Published 24 January 2023 

It’s a new year, and the perfect time to start planning your professional and personal goals for the next twelve months…

Ahh if only it was that easy! Well, actually – with the help of Viva Goals, it makes ‘putting pen to paper’ that bit easier. It’s 2023, so let the tech do the hard work – am I right?

For those in and around the Microsoft space, last year felt like a whirlwind of Viva product launches. For those who didn’t keep on top of it all (me included) – in particular Viva Goals, this blog is for you!

Ok, let’s recap. What is Viva Goals?

Microsoft Viva Goals is Microsoft’s latest product offering – a goal-setting and performance tracking platform.

Viva Goals leverages ‘Objectives and Key Results’ (OKR’s), a popular framework for creating alignment, focus, and a highly engaged work culture to drive business outcomes.

Viva Goals is the app that lets you create, maintain and access OKR’s across your organisation, designed to help organisations of all sizes and industries to stay focused on their goals and achieve greater success.

Viva Goals is an integral part of Microsoft’s Viva suite, a holistic employee experience solution that includes other products such as Viva Connections, Viva Learning, and Viva Insights.

For managers, Viva Goals provides a centralised platform to define, assign, and track goals, ensuring everyone is working towards the same objectives. For employees, the platform offers visibility into their goals, allowing them to track their progress, receive feedback from their managers, and stay motivated.

Some worth noteworthy features include:

  • Goal setting: Managers can create and assign goals to their teams.
  • Goal cards: Interactive ‘Goal Cards’ allow teams to discuss and review progress in real-time.
  • Feedback: Managers can provide feedback and insights to help teams stay motivated and on track.
  • Progress tracking: The platform provides a centralised view of goal progress, allowing teams to track and measure their performance.
  • Analytics dashboard: This feature provides an overview of team performance and allows managers to identify areas for improvement.

Why would I want to use Viva Goals?

Ever wondered how you fit into the organisation? Or if what you do contributes to the success and goals of your organisation?

With Viva Goals, you have the clarity about what you should be doing and why it matters. Instead of relying on town halls, newsletters and emails from senior leaders to communicate top priorities for the organisation – this is all visible in the application via the organisation-wide OKR’s. This will allow you to better prioritise work and spend less time on non-business critical initiatives.

It also improves autonomy and ownership of where you and your team fit in the bigger picture.

Getting started with Viva Goals

First, you will need to write your OKR’s, three best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Top down, bottom up – be clear on your company’s overall mission, vision and values. Being clear on this will help inform the strategy and direction you want to take.
  2. Think long term, then short term – the most common time frame for goal setting is to first set long term goals. Then, break out those goals into shorter segments to allow progress to be made.
  3. Keep it simple – don’t try and do too much, too fast. Brainstorm the top 12 things you’d like to accomplish then cut this list in half until your limiting yourself 3 – 5 objectives and 3 – 5 key results for each objective.

Once you have finished writing your OKR’s, the four main actions that you’ll perform in the system are known as the 4C’s:

  1. Cascade – How OKR’s cascade from one level to the next.
  2. Create – How to enter OKRs into the software. Learn more here.
  3. Check-in – How to track the progress of your OKR’s. Learn more here.
  4. Close – How to score your OKR’s. Learn more here.

Best practices for success

As a member of the Change and Transformation team at Engage Squared, I know all about implementing new solutions and behaviours. Introducing a change such as Viva Goals requires more than just communication leading up to the launch.

Ensuring you have established strong stakeholder buy in will be essential to the overall success of your project. Your leaders are the people who define the overall vision and objective of your organisation. You will need to have them engaged to make the change stick.

It’s also important to recognise that employees need time to adjust and get on board with the change. This is known as creating ‘Desire’ in Prosci’s ADKAR model and will increase adoption and long-term success. Beyond knowing how to write OKR’s, employees will need support sustaining the change and incorporating OKR’s into their daily work rhythms.

Lastly, Viva Goals may not be the only change you need to introduce if an OKR program is new to you. To create lasting change and more importantly – success, you will need to be clear about why OKR’s are important to your organisation and what’s in it for them.

Emotional Cycle of Change

For more information on how to increase the success of your organisation’s adoption of Viva Goals, get in touch to hear how our change and adoption team can help.

About the author

Chelsea Geldard is a senior change and adoption consultant at Engage Squared. Chelsea loves working with clients on their adoption of Microsoft 365 and is a skilled Microsoft Teams advocate and mentor, empowering users with unprecedented opportunities while on their technology change journey.