You’ve no doubt heard that major companies like Google, LinkedIn and Intel have their teams create objectives and key results. OKRs provide a variety of benefits – they’re easily measured, they increase engagement and they keep your employees working toward the business’s goals while also striving to achieve their personal ambitions. Here are five reasons your organization should start using OKRs:
1. OKRs Align Everyone’s Goals
It’s hard for large enterprises to manage every employee’s individual aspirations while also working toward the success of the business. There are simply too many people. You could add a full-time Goal Manager to your HR team, but a better idea is to have your teams create their own OKRs. These types of goals are transparent, so everyone from the highest executive to entry-level hires can see how their goals align with those of their peers. This visibility keeps everyone aligned with the business.
“Key results provide the framework for your team’s objectives and show specifically what needs to be done to accomplish them.”
2. OKRs Provide Structure
Goal setting is a great process, but employees need a way to measure their success. That’s where the “key results” portion of OKRs comes into play. Key results are a handful of quantitative responsibilities that help your employees complete their goals. They provide the framework for your team’s objectives and show specifically what needs to be done to accomplish them.
Consider an editor-in-chief whose goal is to spread her magazine to a foreign market. Her key results could include:
- Increase her magazine’s presence in this new market by attending at least three local conventions by the middle of the year.
- Feature one guest writer from this new market each month.
Without such structure, it would be much harder for this editor to complete her objective.
3. OKRs Are Ambitious Yet Encouraging
The best OKRs push employees above and beyond what they think they’re capable of. These goals don’t let people remain at the status quo, performing at the same comfortable level. They’re designed to help your workforce grow.
At the same time, these goals shouldn’t reach so high that employees are unable to meet them. If your team thinks their OKRs are impossible to reach, they become discouraged instead of inspired, and their engagement drops. The key is to find a healthy medium between challenging and overwhelming.
4. OKRs Keep Employees Engaged
Employee engagement is at a standstill. According to Gallup, engagement levels have wavered between 30 and 33 percent since 2011. OKRs, when combined with ongoing performance management, help employees design their career paths and create goals that suit their individual ambitions. They’re not bound to doing only what their employer wants. True, employee goals should reflect the needs of their business, but each person has the flexibility to tailor these objectives in a way that suits them.
5. OKRs Are Adaptable and Change According to Shifting Priorities
Neither the needs of your business or those of your employees remain the same forever. Luckily, OKRs are adaptable and can be reassessed with each performance review or employee check-in. As members of your team gain more knowledge and experience, they may find their career goals have changed. Their original OKRs should adapt to match to their new ambitions.
OKRs benefit companies of all sizes in all industries. Adding them to your style of performance management promotes an engaged, active workforce.