You may not have noticed, but Viva Goals isn’t actually a goal-tracking tool at all. That’s one of the reasons Zensai makes such a useful Microsoft Viva Goals alternative. We’ve already looked at how to manage performance through Microsoft Viva, and explored how OKRs work in Viva Goals specifically. It has some really interesting standalone features; but that’s it’s main shortcoming. It’s goal-setting in silo.

Viva Goals is actually OKRs, not goals – that’s why you need an alternative that supports both

Despite its name, Viva Goals deals exclusively with OKRs. No SMART goals, KPIs, BSQs etc. It’s the OKR way or the highway. Viva Goals has three main selling points as an OKR system:

  • It’s a way to create Objectives with several connected Key Results and monitor them over time.
  • Data from Viva Goals can be easily extrapolated and shared across the other Viva plug-ins.
  • Like all Viva plug-ins, it’s accessible through Microsoft Teams.

And, of course, these things are useful. But Viva Goals isn’t quite the all-encompassing experience it’s getting pitched as. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to cover your bases.

A stand-alone feature that lacks joined-up thinking

Whilst Microsoft Viva is a fantastic collection of tools, it is by design a collection of tools rather than a fully-fledged app. Because of that, everything can feel a little siloed. And with most HR directors and managers wanting to reduce their tech stack, disjointed is not a word they want to hear.

A great performance platform uses more than just goal updates to keep things on track. Zensai is a great Viva Goals alternative because it takes a more holistic approach. Incorporating elements such as; workplace and 360 feedback allowing performance updates to automatically impact 1:1 and review agendas, and encouraging more employee recognition and visibility are all key additions.

Sadly this are all missing from Viva Goals.

Having OKR alternatives is useful

OKRs are an extremely popular framework for goal setting. Arguably they are the preferred method for most these days. But no framework is perfect, and even OKRs aren’t without their drawbacks.

Best-selling author and tech influencer Bernard Marr has laid out some of the cons of OKRs on his own site:

  • OKRs are easy to set badly. (Learn how to set OKRs well here)
  • OKRs are supposed to unify focus but when everyone’s creating their own, the original aim can become muddled. That means projects can end up lacking company-wide alignment.
  • The specificity of key results can be too prescriptive for some people.
  • OKRs can achieve focus, but having too many defeats that purpose.

This is where having an effective Microsoft Viva Goals alternative can really make a difference. While Viva Goals may be purely OKR-based, that doesn’t mean your business has to be.

SMART Goals can often be the more effective choice for solo projects or small teams. While OKRs excel at the macro level and can create great alignment, SMART Goals break everything down nice and small.

They can also be more suitable for long-term projects, because they create a series of milestones for employees. Work on the same objectives for long enough, and it can feel like it’s going nowhere. But SMART Goals offer a sense of progression that can help sustain employee morale over those big, multi-year projects.

By only offering OKRs, Microsoft Viva Goals has a fundamental flaw: inflexibility.

Zensai offers a joined-up alternative to Viva with engagement, performance and goals

Of course, the fact that we offer SMART Goals isn’t the only reason we’re a great Microsoft Viva Goals alternative. Our platform has everything you need under one roof: employee engagement, performance management and goal-setting all through a weekly check-in.

Microsoft Viva puts a lot of tools at your disposal for employee engagement and performance management. More than half a dozen plug-ins tied together through Microsoft Teams. But you’re still navigating back-and-forth between plug-ins. And the lack of joined up thinking across some of these apps really does dampen their use.

But Zensai gives you performance management, engagement and goal-tracking tools like OKRs in our app for Microsoft Teams.

A weekly check-in is a superior alternative to Viva Goals

When we say one platform can connect engagement, performance management and goal-tracking, we mean it. Check out our full list of features and transparent pricing.

Weekly check-ins keep goals top of mind

Each employee must keep goals top of mind by updating their own progress towards them. Ideally every week or two. That’s because, if progress towards a goal falters, employees can quickly see that they’re going off track and realign their focus. Seeing your OKRs or goals every week as part of your check-in keeps you focused on them. Especially when you do your Zensai check-in through Microsoft Teams.

Unlike Viva Goals, Zensai gives managers the option of using SMART Goals. But don’t worry, Zensai supports OKRs too! That’s why it’s a great Viva Goals alternative. OKRs in Zensai are simple to set, easy to track, and quick to amend when they’re updated regularly through our check-in platform. Managers have full visibility of the goals their team are tracking. This means they can step in early with a solid action plan for under performers and set stretch targets for overachievers.

OKRs in Zensai are simple to set, easy to track, and quick to amend when they’re updated regularly through our check-in platform. Managers have full visibility of the goals their team are tracking. This means they can step in early with a solid action plan for under performers and set stretch targets for overachievers.

An employee check-in drives engagement

At its core, employee engagement is about two-way feedback. And feedback is the foundation of personal development and employee engagement. A weekly check-in encourages people to open up by giving you and your manager a feedback framework. Think of it like bowling with the bumpers up.

Whether you’ve got a stellar boss or a useless lump, when they use Zensai as a Viva Goals alternative, they’ll have the right process to follow to give you feedback that’s actually useful. Employee check-ins also give you real-time insights into company mood so you, your managers, and senior leaders can resolve issues before they escalate.

A workplace check-in supports performance

Make it easier for your employees and their managers to have honest conversations around performance. The employee check-in makes it easier and quicker to give and receive feedback that’s specific and timely. This builds trust and empowers your employees to take control of their own performance rather than leaving it in the hands of their manager. Regular feedback shifts you away from traditional performance reviews, which aren’t very useful anyway. Even the Wall Street Journal agrees!

Use all your check-in data to have better performance conversations

Along with feedback from the check-in, goal-tracking offers valuable data for use during performance reviews. In fact, enabling better performance reviews and 1:1s was a big reason Zensai’s check-in was created in the first place.

Our check-ins mean you’ll both be on the same page from the start of the performance conversation. This is how, along with engagement and goal-tracking, the whole check-in supports better performance management.

But that’s not all. Our employee check-in connects to all our other services. That includes AI-driven sentiment analysis reports, and our 10Pulse employee engagement metric. These allow you to spot trends you’d otherwise miss and gather actionable insights to improve engagement.