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All you need to know about Microsoft Viva Goals

29 June 2022
  

In May Microsoft announced the addition of a new module for business goal setting and management to the Microsoft Viva suite. The point of Microsoft Viva Goals, Microsoft says, is to provide “the missing link between employee experience and business outcomes” through clear, consistent business goal setting. 

In this blog: 

According to Josh Bersin, the well-known HR and workplace industry analyst, “Microsoft’s move is big, and it’s a testament to the company's deep understanding of the real issues in Employee Experience.” 
What are those real issues? Companies in most countries are facing an upswing in inflation. At the same time, they’re finding their footing in an employee-driven market where attracting and retaining talent is a growing challenge.

For employees, those issues include the fundamental human desire to grow and make a difference in our work. In the Work Trend Index survey that Microsoft did and referred to in their announcement about Microsoft Viva Goals, 77% of employees said it’s important, or very important for their employer to provide a sense of purpose and meaning at work. And 69% said it’s important or very important to be rewarded for impact, instead of hours worked.

 


What is Microsoft Viva Goals?

Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform that brings tools for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing and knowledge discovery, directly into the flow of people’s work. Viva Goals is the latest addition to the platform.

While at the time of writing Viva Goals is still in preview, Microsoft says it achieves the following:

  • Viva Goals connects teams to the organisation’s strategic priorities
  • Viva Goals provides clarity on employees’ work and visibility into progress
  • Viva Goals brings business goals into the flow of everyday work

Microsoft Viva Goals integrates with Microsoft Teams, Azure DevOps and other work management and data tools companies are already using. This allows companies to make their goals and measuring the company’s progress towards achieving them, part of everyone’s day-to-day work. Objectives and goals become visible and relevant, no longer dusted off only when performance review time rolls around.


 

 

Performance management using OKRs

When talking about Microsoft Viva Goals, Microsoft specifically refers to objectives and key results (OKRs). This is a goal-setting methodology designed by Andy Grove, former President at Intel, to achieve measurable workplace goals through company-wide alignment, agility, and transparency.  
Also championed by Google, OKRs is essentially the more up-to-date version of “smart goals”: clearly defined objectives, outlined steps to get there and measures of success, and regular discussions about progress. 

OKRs for performance management

OKRs are now a widely-accepted management methodology, so much so that a few software tools exist to help companies implement it. Along with Betterworks, Workboard, 15Five and Lattice, there’s Ally.io, the software service Microsoft acquired in late 2021 and which now forms the backbone of Viva Goals.

With Viva Goals, Microsoft bring OKRs into our daily work, enabling what Josh Bershin calls “Performance Management in the Flow of Work”. These software services provide a platform for viewing, measuring and updating goals in email and other collaboration tools, making it easy to keep OKRs top of mind, and providing transparency about progress. Again, this isn’t unique to Microsoft Viva Goals, but the ubiquity of Microsoft 365 does mean it will have a huge impact.

 


Why use OKRs?

Having clear goals and ways to measure success helps everyone understand what’s important and to prioritise work.

According to Ally, companies that implement OKRs can expect the following benefits:

Company-wide alignment – work at every level of the business becomes directly connected to outcomes, so the majority of individuals feel they understand how their work contributes to the company’s wider goals.

Increased focus – OKRs encourage the work smarter, not harder philosophy by requiring that the organisation, team and individual prioritize 3 – 5 objectives each planning cycle. Focus on the most critical outcomes increases the likelihood of those outcomes being realised.

Increased engagement – the fact that people can see how their work contributes to organisational success is integral to OKRs. As each person works towards their own objectives, OKRs bring a sense of purpose, accountability and autonomy, improving motivation and engagement.

Individual autonomy – because everyone knows what they’re responsible for and by when, people don’t get stuck waiting for managers to assign work, release progress reports and communicate about deliverables. So people can work autonomously while staying on track because they know exactly what the overarching company goals are.

 


Microsoft Viva Goals Features and Capabilities

Define success by creating OKRs from scratch or using built-in templates. Whether you’re an old hand at OKRs or are using OKRs for the first time, Viva Goals has features that make OKRs accessible.

Microsoft-Viva-Goals

 

Align at all levels of the organization with OKR approval workflows, Organizational, Team, and Individual goal pages, and Chart View.  Understand your team’s goals in the context of goals up, down, and across your organization. 

Microsoft-Viva-Goals-Product-Team

 

Connect work to outcomes with Projects and Tasks aligned to OKRs. Ensure every employee understands how the work they do every day contributes to moving the needle for your organization.    

 

Focus discussions, provide context and simplify reporting with custom dashboards and OKRs that dynamically update. 

Customizable dashboard and automations help leaders keep goals top-of-mind at town halls and team meetings and offer insight into real-time progress towards your goals.  

 

Share progress and insights across your organization with shareable links to dashboards. Progress shouldn’t exist in a silo. With shareable links, you can keep every employee engaged in team goal setting and progress.  

 


Is Microsoft Viva Goals available?

Microsoft Viva Goals is currently available in private preview and will become available in Q3 of 2022.

 


Microsoft Viva Goals pricing

  • Microsoft Viva Goals SKU - $6 per user per month
  • Microsoft Viva Suite SKU - $9 for full suite per user per month

Viva Goals is available as an application in Microsoft Teams and as a web application. The Viva Goals web application has no prerequisites; customers can purchase and use Viva Goals with the web application without any other Microsoft product or subscription.  

A Microsoft Teams product license is a prerequisite to use the Viva Goals application in Teams. 

For pricing details, a comprehensive list of what’s included in your existing subscription, and what’s unlocked with Viva Goals SKU or Viva suite SKU purchase, go to Microsoft Viva Goals. see this page.  

 

Learn more about Microsoft Viva and similar topics:


 

Author bio

Jeanne Davies

Jeanne Davies

From journalism to content marketing, I've always enjoyed learning and writing about a diverse range of topics, but the digital world has become particularly interesting to me over the last decade or so. ClearPeople gives me an opportunity to shape my work life and it's fascinating how technology allows me to create great working relationships with colleagues across continents and time zones.

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