Seek, and You Will Find the Answers in Viva!

November 14, 2023
5 min read

This article is a follow-up to one of my previous articles on TekkiGurus: Viva Engage Storylines Made Simple

In 2019, Viva Engage (formerly Yammer) released a question-type post to make knowledge capture in Yammer easier. After four years of research (Project Cortex), Answers in Viva was born in Viva Engage, where topics connect an organization’s knowledge with employees and route questions to the people more likely to answer.

Topics can play a valuable role in the Viva suite, including Viva Engage communities, stories, Q&A, and Best answer.

In Answers in Viva, topics provide an organization with a way to curate and harvest questions. Each question requires being marked by a Viva Topic. This is an essential means to get new questions in front of people who may have the expertise to answer them.

People in large organizations can learn from each other by asking and answering questions. For example, there are often recurring questions, such as what a new hire would ask in their first three months, so curating these questions and answers makes sense.

If you currently use Viva Engage, simply filter knowledge by adding a topic to a post. Add valuable topics from the same drop-down menu where you might add a fun GIF. Consider creating topics aligned to objectives and key results, key performance indicators, or your personal development plan themes.

Note: Answers in Viva requires the Viva suite or Viva Topics license.

Answers in Viva, Integrated with Viva Topics

“There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.” The phrase encourages people to seek knowledge by asking questions, no matter how silly the questions may sound.

In Viva Engage, there is an Answers tab, as shown in Figure 1. This internal crowdsourcing knowledge management platform connects employees to answers they need by asking and answering questions. Natural language processing helps match questions with any existing answers and connects employees based on their subject matter expertise captured in Viva Topics.

Viva Engage features within Answers in Viva.
Figure 1: Viva Engage features in Answers in Viva enable you to ask a question and to search. | Used with permission from Microsoft.

Seeding Questions into Answers in Viva

The best way to introduce Answers in Viva is to seed some questions. Seed questions are “example questions” or, better yet, real questions that staff repeatedly ask, as mentioned earlier. Collating seed questions before launch ensures that the new feature is not silent. This also gives your subject matter experts time to prepare responses and give insight into the audience’s interest.

Viva Engage features Answers in Viva with explanatory callouts. The callouts include asking a question, viewing answers, viewing topics, follow trending topics, and more.
Figure 2: Ask a question, view answers and topics, follow trending topics, and more. | Used with permission from Microsoft.

A good practice is to have about one hundred questions seeded across the whole organization. Although that sounds like many questions, if you find ten subject matter experts who get asked ten questions repeatedly, these can be compiled. Suggestions are experts in areas like the following:

  • Facilities management
  • Health and safety
  • Quality management
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Marketing
  • Procurement
  • Finance
  • Training
  • Social clubs
  • Shareholder guidance

Example Scenario That Shows the Benefits of Answers in Viva

Let’s focus on the business benefits of Answers in Viva by using a profile of a new production line worker in a factory who wants to know about the following:

  • Training
  • Employee benefits
  • Where to get a uniform
  • How to clean the uniform
  • Safety equipment
  • Managing shifts
  • Shuttle buses
  • Policies regarding vacation and sick days
  • Is there a Wellness policy?
  • Mobile phone usage in the factory
  • Is there a complete shutdown during the year for deep cleaning?

When you are new in a company, nothing is worse than knowing little about your responsibilities, where to find things quickly, and being a nuisance, so this feature is a great confidence builder.

When you start typing a post, you will get a helpful Copilot prompt with more related details to give more context. That’s the AI practical skill of asking the right question to get the correct answer. Immediately, the system starts to search for a question that has been asked before, so you don’t add related questions. This saves you time and, most importantly, is a self-serving, governed process.

By typing “wellness,” for example, it predicts previously asked questions about wellness as it helpfully searches for similar themes.

To complete the post, you must add a Viva Topic, and again, you will be prompted from a predicted list of related topics. You can create a new topic card if this is an entirely new theme, and no Viva Topics are offered. Topics help to consolidate questions around themes.

This screenshot shows the question
Figure 3: To enable posting, add a topic. | Used with permission from Microsoft.

For this example, it returned an external Wellness partner with a link to that. The new worker got the answer they needed quickly and did not need to bother anyone else. They got a notification on Teams and email, so they did not need to pester colleagues for answers.

These features are perfect for frontline workers as they work on their own devices using SMS, multifactor authentication (MFA), and Microsoft Intune mobile application management (MAM) policies in the flow of work on the Teams app.

This is not just about getting answers from robots. It is about connecting real people, sharing tacit knowledge in their heads, and automatically logging in to a searchable system with intelligence that is not artificial and that will remain after they leave to help others time after time.

Answers in Viva has powerful AI analytics on how much time has been saved by using these features, especially those frequently asked questions and most impactful questions that shape the culture of a business.


I hope this helps show how Viva Engage isn't just a “nice to have” employee engagement. It's also a priceless “knowledge management” friend, with the addition of topics that give organizations a way to curate and harvest questions.


Go here for Viva Answers in Viva Engage:

Lesley Crook

Lesley Crook

Lesley Crook, MVP, M365 Apps & Services of 7 years based in Brighton, UK. The Viva Visionary and founder of the Viva Explorers, who are a passionate technology movement of like-minded people who draw on diverse origins to influence employee-centric technology, enabling a modern, empathic and enthusiastic workplace mindset. Lesley's focus is employee engagement, hybrid work, adoption change management, and champions programs on Teams and Microsoft Viva. A tenacious business change consultant, Lesley prepares customers to increase their productivity and nurture collaboration through the lens of Microsoft Teams in their workflow.