In the times when liquid workforce and virtual teams are becoming prominent organizational aspects, ensuring productivity and performance poses novel challenges. This is accentuated especially as increasingly team members work with fluid job descriptions and multiple roles, within matrix organizations or at teams spread across multiple locations. Organizations are becoming highly conscious of their performance management processes and they realize that they must incorporate feedforward as a central tenet.
Today’s gen Z (well, almost as Gen Y is soon catching up with the Facebook generation) are also not motivated to perform by watching their performance on the bell curve. They find such ratings lacking in its potential to guide their growth in line with their ambitions. They are also highly agile, digital and want quick results.
So organizations are driven towards building a proactive accomplishment based culture. Instead of reactive measures based on set metrics, fixed attributes and rigid job descriptions, the required shift encompasses individualized goals over multiple time horizons, quicker feedback and embracing ambition.
Enter OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), a technique which facilitates setting objectives and tracking progress with a lot more flexibility, proactively. It connects the objectives of the company and the teams to measureable results. OKRs are not meant for management to determine promotions, but for employees to keep an eye on what they want to and what they have accomplished. While distantly related to the painstaking goals setting and assessment traditions, OKRs are much simpler, quicker and more fluid. OKRs fit well with the preferences of today’s workforce who want things here and now, love to share and socialize (read, like) and thrives with transparency.
And that is how we, at Advaiya, have also been using OKRs.
- The purpose of setting OKRs is to set a destination, not an approach. Work out ‘how’ later, focus on ‘what’ and ‘when’ first.
- OKRs are at the top of one’s work goal hierarchy, and everything else – our projects, teams, biz dev, investments, etc., would aggregate into them.
- OKRs are not side projects, they cover over 75% of our work. The key results take in operational aspects (measures and goals associated with job areas such as projects, presales, resource management, etc.).
- As the idea is to get results now and here, we start by setting OKRs of shorter durations. Typical time for completion of an OKR could be a few weeks to a few months.
- Individuals frame as many OKRs as they want, spanning across goal areas like skill enhancement, quality, and productivity.
- OKRs focus on measurement, so of course we ensure the key results are quantifiable.
- OKRs once published, are visible to all (Advaiya has also created an #OKRtool where individuals can publish, like and assess OKRs)
People are encouraged to think big! Ambitiousness has to be palpable. And of course, it all revolves around identifying and working towards objective, relevant, and measurable outcomes!
In my next blog post, we will talk about identifying impactful OKRs for higher productivity and effectiveness.