What You Need to Know – Setting Human Resources OKRs

November 1, 2018 | Atiim | HCI
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CEO’s everywhere are struggling with execution towards their strategic objectives. Two obstacles to execution they frequently site are alignment and employee engagement. It’s no wonder when you look at the statistics:

  • “95% of employees do not fully understand the company’s goals or what’s expected of them,” Harvard Business Review: “Office of Strategy Management,” Robert Kaplan and David Norton
  • “50% of average workforce time is wasted on non-productive work,” Brookings Institute & SHRM Research

Couple this with an ever-changing global economy, a new way we work in flexible teams, and changing demographics in the workforce and you appreciate the dilemma.

Fortunately, OKRs, Objectives and Key Results offer the perfect methodology to address alignment, and employee engagement, while helping move the enterprise to a culture of accountability and teamwork.

How OKRs Create Alignment, Employee Engagement, and Foster Accountability

OKRs cascade top-down through the organization to ensure everyone is aligned with the company’s top priorities. Alignment really is all about telling your people what is most important and where they should focus their efforts. What sets OKRs apart from other management methodologies is bottom-up planning, employees creating their OKRs, in support of corporate objectives. This bottom-up goal-setting feature is what contributes to engagement and commitment.

The visibility offered in an OKR Software platform allows everyone to see the goals and KRs of every other person in the organization. This transparency enables people to understand how OKRs connect through the organization and how they connect to other departments and teams. Visibility creates an environment of collaboration and teamwork.

Weekly Check-Ins track progress on Key Results and identify any roadblocks or obstacles. This continuous tracking, coupled with end-of-period grading, are crucial to fostering a culture of accountability. A culture where wins are celebrated publicly, and frequently, and failed OKRs require a postmortem to improve performance in subsequent quarters.

The Hard Part, Setting the Right Objectives

As a part of the roll-out of John Doerr’s New York Times bestseller, “Measure What Matters,” Doerr presented a TED Talk on OKRs. The theme of the talk was setting the “right” goals. Ask any OKR consultant or software provider the most frequently asked questions from clients, and potential clients, and it’s unanimous, “How do I set OKR objectives?” “Where do I get the inspiration?”

As companies in an OKR implementation quickly learn, different disciplines call for very different types of goals. Effective OKRs in an HR or People Operations environment can contribute significantly to focus, alignment, engagement, and commitment. Not to mention the impact they have long-term on identifying, hiring, and retaining the best talent.

Here are some of the best practice topics for HR OKRs:

  • Employee Engagement
  • Employee Retention
  • Recruiting Top Talent
  • Employee Productivity
  • Career Development
  • Culture Change
  • Work/Life Balance
  • The Performance Review Process

We hope this short article highlights the role of OKRs in the execution of strategy and provides some ideas for setting your initial Objectives and Key Results.

Do you manage a company or teams either as a CEO or a senior HR executive? Do you set and track objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter, and are you responsible for driving results? If so, please check out a live demo of Atiim OKR & Goals Management Software and we’d love to hear what you think about it. Thank you!