Introducing AI-powered Skills in Microsoft Viva: A new way to understand and empower the workforce
Published Oct 10 2023 08:02 AM 17.5K Views

Achieving high performance requires leadership to point in the right direction, and a workforce with the right skills to adapt to any challenge. But with many companies stuck in the traditional job-based talent management model, it’s difficult to understand capabilities at the individual or organizational level. In today's fast-paced talent marketplace, the ability to identify dynamic skillsets (a set of abilities that is adaptable, flexible, and continually evolving) gives companies a more robust picture of the talent profile, going beyond the traditional norms of job title and resume data.

However, this transition to a skill-based organization can be challenging, often hindered by low employee engagement in building and updating skills. Recognizing these obstacles, we are excited to introduce Skills in Viva, a new AI-powered service included in the Microsoft Viva Suite to help organizations grow and manage talent.

Skills in Viva will be included in the Microsoft Viva Suite license at no additional cost and will enter into private preview by the end of 2023.


The Architecture of Skills in Viva

At its core, Skills in Viva aims to bridge the gap between traditional work structures and the skills-based future organizations are striving for. By harnessing the wealth of data available through the Microsoft Graph, the comprehensive capabilities of the Viva platform, and the close partnership with LinkedIn's Skills Graph, Skills in Viva offers an AI-driven, employee-validated approach to power high performance organizations.

• Microsoft Graph: Skills in Viva generates skill inferences from various sources, such as emails, documents, meetings, chats, top contacts, and more. In the future it will also leverage additional signals, such as experts in Viva Topics, learning courses, and an organization’s data ingested from connected HCM systems.

• LinkedIn Skills Graph: A dynamic model that leverages real-time signals from 148 industries and over 200 countries to map the global skills landscape, including how 39,000 unique skills relate to each other, to jobs, and to learning content. It provides a foundational skill library that Skills in Viva uses as a common language to enable skill experiences across the Viva suite and Microsoft 365 platform.

With AI reasoning applied on top of this data layer, Skills in Viva can intelligently infer an employee’s skills profile, providing Viva customers with an improved understanding of current workforce skills.



Note: Only aggregate skills data from the LinkedIn Skills Graph will be shared with Viva.

Core Scenarios

In its initial phase, Skills in Viva focuses on three core scenarios:

1. Strategic Workforce Planning: Designed for HR and organizational leaders, this scenario assists in aligning workforce capabilities with business goals. Within Viva Insights analyst workbench, HR teams can utilize a new skills dashboard to visualize skill strengths and weaknesses across the organization, with filter options based on Viva Insights data – like organization, function, proficiency, and trends over time.


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2. Upskilling and Reskilling: Tailored for HR leaders and employees, this scenario empowers organizations to proactively develop their workforce. Within Viva Learning, employees can now select skills to learn, search for courses by skills, and see AI-based skill recommendations to make their learning experience more personalized and relevant.




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3. Skill Discovery in the Flow of Work: Built for everyone in the organization, this scenario seamlessly integrates skill discovery into daily tasks, making it easier for employees to keep their skills up to date. Skills are intelligently suggested for employees based on signals from the Microsoft Graph. Inferred skills are visible only to the employee, who can then confirm, add and manage their skills in skills editor in Viva. This set of user-confirmed skills will show up in an employee’s Microsoft 365 profile card which will be accessible across Outlook, Teams, and other Microsoft 365 apps and services.





Our Strategy

Our approach to Skills in Viva is rooted in a co-innovation approach designed to address real customer pain points and deliver against high priority scenarios, identified through a close partnership with the Microsoft HR team and deep engagement with a set of large enterprise customers, like Lloyds Banking Group.


"As we undertake one of the largest transformations in UK financial services, we know that developing the skills of our colleagues will be the crucial currency needed to deliver on our strategic plan. This collaboration with Microsoft on Skills in Viva will be a major step forward to helping us do this. It unlocks exciting new ways to bring the latest AI-powered skills technology together with our people to supercharge how we work right across the organization. We believe that this long-term investment in skills will be a catalyst for this transformation and ultimately in achieving our growth ambitions to do more to help Britain prosper."

-Sharon Doherty, Chief People & Places Officer, Lloyds Banking Group



The foundation of Skills in Viva is built to address three core challenges that consistently arose across these engagements:

1. Low employee adoption and engagement: Skills in Viva tackles this by bringing skills seamlessly into employees' daily workflow, creating intuitive and relevant touchpoints and nudges to keep skills top-of-mind and promote regular profile updates.

2. Intelligent inferencing of individual skills: We combine activity-level data from Microsoft 365 productivity platforms with advanced AI reasoning to infer user skills with data that is continually refreshed and up to date, resulting in relevant inferences to inform real-time business decisions. Users can then choose to confirm these skill inferences, with confirmed skills displaying on their Microsoft 365 profile card.

3. Disconnected systems and data silos: Skills in Viva adopts an open ecosystem approach, offering customers flexibility in managing their skills. To enable interoperability Skills in Viva will support:

• The ingress and egress of confirmed user skills to ensure skills can flow seamlessly between Viva, 3P, and LOB apps.
• Flexibility in managing your skills library, levering the LinkedIn Skills Graph as an out-of-the-box skills library or augmenting it with your own custom skills library and role-to-skill mapping. Where there are duplicates, Skills in Viva will intelligently remove and default to uploaded custom skills library.

Let’s get started

We’re excited to help organizations unlock the potential of their people, position themselves to take advantage of the coming wave of AI tools, and become high performing organizations. To join us in the journey to a skills-based future with Skills in Viva, here are three ways to get started:

1. Explore Microsoft Viva suite subscription licenses. These will include Skills in Viva (when it becomes available)—see full plans and pricing. If you’re interested in knowing more, or applying for the Skills in Viva preview, contact your Microsoft representative.


2. Read the High-Performance Organization (HPO) Guide containing our latest research findings on high-performance organizations in the new era of work. And learn how a focus on workforce engagement and productivity can help your organization exceed expectations.


3. Read our announcement recap blog to catch up on the news from today, and dive into our announcement of Viva Amplify general availability.


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