Employees set goals using objectives and key results to guide them throughout their careers, but working on the wrong OKRs could be as disastrous as using a hammer in place of a screwdriver. It isn’t always evident when employees set goals that are wrong for them. Often, their OKRs look good on paper but don’t show results in practice. Here are three signs your employees’ OKRs need a review and how you can help them:
1. Their Goals are the Same Check In After Check-In
The point of regular check-ins is to see what progress your employees are making and determine how you can better help them achieve their goals. If someone reports to you with the same OKRs meeting after meeting, it’s evident this person isn’t doing much to accomplish them.
The key in this situation is to figure out why. Your employee might be apathetic toward their position or set a goal they don’t really care about. In this case, the two of you should work together to reassess what your employee prioritizes. What does this person really want out of work, and how can you help him or her get there?
2. They Quickly and Easily Accomplish Their Key Results
Goals are supposed to be aspirational, requiring hard work and dedication. They should be slightly beyond what an employee thinks he or she can comfortably accomplish, thereby encouraging that person to reach new heights within their jobs. This means if your employees constantly meet and exceed their goals, they aren’t setting them with progress in mind.
Persuade these employees to stretch their OKRs a little further or switch things around so they have to work harder to complete them. For example, if a field worker for a nonprofit is collecting signatures and regularly meets her personal goal, have her add 20 names to her daily quota or try canvassing in a different neighborhood. Her OKRs should be challenging, not something she can coast through.
3. Their OKRs Don’t Match Their Strength
It’s good for employees to try to accomplish something new or grow in a different area, but ignoring their own strengths means they’re sacrificing productivity and are probably less engaged in their jobs. According to Gallup, people who don’t get to use their strengths daily are 15 percent more likely to quit than people who do.
Imagine an employee who is a great writer but not the best conversationalist. This person’s goal might be to better inform other employees about critical company metrics. If one of their key results is to hold more meetings, this employee may not be making the most of their strengths. Instead, this person’s OKRs should direct him or her to create reports that are easy for business leaders to digest. He or she gets to capitalize on existing writing skills while still informing company leaders.
Setting the wrong OKRs stifles your employees’ abilities and creativity, making them less productive and engaged in their work. If you notice an issue with an employee’s goals or progress, schedule a time for the two of you to reassess that person’s ambitions, abilities and strengths.