A surge of companies adopted OKRs during lockdown to make sure remote employees are aligned with company goals. Even if companies used them before the pandemic, many did not use OKRs to their highest potential. It is critical that your OKR system is impactful to every member of your organization. Google adopted an OKR strategy when they started in 1999, and used it to grow from 40 employees to 60,000 today. They still use OKRs today, and they are not the only ones. If you have been using OKRs in your company and feel it is not giving you the desired results, make sure to follow these steps to reap maximum benefits.
What are OKRs?
OKR stands for “Objectives and Key Results”. Objectives are what goals your organization wants to achieve. Everything an employee does should be working towards achieving this objective. Key results are measurements and benchmarks that are in line with achieving the objective. Key results keep employees action-oriented and break down exactly how the organization will work towards the objectives. Set up 3-5 key results set for each objective.
USE MULTIPLE METRICS
It is important to set different key results so that every employee and department knows what to work towards. Financial metrics are often seen as the most important, but are not an actionable key result for every employee. There are many more important metrics to measure for business success. The Society for Human Resource Management reported that out of 600 employees surveyed, only 30 percent of respondents were satisfied with how their work contributed to the overall success of the company. Leaders need to make sure no workers are excluded when setting the OKR strategy. Having key results and objectives to improve customer service, team satisfaction, brand strength, and internal development will have many long term benefits. Good leaders set qualitative goals too.
Each objective should have no more than 5 key results. If you are setting over 10 key results per objective, you need to have more specific objectives. Otherwise, it means your measurements for key results are too small. If managers are using key results to micromanage their team, it will lower employee engagement. Often the employees that know best for what key results need prioritizing are the team members doing the task, so make sure they are being heard when setting these benchmarks. When managers don’t micromanage, their employees have a greater sense of accomplishment and can work towards their fullest potential.
Using Engagedly’s performance management software you can implement OKRs that can be set for any metric and easily shared across the entire organization. Easy visibility of the objectives and how each employee is progressing on key results is critical to maximize efficiency. Provides easy visibility to employees and managers about implementation of OKRs. Employee engagement increases when they can see how their work contributes to achieving larger company goals.
STEP BACK AND REALIGN
If your OKR system has been failing recently, make sure you step back and see if your objectives and key results are outdated. Setting OKRs is a cycle, and needs to be performed regularly. Since the key results are in line with different objectives, each objective should be accomplished and replaced when all the measurable key results are reached. If this doesn’t happen, check if your key results are comprehensive enough. Make sure to avoid short-sighted key results and objectives. Always keep the big picture in mind.
When trying to think of more key results, always put the needs of the customer first. Having an OKR system that is aimed to satisfy the customers will build brand strength and loyalty. OKRs should not reflect the needs of company managers, but the needs of the customers. Always conduct research to see if the behavior or needs of your customers are changing and adjust your objectives and key results accordingly.
USE STRETCH GOALS
If your teams are achieving every goal, you’re doing it wrong. It is important to include stretch goals to push your employees farther. Increase the key results when reevaluating your OKR to see if you are currently underperforming. Make sure managers communicate with their team that it is ok, and expected, not to reach every goal. OKR systems need to be adjusted for unforeseen circumstances and opportunities. The more past data and past OKRs you study before setting new goals, the better those goals can accurately reflect what your employees can achieve. Stretch goals encourage your employees to take risks and think creatively about new strategies to try and achieve them. Techrepublic reports 75% of corporate employees who use a formal goal framework feel empowered to take risks at work. Companies like Google, LinkedIn, Target, and Airbnb have gotten their employees to think outside the box by all using OKRs.
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