As Organizations Aim To Scale Up, It Is Crucial That Every Employee Is Working Towards Achieving An Objective That Is Aligned To That Of The Company.
While this has been done in most organisations already, the individual tasks are long term and are reviewed only at the year-end.
The OKR (Objective and Key Results) is a goal-setting methodology which improves the existing process by setting objectives frequently, making the tasks short term, and increasing the feedback frequency.
What Is OKR Framework?
OKRs provide a framework that helps in setting, communicating and monitoring goals in an organisation such that all employees work in one direction towards a common goal.
Setting optimal objectives is most essential for a business to scale up. And while you are on your objective achieving journey, keeping a track of step by step achievements at various levels will help you pave your way for the future.
Thus, while you align and compare your objectives and key results (OKRs), it helps you validate your progression towards your objective.
Designed by Andy Grove and popularised by John Doerr, objective resembles ‘what you want to achieve’ while key results reflect upon ‘how you are going to achieve your objective’
To make sure that the entire company works towards a universal objective or a set of objectives, objective setting should be done with utmost precision. The senior management along with the board and the CEO may decide the company’s goals and objectives. These objectives can then be communicated at the departmental level where departmental objectives can be set and so on where each employee or team works towards a specific objective which is in sync with the bigger objective.
Similarly, it is essential that your objects are both time bound and time specific. Do not hesitate to set different objectives to be achieved in a few weeks, in a month, quarterly, yearly or in 3 years.
Steps For Implementing OKR Framework
Here are the steps that will help you implement your OKRs:
1. Setting Of OKRs:
Your OKRs need to be well documented, specific and clear to ensure synchronization. Anything that creates confusion will cause a hindrance in the achievement of OKRs.
Ideally, OKRs should be neither too easy nor too difficult to achieve and should be measurable, flexible and transparent.
While you set, document and dictate OKRs, remember to:
Consider Past Records and Industry Trends:
The past records of the employee should be taken into consideration while setting OKRs. A very demanding result will be de-motivating while an easily achievable objective might not push him/her to perform their best.
Similarly, studying industry trends will help you determine which key area to focus on. You cannot expect a steep increase in the sale of landlines in the ear of mobile phones.
While you may choose to set OKRs for your subordinates, if done without their inputs they may not be very fruitful. Simultaneously this also helps to address their concerns which will ultimately lead to better fulfillment of the objectives. This is also integral towards HR Best Practices.
2. Track The Progress Of OKRs:
Once your OKRs are set, the next important thing is to make sure that everyone sticks to it. For this, it is essential that team meetings and interactions are held where progress on these OKRs are discussed.
Employees who work in teams may discuss everyday or alternatively while those who work independently may submit a progress report weekly or fortnightly. Interdepartmental progress meetings may also be held monthly or quarterly.
Moreover, even when parts of the job are carried out individually, such as in marketing, having such team discussions and meetings encourages communication and exchange of knowledge tactics within the employees apart building an environment of healthy communication.
Review The OKRs:
In the current dynamic era with a rapidly changing economy, constant improvisation and innovation and changing consumer behaviour being stubborn with your OKRs might be more damaging than useful. Thus, it is important that you review not just the progress of tasks but the OKRs themselves, from time to time.
Moreover, most companies, especially start ups widely experiment with their OKRs. In case of OKRs with longer timelines, your own organization must have made some changes that may require you to change the OKRs.Thus, when you see something is not working or some change that can increase productivity, modify your OKRs.
While you review your OKRs, you can take into consideration the performance of a particular employee, team, company and even industry trends. You may even compare yourself to a competitor company and set more competitive OKRs.
None of this would make any sense if performance is not evaluated. Thus, to make sure that OKRs are effective, evaluate the performance of the OKR in sync with the company’s bigger goals.
OKR And Performance Management:
Most organisations who use the OKR system have also reported benefits in the areas of prioritization, planning and focus by making priorities clear, helped teams know what to work on and what not to work on, implement changes if the current action plan does not contribute to the OKRs and stay focused towards one or more objectives.
Similarly, following the OKR system has helped organisations establish an environment of measurement and accountability that helps them stay on track by creating checkpoints.
Organisations have also observed a paradigm shift where the employees don’t merely follow instructions but also think about action cause and effect. This comes with an added sense of autonomy, flexibility and creativity amongst employees thus resulting in better work satisfaction for the employee.
Has your organisation implemented OKR? How has OKR helped you and what are the challenges that you faced in setting OKRs?