In recent times, we have observed that some of the world’s most successful and leading companies have inclined towards using OKRs. But before we delve into why there is a sudden shift to OKRs by many of the world’s prestigious companies, we must lucubrate about the fast-evolving concept of OKR and the history of its evolution and creation. OKR, abbreviated from the word “Objectives and Key results" has been used for decades by businesses to increase the efficiency of the employees and create a wholesome and nurturing work environment. It is a collaborative goal-setting tool employed by office teams and individual employees to line challenging, ambitious goals to achieve the specified results. The OKR system is meant to align the employees of a company to the goals of the company and motivate and encourage them to attain their goals.
Andy Grove, the former President and CEO of Intel designed this framework to achieve an attainable objective in the workplace. John Doerr, a venture capitalist, and the author of the book, “Measure What Matters” further increased the popularity of the OKR framework. Doerr introduced the philosophy to Google’s founder members in 1999. Google then built its company into a multimillion-dollar business from a singular start-up based on the OKR framework.
Here are a few of the reasons why companies today use the OKR framework in the workplace:
Align and connect employees to company goals
In the workplace, there should be the presence of a sound work environment that inspires the employees and the managers to align their successes to the company’s overall growth. In the absence of a nurturing work environment, there will be a lack of motivation among the employees resulting in inefficiency in tasks assigned. The OKR framework ensures that each employee and each unit of the company knows their worth in the corporate world. It also assures how their collective efforts result in the success of the company.
Give clear direction to each team and individual
The OKR framework specifies the objectives for a company’s or a department’s constant growth and development. It gives a set of instructions to the team informing what their goals should be within the given time frame. The team, as a whole, collaborates to achieve the goals set, and individual members provide their utmost effort and skills to ensure that the objective gets achieved.
Regularly track progress toward objectives
The OKR framework allows a company to track their goals daily or weekly according to their needs instead of bi-annually or annually. The work in the workplace is dynamic and continuously changing with the requirement of the current times. So, the goals and objectives of the company should also have room for change and improvement. It occurs so by catering to the needs of the current scenarios in the corporate market.
Increase efficiency and productivity
A defined set of objectives always helps employees and managers to know exactly what to expect from them and how valued their work is in the company environment. The OKR framework helps employees to channelize their energies towards the company’s success by devoting time, energy, and effort to the set goals. OKRs also maintain a spirit of healthy competitiveness in the workplace where everyone can track their progress. Along with this, they can compare themselves with the progress of their colleagues.
Use OKR meetings every week to check progress and stay motivated
Weekly meetings and updates help the team be aware of each employees’ work and progress. It also creates room for discussion and hence further improvement. By using weekly check-ins, status updates remain focused on the large picture and ensure each conversation ends with clear action items.
Clarity and transparency between working departments
When companies use OKRs, company goals are available for everybody to ascertain, creating a sense of clarity and transparency between colleagues and working departments. When everyone knows each other’s main priorities and tasks, different teams can work together to ensure the appropriate work is getting done at the right time, working cohesively to realize broader goals.
Boost employees morale and empower them to work harder
The OKR framework by creating a collection of defined targets ensures that the employees stay on track with their goals and aspirations and continue motivating others to linger the same.
Analyze the root causes of failure
Weekly check-ins and quarterly or bi-annual reviews help the team stay in line with the objective set for a given time frame. It helps the team analyze any errors made in the course of working and grants the team members to rectify those errors.
Improve management and allocation of company resources
OKR helps different teams working under the company allocate their resources and assign work aligning with the set goals.
Make informed decisions for the welfare of the company
The main objective of OKR is to authorize work efficiently to the employees according to their strengths. When teams are tracking goal progress regularly, leadership can recover insight into learning and development issues.
In conclusion, the first step to successfully setting up an OKR framework for a company or business is to define the goals that the company would like to attain. The goals should be ambitious, attainable, personalized to the company’s needs. The goals should be set in every three, six- or twelve-months span and then make sure it gets achieved. Whether talking about office operations, software engineering, technical assistance, non-profit or more, OKRs work the same for setting goals throughout many company levels. If the process of setting goals is done efficiently, the next step is to redirect teams to work on certain aspects of the goals. Also, redirection for setting personalized goals for a specific department within the company is crucial. Companies like Google, Intel, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more have incorporated the OKR framework into their workplace to reach new heights of success and this framework is fast gaining popularity.
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