The way that people work and connect with their coworkers has shifted, and research shows that flexible work is here to stay.

A changing workforce

Employee engagement is now critical to business success. Survey data from our 2021 Work Trend Index revealed that 41 percent of employees are considering leaving their current employer this year. This level of turnover has big implications for how companies recruit, onboard, retain talent, and support overall development and employee wellbeing. It’s a new game of talent acquisition and retention in which employee engagement and the overall employee experience play a critical role.

Employee engagement at the forefront with Microsoft Viva

With Microsoft Viva, we’re creating an employee experience platform that brings together employee engagement, learning and training, wellbeing experiences, and knowledge discovery directly in the flow of work. Employee engagement entails keeping people up to date on company news, making company resources readily accessible, and enabling people to connect across the organization to create communities and share knowledge.

Yammer usage doubled year-over-year and now supports tens of millions of monthly active users worldwide. New integrations and capabilities will bring these community experiences and scale directly into Viva, offering immediate value and growth opportunities for our customers. We’re bringing the superpowers of Yammer, including communities, open conversation, and discovery experiences into Viva. In the coming months, you’ll see communities surface in a number of ways across Microsoft 365 and Viva:

  •  Viva Connections: Community conversations and announcements will appear in the feed as interactive discussions. You’ll also be able to comment on news articles and navigate to your communities from the Connections app.
Viva Connections mobile app displays conversations from communities.
  • Viva Topics: Conversations in Yammer are a source of knowledge for Viva Topics, and you can use conversation topics to seed Viva’s understanding of topics in your organization. On topic pages, you’ll find experts identified by engagement in Yammer discussions, and question and answer cards feature Q&A and conversations from communities. Soon, you’ll be able to ask a question and Viva Topics will automatically bring in experts to answer your question.
Viva Topics page shows questions and answers from the community.

Communities arose out of Yammer, which is now bringing community experiences across Microsoft 365 into the apps you use every day, including Teams, Outlook, and SharePoint. Global brands leaned heavily on Yammer communities in the last year to create a sense of community, build culture, and engage employees. Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement, and health solutions, has seen engagement in its Yammer communities increase by 150 percent—a testament to colleagues working together, reaching out across the organization, and connecting in a united way.

Enhancements to Communities app for Microsoft Teams

The Communities app for Microsoft Teams helps you stay connected to what’s happening in your communities, tap into knowledge across teams and departments, and crowdsource solutions and best practices from frontline workers. And in the coming weeks, we’re updating the app to inherit Microsoft Teams styling, further incorporate notifications and deep-linking, and include new capabilities like suggested communities.

Microsoft Teams app showing how to interact with communities directly.

Learn more about using the Communities app for Teams and adding it to the Teams mobile experience.

Add Communities to Outlook for the web

Earlier this month, we announced a new update to make it easier to navigate Outlook for the web by adding your favorite apps. And today, we are announcing the new Communities app for Outlook, which brings the full Yammer experience inside Outlook for the web. Starting soon, you be able to engage in communities, participate in conversations and live events, and share knowledge openly with your peers without leaving the Outlook app.

Outlook displays communities directly in the Outlook app.

In the next couple of months, we will also be offering this update to Outlook for Windows.

Q&A in Microsoft Teams meetings

We’re bringing a new experience for questions and answers in meetings with the Q&A app, which allows meeting organizers and presenters to add open or moderated Q&As to any Teams meeting. The Q&A app enables attendees to ask and reply to questions before and during a meeting. Organizers and designated presenters can mark best answers, filter responses, moderate and dismiss questions, and pin posts. Responses to questions are threaded in a conversation with the original question. Designated presenters can act as co-moderators to help screen questions.

Add moderated Q&A to any Microsoft Teams meeting.

Q&A is ideally suited for large and more structured meetings, such as leadership presentations, webinars, classroom trainings, all-hands meetings, and community events. The Q&A app is currently in private preview and will be rolling out soon.

New features for conversations and topics

We’re also introducing new capabilities that make it easier to connect and communicate across the organization.

Follow conversations by topic. To help you stay in touch with conversations around a topic of interest, we’re adding a new capability to topics in Yammer. When you visit a topic page, you will be able to follow the topic and see who else is following the topic. This helps you find experts and collaborators, and helps knowledge managers gauge interest in topics. The new “Followers” section on topic pages in Yammer is being tested in Microsoft now, and we’ll bring it to customers in the future. Follow the Yammer blog for updates regarding this feature and other innovations.

Post on behalf of another user. We’re excited to announce that users can now post on behalf of another user in Yammer. After approval is granted, internal communicators can use this feature to share news and updates as well as reply to comments on behalf of leaders and their teams. And this new capability is not limited to Yammer admins—any user can choose to delegate access to any other person.

How to designate an individual to post on your behalf in Yammer.

Learn more from the announcement blog.

Learn more

With hybrid work becoming the norm, it will be more important than ever for businesses to keep employees connected and engaged. New Microsoft Viva and Microsoft Teams apps can help businesses create new employee experiences and bring their communities together.


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