Microsoft Friday announced new features for Viva Goals designed to make it easier to accelerate the adoption of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) through enhanced integration with Microsoft applications such as Teams and Planner, as well as new analytics capabilities that aim to help business leaders better understand how employees are engaging with goals.
Research commissioned by Microsoft and undertaken by Forrester found that 47% of leaders said poorly structured goal setting reduces employee motivation. Additionally, 50% of employee respondents said that having more clarity around their goals gives them a greater sense of purpose and motivates them to work harder, a sentiment echoed by 60% of leaders that were surveyed. New research from Forrester and Microsoft shows employees who have clarity around goal setting are make for more motivated employees
However, while 78% of the survey respondents said they fully understand their personal goals at work, only 63% said they understood what their team’s goals were, with clarity around company goals dropping to 39%.
In order to improve the level of understanding and foster a greater sense of cohesion around goal setting, Microsoft has announced it is enhancing Viva Goals integration with the company’s Teams collaboration software. This will allow leaders and employees to receive notifications around OKR activity, bring goal-setting into conversations, and create, edit, and make check-ins to OKRs directly in a Teams chat.
In addition, Viva Goals will also integrate with Microsoft Planner, Power BI, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Excel bulk import, and Microsoft Project — meaning that Viva Goals can be directly accessed from inside those apps.
Viva Goals language capabilities, meanwhile, will be expanded to a total of 37 languages. Currently, the software supports 10 Tier 1 languages, defined by Microsoft as localized language versions that are shipped to the most important target markets.
A new analytics feature has also been introduced to Viva Goals, designed to help accelerate OKR deployments by providing leaders with a “holistic dashboard view” of metrics such as total users, teams and OKRs, active users, and check-ins. This will enable leaders to better understand how employees are engaging with goals and see how many have been achieved.
Finally, Microsoft has rolled out EU data residency to Viva Goals, meaning that EU-based or multinational customers can store their data in EU data centers, while new updates using Azure Active Directory (AAD) allows Viva Goals admins to set up Conditional Access policies ensuring the “right users have access to the right data.” New identity updates also include AAD identity federation using 3rd party identity solutions OKTA and Google.
In a blog post announcing the updates, Vetri Vellore, corporate vice president for Microsoft Viva Goals, said that providing a successful goal-setting experience helps employees to work independently, take ownership of their goals, and be motivated day to day.
The clearest way to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the goals, he wrote, “is by using a transparent goal-setting and management process that everyone has access to, which may also be one of the biggest challenges for businesses today,” he wrote.