Measuring Your Employee Experience Initiatives with Viva Insights

Date Published 21/10/2021
Author Kevin McDonnell
Category Technology

Organisations realise the value of having employee experience at the heart of what they do and its benefits to their business.

One of the key benefits of Microsoft Viva is the ability to track and measure the success of your change initiative.

Looking at what you are trying to achieve, what the current level is, and how that changes as the initiative runs helps to show the value of your investments in employees.

Viva Insights provides anonymised data highlighting how employees work and collaborate based on their use of Teams, Outlook and SharePoint. Services such as Glint can be integrated to provide additional sentiment feedback into the process.

To help with insights in the flow of work, Viva Insights provides this information within Microsoft Teams via the Viva Insights App, where leaders, managers and employees can engage with the data. For analysts, a deeper dive into the data can be made using Power BI and published as dashboards for others.

Tracking and measuring the change you are aiming to implement, the current status, and progressing as the initiative runs helps you articulate the value of your investments in your employees.


Considering the Questions to Ask of the Data

The first step in any culture change you look to make to the employee experience is to ask why you want to make that change. Answers can include:

  1. Increasing focus time to allow headspace for innovation
  2. Increasing connections between departments to reduce duplication of effort
  3. Boosting time spent with external parties to increase sales engagement

These are all useful changes that can be tracked - why are you trying to achieve these?

Viva Insights has been built to focus on these types of questions and provide insights and advice. For example, rather than simply increasing focus time, Viva Insights suggests fostering innovation can be supported by giving people time to have deep work, blocking out focus time to focus on letting ideas and continuous improvement take place rather than constantly moving between different tasks.

Setting the outcomes of what you are looking to achieve rather than what you can measure will make your objectives more apparent to all and your goals understood and more achievable.


Making the Most of the Common Queries

Within Viva Insights, Microsoft has put in the hard work and experience to recommend key questions to look at and why they matter. For example, organisations looking to enhance organisational resiliency can measure the number of employees with at least 15 minutes of 1:1 time with their managers each week. Why? The screenshot below displays the advice that Microsoft Viva provides.

Organisations with good connections between employees and their managers are more likely to be agile and handle change.

Viva Insights provides advice and helps users understand the why for those measures, providing actionable insights. When you highlight issues such as the risk of burnout, Viva Insights recommends how you can help employees disconnect, with statistics to help understand which areas are most affected. Reminding managers to create the norm of scheduling focus time and protecting that time allows people to have that time to get things done and allow innovation and inspiration to flow.


Building Custom Measures

While the recommended measures cover many cases, your initiatives will have their focus areas and need different ways to measure success. Viva Insights allows permissioned users to create their queries, either from scratch or from a set of initial templates to help you get started. Query creators can build out from a group of metrics starting from a type of query (e.g. Group-to-Group, meetings, peer comparison).

Once created, this query can be integrated and shared with others. The results can be built as graphs and shown as base data. Analysts can use this data in Power BI to create dashboards that integrate their data into initiatives to blend alongside the Viva Insights information. The chart below is a basic one showing after-hours working by the department.


Allowing Employees to View their Insights

As well as the organisation and manager level insights, Viva Insights has information that is useful for all employees and makes it simpler to focus on actions that will help them as individuals. Whether it is an easy way to book focus time in their manager's available calendar slots or, as shown below, a reminder for managers to set up 1:1' with their direct reports to maintain connections, the Viva Insights app built into Teams is designed to help employees and leaders keep on top of, and reduce the impact of burn out.

One of the key issues for employees who may constantly be working from home or more frequently than in the past is that there is no disconnect between working life and home life as people would have when travelling to and from work.

The Virtual Commute in the Insights app helps address this but adds some time for reflection on the day and what is to come tomorrow at the end of each day. It can also include a guided meditation to take that time out and provide a real separation before the evening can start.


A Note On Privacy

One of Viva Insights' significant concerns is that it will intrude on employees' rights, and people are concerned about the data organisations will harvest about their employees.

To address this, Microsoft is very clear that there is no way for anyone to view data about an individual and that all information is aggregated. All groupings are defined by administrators and must meet a minimum size of 10. This protects the privacy of the information and ensures that the focus is on how the organisation behaves and not specific individuals.

The only personal level data visible is what an employee can see in their own Insights application for booking focus time or checking on the engagement they have with their direct peers. Custom reports and Power BI data sources do not enable any data views at an individual level because no personal data is stored. Data is encrypted following the same best practices that Microsoft follows across Microsoft 365 to protect that data, and no one at Microsoft has access to the personal information either.

You can read more on the details around privacy in this privacy note from Microsoft.



Viva Insights gives organisations the power, supporting their initiatives to help improve the employee experience. Whether you are guided by the standard reporting or reviewing your metrics to build on activities to assist staff, Viva Insights gives you the. When leaders cannot get a feel for the organisation from walking the floors, this opens up access to understand the fundamental actions that people are taking and guides leaders to support their staff in a way that helps them as individuals.






Kevin McDonnell
Solutions Architect

Kevin is a solutions architect and comes with a wealth of knowledge in both public sector and commercial organisations providing many years of consulting advice. As a Microsoft MVP, he is interested in SharePoint and is a Microsoft Office 365 specialist. Kevin also represents CPS at various user groups and is a seasoned conference speaker.

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