One year and 2 weeks ago Microsoft launched their employee experience offering, Viva. We wrote about it back then and explained why it was a big deal for the HR tech market. Yesterday, Microsoft announced that it will transition Glint, an employee engagement solution, from LinkedIn (acquired Glint in 2018) to become a core part of Viva. The company is set to bring Glint completely into Viva in 2023.
Keeping up with the momentum from 2021, the HR tech market continues to provide us with a show in 2022.
Just last week we wrote about Perceptyx, another employee engagement and experience vendor, acquiring Cultivate, a digital coaching tool, and further enhancing its listening capabilities. While the news of Glint integrating into Viva is not nearly as surprising and market shifting (Glint was already integrating into one of the Viva modules as a partner and providing joint customers access to their analytics insights), it is still notable for a few reasons, not least of them being that it makes Viva a serious player in the analytics space.
Before we dive into the details of what this means for the customers, to Glint, Microsoft, and the HR tech market, let’s do a quick recap of what is Microsoft Viva.
What is Microsoft Viva?
Built on top of Microsoft 365 and Teams, Viva is an employee experience solution that offers four modules (see Figure 1), which combine existing Microsoft offerings into a single solution:
- Connections – Creates a “digital campus” where all policy, benefits, communities, and other centralized resources are available.
- Insights –Provides employees with insights on how they work, and gives managers and leaders information about their teams, burnout risk, after-hours work, etc
- Topics – Leverages Project Cortex to identify knowledge and experts across the organization, generating topic cards, topic pages, and knowledge centers (including people – not just information) for others to access – a “Wikipedia of people and information” for the org.
- Learning – Integrates LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com), Microsoft Learn, and other external sources (including LMSs or LXPs such as Cornerstone and Skillsoft) into a single location within Microsoft.
Figure 1: Summary of Microsoft Viva | Source: Glint, 2021.
When Microsoft launched Viva 1 year ago, Glint was integrating into the “Insights” module of their offering as a partner. It was providing analytics, based on combined data from Viva and Glint to the users by via Power BI dashboards in Viva for Microsoft customers and pulling Viva data into their own dashboards for Glint customers. In the near future, Glint will be completely integrated into the core Viva offering, meaning customers should be able to access insights in the tools where they work, i.e., Teams.
Let’s break this down and find out what it means for everyone involved.
What does it mean for the customers?
Overall, this should be good news for both Glint and Microsoft customers for a few reasons.
- Customers should be able to access employee insights more seamlessly. Currently, customers need to have both Viva insights and Glint, in order to access insights based on a combination of employee perception (Glint) and behavioral data (Viva insights) through dashboards in Viva or Glint. Once Glint is integrated into Viva, customers should allow users to receive these insights more easily and quickly.
- The annual engagement survey from Microsoft will be moved over to Glint and called “Employee Signals” to reflect a more continuous, always-on listening approach. This should allow Microsoft customers to capture employee perception and behavioral data holistically all in one place, without needing to add any additional vendors.
- The integration will provide users with a stronger set of capabilities that provide them with feedback, recommendations, and action items within the productivity tool they already work in, thus, enabling leaders to respond to needs in a timely manner.
What does it mean for Glint?
According to Microsoft, existing Glint customers will be able to continue to use the current Glint offering delivered by LinkedIn. New new customers can purchase the existing Glint service on a standalone basis through LinkedIn or bundled with Viva through Microsoft for now.
Glint will continue to benefit of combining passive data with their perception data and providing valuable insights to their customers around engagement, well-being, and burnout. Specifically, it will help Glint with:
- Access to rich passive continuous behavioral data that will deepen their insights on employees and managers. For example, we expect Glint should now be able to access metrics around learning sources and knowledge topics being accessed (through Topics and Learning modules). The possibilities of how those metrics can be used, such as to understand DEIB, performance management, learning and development, are huge.
- Having a greater impact on their customers. Once fully integrated, Microsoft HR customers should be able to access the deeper analytics side of the product provided by Glint, while managers and leaders should be able to receive recommendations and feedback in the apps they use. This should result in more action taking, wider action adoption, and greater impact in general among the customers.
What does it mean for Microsoft Viva?
Given than Glint was already integrating into Viva’s Insights module, a complete integration into the entire suite makes complete sense for Microsoft. Overall, it does a few things for Viva.
- Equips Microsoft with enhanced employee listening. By rolling their engagement survey into Glint, Microsoft will be able to leverage Glint’s impressive employee listening capabilities for its customers through its various surveys.
- It provides more value for potential customers. Viva just became a whole lot more appealing to existing and potential customers who might have been considering adding Glint to their people analytics ecosystem.
- Adds a more focused approach to supporting managers and employee development. Glint has long been building its capabilities to build a product that empowers managers to engage and develop their employees through feedback and recommendations. As part of Viva, these capabilities should make the solution more attractive to leaders.
What does it mean for the people analytics and employee experience tech market?
There are 2 big implications of this move for the tech market.
- At its inception, Microsoft Viva was essentially a modern take on the intranet, with the addition of analytics. With a complete integration of Glint and its focus on supporting managers and employees by providing them data-based insights and recommendations, Viva should be able to become a serious player in the people analytics space.
- The rise of employee engagement and experience vendors that are able to bring in rich passive data to supplement employee perception data. Perceptyx and Viva have built into their products an impressive suite of capabilities that are able to provide a more complete picture of not just what the employees are feeling, but when and why they are feeling it, and what they can do to improve or address any challenges as quickly as they arise.
We will have to wait another year to see what the final integration looks like. It will be interesting to see if insights from Glint will be connected with those from Ally.io, an OKR (objectives and key results) tool, acquired by Microsoft in 2021 that is integrated into Viva, and how they will be delivered to the users, especially given that Glint has a performance management product as well.
Glint has always applied a thoughtful approach to its product and the organizational needs it should help address. Given that, it’s safe to say that Microsoft Viva will benefit significantly from making Glint a part of it. We look forward to seeing the final product.