Objectives and key results (OKRs) is a goal-setting methodology that helps organizations get results — fast. That’s why so many organizations are turning to OKRs to help them bridge the gap between strategy and execution.
But how? Below are the benefits that any organization can expect to see after implementing an OKR program.
OKRs cascade from the highest level of an organization down to the individual, breaking down silos to centralize goals, processes, and results. In doing so, work at every level of the business becomes connected to outcomes.
In our 2021 Goal Management Report, we found that 96% of individual contributors who use OKRs say they have a solid understanding of how their work ties into the company’s broader goals. Only 70% of individual contributors who don’t use a goal framework can say the same.
To learn more, check out our whitepaper on Purpose and Alignment.
One key benefit of OKRs is encouragement to do less. Each planning cycle, organizations, teams, and individuals must prioritize only 3-5 objectives and key results.
By focusing on only the most critical outcomes, organizations can increase the chance that those outcomes will be achieved. When focus is combined with alignment, organizations are able to give every employee a clear line of sight between daily work and big-picture goals and objectives. This results in efficient, productive teams that are able to drive business results.
To learn more about how to prioritize using OKRs, check out our blog.
Engaged employees work harder, stay longer, and boost organizational profitability. But how do you keep employees engaged? One critical element of engagement is ensuring employees can see that the work they’re doing — alongside their team and cross-functional partners — is contributing to organizational success.
OKRs make that happen. Because every individual has their own objectives to work toward, OKRs instill a sense of purpose, accountability, and autonomy. And, because they’re keeping a close pulse on progress with key results, there’s motivation to keep moving the needle and turn goals into results.
OKRs are transparent, which keeps everyone in an organization aware of the status of each objective at all times. Having this visibility into goal progress allows leaders to spend their time on more strategic initiatives and quickly identify where they should prioritize efforts, attention, and resources to make the most impact.
Today’s business environment requires organizations to regularly adapt, transition, or transform in order to remain competitive. That’s why agility is one of the best indicators of long-term organizational performance. And it’s why OKRs are designed to be adaptable to change.
Agile organizations and organizations who use OKRs share many things in common. They:
Leaders and managers are also encouraged to hold weekly OKR reviews to assess what goals are on track and which are at risk of falling behind. This allows decision-makers to reprioritize efforts if needed, or to shift around resources in order to support key initiatives.
Want to learn more about how OKRs can help your organization be more agile? Get our eBook on Four Strategies to Navigate Organizational Change with OKRs.
OKRs empower employees to work autonomously while staying on track with overarching company goals. When goals flow from the organizational level down to the individual, it ensures that every team member – no matter where they’re located or what team they’re on – knows what they’re responsible for and by when.
This way, employees don’t get stuck waiting around for their next assignment, or wondering whether they’re working on the right tasks. And, managers no longer have to spend time and energy sending out communications around deliverable timelines, progress updates, and work assignments. Instead, everyone can focus on high-value work and feel confident that their efforts are moving the business in the right direction.
Beyond that, when everyone — from the CEO down to the individual contributor — is tracking toward the same goals, it does away with power dynamics and silos, and gets an organization operating as a cohesive unit. That’s good for culture and engagement, which in turn is good for productivity.
Without OKRs, many leaders are forced to rely on inconsistent progress reports to run their business. The data has typically been cobbled together from multiple systems and teams, and is often outdated. This makes it incredibly difficult to assess how well their organization is executing upon strategy, and how close they are toward reaching their goals. With an OKR program, key results are designed to be measurable so that progress can be easily evaluated.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Take a look at the relationship between culture and performance that emerged when we surveyed over 4,000 workers in the U.S. and U.K.
Notice how alignment, focus, accountability, transparency, and empowered decision-making are all present at organizations where employees rate culture high. It’s no coincidence that these are also the benefits of an OKR program.
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