With the new year around the corner, as a CHRO, you must be working out your organizational priorities for 2022. This is the perfect time for you to reflect on the year that has been and create a plan for the next 12 months. Based on our experience of working with the people managers and CXOs of fast growing companies, we know that having specific objectives for each month is ideal to ensure maximum effectiveness. It not only gives you a roadmap to follow through, but also makes retrospective reviews much easier at the end of the year.
Here is a detailed guide for each month of 2022 that CHROs like you can leverage to translate your strategy to results.
1. January: Introduce OKRs
Start your year by introducing OKRs to your team. Setting OKRs can help you set the tune and priorities for the entire year. However, before you implement them, ensure that all your team members are on the same page about the what, why and how of OKRs. A few top practices to undertake in the first month of the year are:
a. Set the context on what are OKRs and offer a few examples to strengthen the understanding. Put simply, help your team members comprehend what are objectives i.e. where do we want to go and key results, i.e. how do we ensure that we are on the right path? Avoid the common mistakes while setting your quarterly OKRs.
b. Create a business case for setting OKRs. You must focus on highlighting the importance and need for OKRs to facilitate employee buy-in. Some of the top benefits for OKRs include:
- Creating accountability
- Aligning individual and organizational goals
- Facilitating communication
- Driving a high performance culture
c. Create a plan of how you will set, implement, monitor and revise your OKRs. Focus on identifying the right OKR tools to help facilitate the process and achieve maximum results. You can also leverage a few OKR templates to familiarize your team members with what successful OKRs look like.
2. February: Implement OKRs
Once your team understands the importance and broad context of OKRs, focus on the second month to implement the OKRs. Furthermore, provide your managers with the right tools, competencies and resources to facilitate smooth implementation. The following practices can help you accelerate your growth journey with OKRs:
- Implement OKRs collectively to ensure that everyone has clear visibility into what the OKRs are as well as a clarity on their responsibility and ownership in the entire process.
- Advocate regular check-ins and build effective templates for the same. You may want to use tools that conduct pulse surveys to gauge employee sentiment and progress on OKRs on a daily/ regular basis. These regular check-ins based on expert templates can help you remove operational blocks and improve performance.
- Finally, invest in augmenting the effectiveness of your line managers who are ultimately the custodians of ensuring OKR progress. Equip them with AI driven 1:1 recommendations and templates to check-in with team members on OKRs and drive performance and feedback.
3. March: Grade OKRs
As a natural course of action, you must follow implementation with grading and measuring. In March, you should focus on the approach to OKR grading to ensure that you are able to evaluate the progress made on all objectives as a factor of achievement of key results.
A few practices to grade OKRs include:
- Identify the metrics and scale on which you will grade or measure your OKR. Generally, OKRs are measured on a scale of 0.0-1.0. Here, you may want to measure the progress on each key result and average out the grade to evaluate the achievement of your objective.
- Grade your OKRs as a preliminary exercise and set a cadence to undertake the same and monitor progress on a regular basis. The pace of progress from 0.0-1.0 can help you identify roadblocks and trends, which can further become the basis for revising your OKRs.
- While grading OKRs, it is important to remember that OKRs are not the same as KPIs. However, you can make your OKRs work with KPIs for the maximum results.
On a close look, it is clear that you should spend the first quarter of the year focusing on setting, implementing and monitoring OKRs. This will help you align everyone on the organizational vision and specific priorities for the year along with the intended outcome.
4. April: Focus on 1:1 conversations
You can use the second quarter of the year to facilitate better communication practices as the priorities for the year have already been set. In April, you should help your line managers set cadence for 1:1 performance and engagement conversations with their team members. Help the managers by:
a. Sharing best practices on how to conduct effective 1:1 meetings, including:
- Setting a clear agenda
- Having a regular cadence and blocking calendars in advance
- Including everyone on the team
b. Highlighting the top 1:1 meeting questions to make the most out of meeting, revolving around
- Engagement and satisfaction
- Productivity and performance
- Goals and objectives
- Team and manager improvement
c. Providing tools to facilitate AI driven 1:1 recommendations and templates to drive performance & retention
5. May: Promote continuous feedback
Powered by 1:1 conversations, you also need to promote continuous feedback in your organization. May will be a good time to kickstart the same. With continuous feedback, you can predict any potential barriers to your goals and objectives before they become severe risks. To facilitate continuous feedback, you can:
- Implement pulse surveys using SuperBeings’ research driven framework, customized for your organizational need to collect feedback regularly
- Analyze the responses and employee pulse in real time to unblock teams and eliminate risks right as they surface
- Take action based on insights to drive OKRs, engagement and performance improvement with guided 1:1 conversations and templates
6. June: Recognize and reward
As you reach the middle of the year, it is important to make your team members feel that you value their contribution and hard work. Again, to a major extent, the onus of recognition lies on your line managers and as the CHRO, you need to prepare them for those meaningful 1:1 conversations for recognition. To create a culture of recognition, you can:
a. Share the need for recognizing a job well done, including:
- Increased motivation and productivity
- Reduced voluntary turnover
- Greater levels of engagement and employee satisfaction
- Better customer service
b. Ideate and implement creative ways to recognize your employees, which don’t necessarily need big budgets, like:
- Give a shout out or put in words of appreciation on your intranet
- Offer small rewards like gift cards
- Give an extra day off
- Have special awards for different purposes, like going an extra mile, completing targets before deadline
c. Focus on 360 feedback for holistic recognition. Take reviews and feedback from everyone your team members have worked with and recognize efforts that may not directly link to their KRAs, but have been instrumental in organizational growth. For instance, if someone has gone beyond their role to help a new joinee get comfortable in the organization, recognize their effort.
7. July: Undertake mid year OKR check-in
With half of the year over, it is an ideal time to take a stock of where you have reached in your OKR journey. A mid-year check-in can help you gauge how your performance has been with respect to each objective and also give you a chance to realign in case of any change in the priorities. Having an OKR tool can be beneficial to map all the OKRs at one place and make any necessary changes. For an effective check-in, you can:
- Measure the OKR progress on your identified scale or metrics. Gauge the headway for each key result and identify any roadblocks.
- Relook at all the OKRs and confirm whether or not they are still relevant. In the uncertain and dynamic market conditions today, business priorities are constantly changing. This change must be adapted in the OKRs as well.
- Stay away from treating OKR check-in as a platform for performance review. Instead of using it for employee appraisal, see it as a means to improve overall progress on the key results.
8. August: Facilitate manager effectiveness
Once you have realigned your OKRs, it is time to focus entirely on manager effectiveness. As the main point of contact between organizational leadership and the employees, the level of effectiveness that your managers display has a direct impact on your growth and success. Effective managers are able to motivate employees to perform better, facilitate greater retention and positively impact the bottom line. Here are a few ways you can promote manager effectiveness:
- Focus on emotional intelligence coaching and help your managers nurture empathy,
- Promote a culture of communication and encourage your managers to conduct 1:1 conversations and meetings with their team members,
- Encourage your managers to coach and mentor their team members and become their advocates and sponsors within and outside the organization to promote their growth and development.
9. September: Understand the drivers of engagement
As you move towards the end of the year, it is time to shift your focus towards engagement to gauge whether or not your efforts so far have been able to create the experience you seek or not. However, before you roll out the survey, you need to:
- Understand the engagement priorities and drivers that you seek to measure. There are several attributes of a workplace that come together to foster a sense of engagement, including motivation, satisfaction, belongingness, etc. Gauge which parameters you would like to measure. Preferably choose the ones which will have a business impact. Here’s a list of 11 employee engagement metrics for you to choose from?
- Identify the key questions for each of the drivers to ensure that you get a comprehensive understanding of the level of engagement.
- Use this as an opportunity to understand what engagement means to your organization and what exactly you see as an outcome of the survey. You need to have clear outcomes and objectives for the survey
10. October: Roll out the engagement survey
Once you are aligned on exactly what the survey should result in, you are ready to roll out the survey. The last quarter is ideal for the annual employee engagement survey roll out. Some of the best practices for a successful roll out and to facilitate maximum participation include:
- Clearly communicating the context and need for survey participation. Share with your team members how their responses will bring in the changes they need and can help address any concerns they may have. Don’t just send out the survey, rather encourage your line managers to set the tone and rationale to create a sense of importance.
- Sharing timelines and giving employees free time to participate. If you leave the survey open for an indefinite time, you will not receive many responses. Have a deadline to create a sense of urgency. Furthermore, don’t expect employees to complete the survey during a regular workday. Encourage your managers to help their employees set some time aside from work to fill the survey, else it will just be another added burden.
- Providing incentives to those who complete the survey within or before the deadline. This will encourage others to do the same, thereby, increasing the number of respondents.
11. November: Analyze the responses
With responses from your team members in place, you need to analyze the survey results and get ready to take action. Always thank your team members for participation and share with them the next steps and timelines for action. To use results effectively to drive change and impact, you should:
- Evaluate favorability to understand how strongly your employees agree or disagree on various engagement trends you sought to measure with your survey. Furthermore, ensure that you study the trends for various employee segments as well, like women, millennials, etc.
- Communicate the key findings with team members. Highlight the progress since the last survey. Furthermore, share the areas of concerns or challenges as identified by the responses and invite ideas to address the same. Facilitate collective brainstorming.
- Create a plan and decision points to address the identified challenges. Have structured metrics to define what success will look like for each point and communicate the same across the organization.
12. December - Annual performance reviews
Reserve the last month of the year for annual performance reviews for each employee. Encourage your managers to take this opportunity to have 1:1 conversations with each team member to not only evaluate their performance, but also gauge their strengths and weaknesses as well as goals and aspirations. For effective reviews, you should encourage the managers to:
- Be prepared beforehand with a list of points that may be discussed. Instead of a completely vague conversation, your managers can focus on a guided discussion with some intended outcomes from the same.
- Facilitate a dialogue. Instead of simply sharing the review with the team member, give them a chance to share their side of the story as well. Seek feedback from them on their performance as well as for the organization as a whole.
- Create concrete next steps at the end of the review. Share direct examples of what worked well and what needs improvement with focus on how to improve. Review and track the progress on each of the action items.
It is clear that the last two months of the year are oriented towards making decisions and taking action for organizational growth. The survey results and performance reviews can help you and your managers to reflect on the year gone by and prepare for the year to come. Based on the employee pulse, you can set priorities for the new year with clear goals and action items and steps to achieve those goals.
Use this time to facilitate collective decision making on OKRs, continuous performance management, employee engagement, and manager development to drive business performance. If you want to integrate and streamline your efforts into one single place, using tools like SuperBeings can help you achieve unparalleled growth with the power of aligned teams, effective managers and a motivated workforce.