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Inclusion and Diversity within the Employee Experience

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I had a really interesting chat with a colleague the other day and he mentioned a really interesting feature of Microsoft Viva Topics and how it can help inclusion in the workplace. This got me thinking about Microsoft Viva and the various methods each of the different modules can help from a diversity & inclusion perspective.

Any and every employee experience platform should really have inclusion at the very heart of what it does as its such a fundamental element of a really standout experience for your employees.

Below I’ll run through each of the areas of Microsoft Viva and give an example of how it can be used to help bolster diversity & inclusion within your company. These are just a handful of ideas/ways of doing it there are plenty more that can be used I’m sure. I’m really excited to see how different people approach this aspect of their employee experience platforms.

Diversity & Inclusion in Viva Topics

I got chatting with a colleague (Shout out Chris Wheeler if you are reading this) on a LinkedIn post a couple of weeks ago and he pointed out a really great way you could use Viva Topics to help drive inclusion within your business. You could have topics based on inclusion and diversity and allow employees to contribute to these especially if its somehting they are passionate about. This will help them to be recognised for it and in turn reduce retention risk. It doesn’t stop there though, having your companies diversity & inclusion policies, handbooks or guides all linked directly to a topic means poeple don’t have to go trawling through libraries to try and find the info they need.

The topic map could then link to other topics related to inclusion or diversity and at the hover of a mouse or the click of a button an employee can be taken to more informaiton that’s totally relevant to what they are looking for. It could then list out important poeple related to the topic and help poeple to connect and build relationships they may have never done in the past.

I’m really excited to see poeple start using this and can’t wait to help some clients along on this journey.

Diversity & Inclusion with Viva Insights

There are loads of ways in which Viva Insights can help with diversity & inclusion firstly it’s much easier to measure diversity within a business than inclusion but having a diverse workforce without the inclusion part is counter productive and won’t lead to sucess or retention or a host of other benefits of having a diverse and and inclusive workplace. This is where Viva Insights can step in to help, inclusive behaviours can be measured with Viva Insights and supplemented with attitudinal surveys. This is obviously a sensitive area but the controls are already baked into the Viva Insights product to ensure this data can be protected and controls put in place to ensure the right laws and regulations are followed.

So that’s the first tick in the box but what can we actually start to measure and report on?

With the right attributes and data in place you can begin to measure just how inclusive your business really is and put plans in place and take action to define your cultural traits and drive cultural transformation where its needed most. By merging data from your engagement surveys with Viva Insights at the individual level provides very valuable analytic flexibility and insights.

Below is a great example of just some of the data you glean from Viva Insights to help drive a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

An example of the data available for D&I wihtin Viva Insights

Microsoft actually have a great playbook on this along with some others that can be found here. There is a truck load of different info you can get from these insights and the above is just one example.

Diversity & Inclusion with Viva Learning

This is a pretty simple one to get your head around, you can use Viva Learning to empower your people to discover and share a mass of content on diversity & inclusion related learning. LinkedIn learning has over 2000 courses on diversity alone and that’s accessible even with the free version of Viva Learning. Get the fully licensed version though and you can really make it front and centre and surface that learning content and promote it throughout your organisation. You can embed this learning content right within the topics we mentioned above making it easily searchable and promoted to people when they need it.

Diversity & Inclusion with Viva Connections

So, this is where you can really promote diversity & inclusion, you could have promoted links within your Viva Connections dashboards to certain teams at certain times. You could highlight the topics we mentioned earlier within new articles meaning poeple can easily have the informaiton surfaced to them. Links to Viva Learning modules on diversity & inclusion could be promoted to new starters for example.

Diversity & Inclusions with Viva Goals

I know, I know Viva Goals is not yet GA but it will be very soon in fact it probably will be by the time this blog post goes out, so I’m including it here. This is a really easy way to help not only your leadership but to cascade the message and importance of diversity & inclusion throughout your entire business and see how people can contribute to bettering the company with clear OKRs to improve on these areas.

A simple OKR could be the below:-

Objective: Increase the Companies Diversity in Recruitment

Key Result: Increase new starters from diverse groups by 20%

Key Result: Offer 10 internships to targeted groups

Project: Audit our Job Adverts

See the below example of this right within Microsoft Viva Goals.

Example OKR to help increase diversity

By setting something as simple as the above OKR you can start to ensure your company goals are aligned to your desire for a more diverse and inclusive workplace. You can even use the data from Viva Insights to help measure your key results. For example if you had an OKR relating to having more females in senior leadership roles then this can be measured within the Viva Insights app. I’d love to see some integration here in the future with OKRs being automatically checked in and completed as the stats from within Viva Insights update. I know there is a Power BI integration coming to Viva Goals soon so perhaps it’s not that far off. The added bonus of having transparent OKRs will help to show the rest of the business your commitment to diversity & inclusion.

Diversity & Inclusion with Viva Engage

With Viva Engage coming soon (think the communities app in teams or Yammer but with some cool new features) it would be remiss of me not to mention this new module as it fits perfectly in with diversity & inclusion. The ability to create and join communities based specifically around diversity & inclusion could be really powerful. Being able to share unique stories and interests and promote belonging in the workplace will be invaluable and help to strengthen relationships and breed a culture of involvement, diversity and inclusivity.


The above are just a few thoughts I had off the top of my head but there are a ton of other things that could be used in each of the Microsoft Viva pillars to improve diversity & inclusion in an organisaiton. I think any employee experience platform should have this ability at the heart of its tools as it’s such an important area of focus when trying to implment/improve or even start thinking about the employee experience.

I’d love to know peoples thoughts on this subject and any other thoughts or ideas for how you could use Microsoft Viva in regards to diversity & inclusion.

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