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Onboarding with Microsoft 365 and Viva

November 3, 2022
5 min read
Onboarding with Microsoft 365 and Viva

A successful onboarding process should be very employee-centric. It starts before the first day of employment and lasts longer than a week.

Even if this is evident to you, it does not change the fact that most new employees would agree that they did not have a smooth onboarding experience.

Onboarding should familiarize the new hire with how the organization functions, their purpose, and where their team and contributions fit in. Unfamiliar with the 8 Stages of EX? Read our blog!

Thanks to Microsoft’s work to advance the Employee Experience, you now have a suite of tools at your disposal designed to elevate an employee’s experience within your organization. It has never been easier to identify areas of improvement and track progress towards goals than with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Viva.

Before proceeding with the blog and understanding how M365 and Viva can prepare you to overcome the challenges that lead to poor onboarding, download our free 80+ page EX whitepaper for complete comprehension and actionable advice.

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How Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Viva Improve and Support Onboarding

The onboarding process’s lack of structure and planning can be a big challenge. Spending time here is essential to improve, automate or simplify the process and prioritize the proper steps. Consider the core tasks in virtual onboarding and how Microsoft 365 correlates to each of them.

Emails may be one way to introduce an employee to the org, but Yammer communities, Viva Engage, Teams channel messages, bots and more can enrich introductions. Integration with many services like LinkedIn make it easy to understand who might already know the new employee and the comprehensive people card experiences, people search, Viva Topics and other related experiences make it easy for an employee to connect with or understand who’s who within the org. Even sharing materials, planning and attending training sessions with Viva Learning, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and more is made richer due to how each of those experiences can personalize themselves based on how the employee prefers to work and learn.

New Employee Onboarding Assistance, Icebreaking & Badging

Sometimes clever solutions can improve the employee experience further as it relates to onboarding. One challenge with new employees is that it can be hard to connect with others, especially if the mode of work preference is mostly remote or hybrid. Even before the pandemic, 42% of IWs rarely meet new people at their company; when they meet new people, it’s most often through a formal or informal company event. Managers rarely make those connections. So, we need to create employee experiences that further connect new employees.

Consider automating the introduction or icebreaking of a new employee. If you want an example you can build on, feel free to download and install this integrated bot onboarding assistant for Microsoft Teams.

Or consider pairing team members up for a weekly meet-up and let the bot help find an available timeslot for both parties with something like this Icebreaker Teams app experience that you can install and begin leveraging as a starting point.

Another effective technique is to badge the profile image of new employees so that everyone who sees them in email, in meetings, in communities, on Teams, and throughout the Microsoft 365 experiences can see at a glance that this is a new employee. This leads to people providing more proactive support in onboarding, connecting further to improve the new employees network, and much more. You can do this by leveraging the underlying capabilities of this champion management platform solution or by developing it yourself.

New Employee Onboarding Targeting, Sites, Teams & Communities

Optimally throughout your employee experience in the context of users’ work, you will target information to new employees. You can do this by starting with audience targeting against a new employee group or, more optimally, a new employee group for a specific department. There are many out-of-the-box aspects of the employee experience that Microsoft 365 has built-in audience targeting support:

For example, you could organize news with a particular news item that shows up first for new employees, or the navigation you use should have some ‘getting started’ links and material for new employees.

That doesn’t have to be the only way you help new employees. This new employee content, such as checklists, insights into the departmental culture or how the department works, and much more, could be empowered by creating corporate onboarding sites, departmental onboarding sites, and other targeted onboarding experiences. Microsoft has created great samples for these new employee onboarding sites, such as the New Employee Corporate Onboarding Site and the New Employee Departmental Onboarding Site.

New Employee Corporate Onboarding Site

Streamline and refine your new employee onboarding process by creating a new employee experience that connects new hires to resources, people, culture, and access to a new hire onboarding checklist. These sites include pre-populated content and pages that can be customized for your onboarding processes.

The corporate onboarding site is the landing place for the new employee onboarding experience. It provides a high-level view of organizational goals, leadership, team structure, and resources. In this phase, users seek guidance, support, and clarity.

Use this site to outline onboarding details and expectations during the first months of onboarding.

Ensure users have access to support channels like Yammer, write FAQs relevant to your organization, and customize the onboarding checklist to include the activities you want all new hires to do in their first 30, 60, and 90 days.


New Employee Departmental Onboarding Site

Set new hires up for success by connecting them to their division or region teams. Share departmental announcements and news, welcome new hires, and build community and culture among workgroups by customizing the Department onboarding site to fit your organization’s needs.

Users need to learn about departmental leadership, culture, goals, and resources here. Use the departmental onboarding site to provide access to communication channels, training guides, and events relevant to new hires. Consider associating departmental onboarding sites with existing department portals if you have them.

Pre-populated content:

  • Home page – Provide a high-level view of significant concepts relevant to new hire
  • Getting started – Help users quickly understand onboarding tasks, departmental procedures, and anything else that will help new hires be successful.
  • Meet the team – Introduce new hires to people, the organization structure, and goals on the Leadership, The organization, and Our priorities pages. Edit the Call-to-Action web part to include links and images. Or, link to an existing team page instead.
  • Help & Support – Highlight where to go for support and consider creating a FAQ section.

Putting it all Together

When equipped with Microsoft 365 and Viva, you can bring the Employee Experience at your organization from good to great! With suitable approaches and technology, you can bridge the gap between a job candidate and a valued team member in a memorable way.

Flawlessly executing this stage of the employee experience journey will set a precedent for each employee’s time on your team.

You can also find many more insights and practical approaches to each of the 8 stages to upgrade your employee experience in our free 80+ page whitepaper.


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