The business value of investing in employee growth
Published Mar 23 2023 07:30 AM 7,263 Views

As organizations try to cut costs in response to a challenging economic outlook, it’s crucial for them to narrow their investments to those that provide a tangible return. We’ve conducted a handful of studies looking at the business impact of investing in employee experience, specifically with Microsoft Viva. The results provide evidence that the Viva apps are effective in driving better business outcomes.


In this blog, we are focusing on one particular aspect of the employee experience: growth. Employee growth encapsulates everything from training and upskilling your workforce to connecting people with the right experts and expertise at your organization. Investments in this area include learning platforms and learning management systems, as well as content and knowledge management systems.


Stock image of three people collaborating on a laptopStock image of three people collaborating on a laptop


Retain your workforce and save money

Investing in employee growth impacts organizations in two main ways: improving employee retention and reducing costs. In the Total Economic Impact study that we conducted with Forrester, we found that improved employee retention is worth $13.1 million to the composite organization1. Providing development opportunities to employees is one of the main factors in getting them to stay. Employees consider opportunities to learn and grow as the #1 driver of great work culture. In the Work Trends Index study that Microsoft conducted last fall, 76% of employees said that they would stay at their company longer if they could benefit more from learning and development support.


On the topic of reducing costs, people spend about an hour a day – or seven weeks a year – searching for or recreating information. Employees lose productive time when they look through resources and search for the right experts, often pausing work for hours or putting it off for days. Focusing on effective content and knowledge management can therefore have great payoffs. According to the Total Economic Impact study, the reduction in search effort for the right content and experts is worth a three-year present value of $9.3 million to the composite organization1.


Organizations and HR leaders are listening to these trends and making them an imperative. In an article published by Josh Bersin last month, he cites a handful of categories in the HR technology market that will be white hot this year, including talent marketplaces, capability academies, employee experience platforms, and mid-market talent suites. While other areas of HR spending are decreasing in response to today’s economic landscape, organizations are still prioritizing finding new ways to improve learner experience and skills development.


The impact of Microsoft Viva on employee growth

While it’s clear that investing in employee growth benefits the business, the challenge is in delivering the right kinds of growth opportunities so that these benefits are realized. One way to ensure this is by investing in solutions that will meet employees where they are, like Microsoft Viva. The Viva solutions that relate to employee growth are Viva Learning, Viva Topics, and Answers in Viva. They disrupt the learning and knowledge management industries by surfacing relevant information, content, and expertise in the flow of work through deep integrations with Microsoft 365.


Viva Learning centers learning around the employee experience, bringing personalized learning content into people’s daily workspaces. Employees can discover and share learning directly in Microsoft Teams, or add learning to their Outlook calendars to prioritize time for growth.


Screenshot of Viva Learning Home viewScreenshot of Viva Learning Home view


Viva Topics applies artificial intelligence to identify knowledge and experts at the company, organizing them and surfacing them when relevant. Topic cards will pop up for highlighted words, names, or phrases as they show up in a Teams chat or email, providing a description and links to related resources and experts.


Screenshot of Topics card in Microsoft Teams chatScreenshot of Topics card in Microsoft Teams chat


Answers in Viva leverages subject matter expertise captured in Viva Topics to help employees to get their questions answered, connecting them with experts and increasing their overall learning. Access Answers in Viva in the Answers tab in the Viva Engage app.


Screenshot of Answers in VivaScreenshot of Answers in Viva


The proof of this new method’s ROI is clear. Often, barriers to learning like lack of time and difficulty navigating resources keep people from fully taking advantage of their organizations' learning investments. Viva Learning breaks down these barriers by intertwining opportunities to upskill and grow throughout the work tools that people use daily. Since launching Viva Learning, the audio manufacturing company Music Tribe saw an 80% increase in the number of employees actively engaging with learning content. On the knowledge management side, professional services firm Real Foundations saw 30,000 hours saved after taking advantage of AI in Viva Topics. This is the equivalent of 15 full-time employees dedicated solely to knowledge classification for an entire year.


In the Total Economic Impact study Microsoft conducted with Forrester last fall, we interviewed customers who had been using Viva long enough to start seeing real results. Customers saw a 50% reduction in time to full productivity via accelerated onboarding as a result of deploying Viva. In addition, there was a 20% reduction in employee attrition. Customers saw total benefits of $55M to $150M from improved productivity and onboarding after deploying Viva Topics. There was a projected return of investment for Viva Topics of 104% to 458% across interviewed customers.


"Viva Learning helps employees focus, which saves them time. People are accessing it 24 hours per day."

- COO at electronics company, The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Viva


"Onboarding has improved. We have curated training depending on position. New hires also like to see that we are a technology-driven company."

- COO at electronics company, The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Viva



You can learn more about Viva Learning, Viva Topics, and Answers in Viva, as well as tips on driving a modern employee growth strategy, in the new webinar: Helping Employees Learn, Grow, and Succeed. Register through the link to watch the on-demand webinar for free.


Screenshot of Viva Growth webinarScreenshot of Viva Growth webinar



More Resources

In case you missed it, here is a recap of upcoming events and new resources:


Upcoming events

Register for the Viva Summit on April 20th! The Viva Summit is an all-digital event featuring research findings, expert insights, panel discussions, a technology showcase, and a thriving community focused on empowering the workforce for accelerated business impacts. There will be a digital breakout session on employee growth, featuring Viva Learning, Viva Topics, and Answers in Viva updates too.





1 Based on the interviews, Forrester constructed a TEI framework, a composite company, and an ROI analysis that illustrates the areas financially affected. The composite organization is representative of the eight interviewees, and it is used to present the aggregate financial analysis of the study. More information on methodology can be found on page 8 in the study.




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