What the most successful companies in the world know about their employees
It works for Intel, Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn: these industry giants use objectives and key results (OKRs) to measure employee performance. OKRs connect your employee’s work to your company’s strategic plan. When there’s alignment, employee performance increases and business plans succeed.
Two Key Questions
Every company has its own unique set of business goals. However, all business with OKR plans in place have something in common. Companies with successful programs focus in on two key questions:
1. Where do I want to go? The answer provides a guide map for employee objectives.
2. How will I pace myself to see if I am getting there? The answer generates the key results.
Move beyond “company-speak”
Make a list of acronyms and jargon commonly used within your company. Watch for them as you create OKRs and get rid of terms and phrases that anyone outside of your office will not be able to understand. You’re aiming for clarity and purpose, so keep things clear and concise. Break down each OKR into four elements:
1. A high level objective
2. A detailed description of why that objective is important
3. A summary of how the objective aligns with team and company goals
4. At least three key results that will help achieve that goal
Realistic, sort of…
There’s no growth without discomfort (it’s why they call it growing pains). Conversely, you’ll lose before you even start if your OKRs are impossible feats. There’s a sweet spot; and you have to get there. An effective OKR:
- Is ambitious: People will have to move outside of their comfort zones to accomplish it.
- Is public: No secrets allowed. Everybody gets to see what’s on tap for everybody else.
- Pushes: What innovates? What improves efficiency? Kill an OKR that communicates anything that even remotely resembles “business as usual.”
- Is traceable: There’s no room for general or subjective actions. If you can’t quantitatively measure it, move on.
Less is more
Companies that get results with OKRs schedule regular check-ins between managers and employees. It keeps everybody on track. If there’s too much on everyone’s plate, performance measurement tools becomes a time-sucker. Aim to limit ambitions to five objectives and five key results that are refreshed on a quarterly basis. You’ll see a performance increase when you choose quality over quantity.
Start at the bottom
The fastest way to employee disengagement is disconnecting them from company-wide strategies. Who wants to participate in something they had no help in designing?
Increase employee buy-in and alignment by starting with them. Make sure that more than half of the objectives come from employees. This bottom-up approach leaves plenty of room for leadership and increased employee involvement. What it accomplishes—and accomplishes well, is total engagement.
OKRs do not take the place of employee evaluations, but they are a powerful complement. Make sure that this is understood by your team. If you want everyone to champion this process, they have to understand what it is and what it’s not. Don’t assume everybody “gets it.” One of the most common misperceptions about an OKR program is that it’s just a glorified to-do list.
Ready to rev up your team and reach new company milestones? Contact us today and discover how CrewHu can help your company on the path to employee success!