Here’s why you need to ensure good workplace communication

Turn your workplace into all around by knowing exactly how to improve communication at the workplace.

7

min read

We've all been in the situation when we've left a meeting with no idea what to do next. You might have thought you were the only one who felt this way. But hang in there because, studies say that most employees don't get clear orders, while some managers say they're uncomfortable speaking with their employees in general. Improper communication can even lead to problems like delay in completion of tasks or can sometimes even lead to losing out when it comes to achieving the perfect outcome.

Table of contents

What is workplace communication?

employees communicating

Workplace communication is the verbal and nonverbal exchange of information and ideas between one person/group and another inside an organization. It includes emails, text messages, notes, and phone conversations, among other things. Effective communication is essential for getting the task done, as well as for developing trust and enhancing staff productivity.

Workers come from a variety of cultures and origins, and they may be accustomed to different norms. 

Effective communication is essential for increasing employee cooperation and avoiding missed deadlines or activities that could harm the organization. Communication gaps result from ineffective communication, which generates confusion, loses time, and diminishes productivity. For example, an employee will not be able to complete his/her task if not the required task is not communicated in the right manner. To achieve certain development goals, managers and lower-level employees must be able to communicate clearly and effectively with one another through verbal and nonverbal communication.

Information is absorbed in various ways by different people and so, in order to ensure that everyone understands what is being said, the communication approach must be simple, clear, and precise. Using visuals to illustrate important information can help people understand it better. 

The presence of trust in an organization will also make communication easier to employ. To build a tension-free workplace, coworkers must establish relationships. Messages should be delivered and received in their original format. Bullying, taking credit for someone else's work, and free-riding should all be avoided in the workplace if you want to have healthy relationships.

Types of communication in the workplace 

Types of communication in the workplace

Each category that comes under the various types of communication, plays a crucial role in exchanging information with your coworkers and consumers. Furthermore, when you prioritize effective communication in your company, the natural result will be a positive, efficient, and productive working culture.

Understanding the major benefits and cons of each style of workplace communication can help you discover the appropriate balance of successful communication in your company. 

Here are the main types of communication at workplaces:

Oral Communication / Verbal Communication

The use of words to communicate information is known as verbal communication. Written and spoken words are both included in verbal communication. Oral communication, on the other hand, refers to the act of speaking words. 

However, these days, words are frequently used interchangeably, and you'll see verbal in many job adverts when referring to spoken communication. If you've worked for any length of time, you'll probably agree that talking to people is usually the greatest option, at least in the beginning if it's available. For example, if your boss needs you to create alterations in a given project, communicating where exactly the alterations are required verbally, could save time and bring out better results. Aside from being the quickest and most efficient means to convey your message, there are other advantages.

Non-Verbal Communication

When communicating, it's impossible to avoid using nonverbal clues. You will be offering them whether you intend to or not. The important thing is to make sure that the cues you give off are appropriate and consistent with your message.

To make your message obvious, all of your non-verbal communication must be consistent with your verbal communication, just as you wouldn't shake your head and say yes. When used effectively, good nonverbal communication leads to improved overall communication, reduced confusion, and improved rapport.

You can speak the right words in the wrong way and receive a completely different response. One specific word can have different meanings to it, which is why clarifying what exactly you mean to your fellow employees is very important. For example, if you require no changes in the beginning of a document but you do require changes at the end, specifying exactly where you need those changes will eliminate chances of misunderstandings. And chatting to someone without making eye contact makes them seem as if you aren't paying attention. 

Horizontal or Lateral Communication

Communication between individuals, teams, groups, or departments at the same hierarchical level in an organization is known as lateral communication, sometimes known as horizontal communication. 

More open discussion, better collaboration, and idea-sharing are all advantages of lateral communication, which can lead to improved creativity and reduced miscommunication, confusion, and duplication of effort between teams where roles overlap or both teams are working on the same project. For example, create more room for brainstorming more often so that all your team members feel included and valued and at the same time you get more ideas to make that will help you make better decisions.

Formal communication

Formal communication is another example of the various sorts of workplace communication, and it means exactly what it says. When you communicate in a formal manner, you are communicating in a formal manner. Formal communication's goal is to convey information in a professional, business-like manner. This isn't to say that you can't be professional when chatting casually, but it does indicate that you shouldn't use slang or communicate in a way that's too familiar or casual. With time, you should be able to form positive relationships with your coworkers, manager, and anyone else with whom you do business on a daily basis.

Communication from top to down

Vertical communication is the communication between people, teams, or departments in an organization at different organizational levels. It is the polar opposite of horizontal communication. Consider the relationship between you and your supervisor.

Communication in Writing

Written communication exists in addition to email. Anything that involves putting pen to paper or typing is considered a written communication. Emails, chat, Slack, text, PowerPoint presentations, or even simply taking notes that may be utilized or referenced later are all examples of this. Anything in which the words are written down.

Communication through images

If you've ever had to give a presentation, you've almost certainly employed visual communication. Visual communication includes more than simply words; it also includes images, graphs, and other visual displays. 

Because people absorb information in different ways, employ visuals if you're giving a presentation to a group of people. This will ensure that everyone's attention is captured. When you're trying to convey a hard topic or have a lot of facts to give, visual communication is also useful. You'll be able to explain the complexity in a concise and straightforward manner by using visuals, tables, graphs, and photos.

Listening

Listening is the last but certainly not the least of the various types of professional communication. Which may come as a surprise. While listening is included in nonverbal communication, it is such an important aspect of communication that it demands special attention. 

When it comes to workplace communication, ignoring listening or not giving it the credit it deserves is the best way to stay stressed. When people don't listen, they make mistakes, lose time, duplicate work, and even break up relationships. Despite this, it isn't usually regarded as one of the most important forms of communication in the workplace.

Why should you maintain good workplace communication? 

Communication is essential for the smooth running of the workplace, and the quality of communication has a substantial impact on job outcomes. 

Improving communication can be accomplished by using signs or symbols that are familiar to all participants in the communication process, which may include not only words but also imagery, gestures, and other elements derived from the company's shared culture and experience. To better communicate the information to the employee, gestures or drawings can be employed. Because quality communication is the foundation for work success, successful communication is carefully thought out and purposefully given.

Effective communication in the workplace can help to eliminate difficulties and boost productivity. This means, there will be fewer complications when it comes to task completion, leading to a higher level of productivity. The ability to communicate effectively at work can boost overall productivity and help to build a strong team. 

Employees will be more interested in cooperating and finding the best answer jointly if they consult with each other and consider the opinions of others. Managers can better understand their employees' talents and skills by establishing strong communication, and then giving clear directions to the people who are best suited to the task, boosting the overall efficacy of each project. It's not only about how well you collaborate with others in the office when it comes to communication. It's all about forming connections, reducing errors, and, most importantly, functioning as efficiently as possible. As a leader, one of the most important things you can do is encourage effective communication patterns in the workplace. Because numbers aren't deceiving.

7c’s of effective communication 

Completeness

The communication must be complete. It should convey all facts required by the audience. The sender of the message must take into consideration the receiver’s mind set and convey the message accordingly.

Conciseness

Conciseness means wordiness, i.e, communicating what you want to convey in least possible words without forgoing the other C’s of communication. Conciseness is a necessity for effective communication.

Consideration 

Consideration implies “stepping into the shoes of others”. Effective communication must take the audience into consideration, i.e, the audience’s view points, background, mind-set, education level, etc. Make an attempt to envisage your audience, their requirements, emotions as well as problems. Ensure that the self-respect of the audience is maintained and their emotions are not at harm. Modify your words in the message to suit the audience’s needs while making your message complete.

Concreteness 

Concrete communication implies being particular and clear rather than fuzzy and general. Concreteness strengthens confidence.

Correctness 

Correctness in communication implies that there are no grammatical errors in communication

Courtesy

Courtesy in message implies the message should show the sender’s expression as well as should respect the receiver. The sender of the message should be sincerely polite, judicious, reflective and enthusiastic.

Clarity

Clarity implies emphasizing on a specific message or goal at a time, rather than trying to achieve too much at once.

Here’s what can go wrong

As our company grows and we begin to interact with additional people, we establish different relationships and communication channels. A sender, a message, and a recipient are all part of every communication. 

This may appear to be a simple concept, but communication is a really complicated issue. When all communication is multiplied by the number of possible communication routes, we obtain a complex network of possibilities and options with a number of common communication problems and obstacles. Here are a few challenges that can come in the way:

Using technology to spread information

Email and intranet communication are faceless conduits. Stepping out and speaking to people face-to-face is one of the most challenging hurdles to successful communication in the workplace, especially when you have a difficult message to deliver.

Ease of communication

When it comes to professional communication difficulties, the belief that everyone can communicate well is possibly the most destructive. Some managers are unable to communicate and are unable to assist others in expressing themselves.

Expectations and prejudices.

This might lead to stereotypes and incorrect assumptions. People frequently hear what they expect to hear rather than what is spoken, and as a result, they make incorrect judgments.

Cultural differences.

People's social interactions, as well as how they express their emotions, differ drastically among countries. For example, the concept of private space varies widely depending on culture and social circumstances.

Smart tips to improve communication at work

Laying a solid foundation

When an employee has faith in you, they are more inclined to come forward and discuss when an issue arises. Establishing a rapport with your staff is a terrific method to start laying that foundation.

Schedule 1:1s on a weekly or monthly basis

Setting a time to communicate can often be all that is required to establish channels of contact. If you're busy and your employee wants to share recent struggles, concerns, or even accomplishments, she could feel that she's bothering you during the day. You'll learn more about the inner workings of what's going on at the office and have a better understanding of how to iron out the wrinkles if you schedule a recurring meeting to touch base.

Get outside the office

Spending hours and weeks at a time in the workplace can have a negative impact on our mental health, particularly during the winter months. A change of location might often be all it takes to wake individuals up and revitalize their vitality. Leaving the office does not imply squandering productive time. Introduce periodic work-from-home Fridays or suggest a local coffee shop where your team can meet. You can bring the office wherever you want if you have the correct equipment.

Pay attention

People frequently associate communication with conveying one's own message, yet effective communication is truly a two-way street. It's tough to get on the same page if you're not actively listening to what the other person is saying. Ask clarifying questions and give the conversation your whole attention. Avoid multitasking or formulating an answer before the other person has finished speaking. Active listening is difficult, but it is worthwhile.

Company culture

Your company's culture should include communication. It enables teams to connect with one another and aligns them with the aims of your company. This can be accomplished by incorporating employee engagement strategies into the workplace. Also, brand your intranet, office design, business documentation, and other locations where you may symbolize what your company stands for to promote your fundamental values.

Reach out

Some folks are bashful no matter how you slice it. Introversion is not a medical condition. Introverts are equally as useful and skilled at their jobs as aggressive workers. Reach out to introverted personnel and engage in interactions with them in which they feel free to offer their thoughts. If a group of employees is absent from the workplace, it is impossible to improve communication at the workplace.

Benefits of having effective workplace communication 

Better employee engagement

In today's workplace, employee engagement is a constant problem. And, while some companies use all sorts of strange and amazing strategies to increase engagement, they frequently forget the basics. All other tactics or ideas should be built on the foundation of open, day-to-day communication. Employees have a clear grasp of their function and how it fits into the business in a climate of transparency and trust, which is a vital step in ensuring they are engaged with their work and their management.

Encourages creativity.

When employees are encouraged to share their ideas and perspectives, a conducive climate for innovation can be created. Workers who are free to provide feedback and fine-tune ideas are more likely to think outside the box and express such ideas and methods to their coworkers and management.

Maintains a positive work environment.

Maintaining the status quo in the workplace relies heavily on open communication. People of various races, cultures, religions, and personalities are commonly seen in the workplace. With so many variances, it's only natural that there will be some friction.

It helps in crisis management.

Any company coping with a crisis, whether internally or publicly, needs to communicate clearly and transparently. In reality, without communication, a crisis can spread and affect other divisions as well as a company's brand. Internally, proactive communication will ensure that employees respond in a coordinated manner, reducing the impact of the event.

Creates a better impression

A corporation that is known for its ability to communicate effectively both internally and with clients has a positive public image. These businesses are demonstrating that they have nothing to hide and are open and transparent in every element of their operations. This can have a favorable impact on hiring, investment, and corporate expansion.

The earlier you try to get rid of factors that give rise to Improper communication, the better you can grow both, as an organization and as a team. All it takes is going a step further to pave the way to achieve goals faster, and this can only be possible with proper communication at your workplace.

Dhanashree Jadhav

Community, SuperBeings

Hi! I am Dhanashree. I'm currently building a super community for talent management folks to gain knowledge and share experiences at SuperBeings

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Performance
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x
min read

How to strategically align compensation and performance management?

The right compensation management practices and policies can make or break your employee experience. Of course, there is merit in linking compensation and performance to drive organizational success, it can lead to several questions and implementation problems as well. 

Read on to get all your compensation management related questions answered.

Why is fair compensation important?

Let’s start with the very basic question of why fair compensation is important and the merits it brings along. It is no surprise that if you are paid more and are compensated according to your efforts, you are likely to give in your 100% and stay with an organization longer. However, there are other factors that support fair compensation:

  • Reduce the risk of turnover: 50% employees are more likely to leave if they believe they are paid below market
  • Retain high-potential performers: High-potential talent brings 91% more value to an organization
  • Increase job satisfaction: Compensation/pay and benefits are 2 of the top 3 drivers of job satisfaction 

Thus, fair compensation as a part of compensation linked performance management has the potential to facilitate better employee outcomes such as engagement, experience and performance. 

Should compensation be tied to performance reviews?

To make compensation fair and inclusive in all aspects, it needs to have a clear foundation. Most organizations have relied on performance reviews as a way of reflecting on performance as a means of compensation decisions. However, there are several competing views both for and against tying compensation to performance reviews. 

Benefits of tying compensation and performance reviews

  • Compensation can act as a great motivator for employees to perform well, which can be reflected in their performance reviews
  • Enable employees to get a clear understanding of what rewards or recognition they get with an increasing level of performance
  • Give employees the opportunity to see the direct value of their performance in tangible ways
  • At an organizational level, it helps to align inputs (compensation) with outputs (performance), enabling efficient resource allocation
  • Ensure that compensation hikes and appraisals are seen as transparent and not arbitrary

Pitfalls of tying compensation and performance reviews

  • It focuses on only those aspects of performance which are under review and not the overall and subtler forms of organizational contribution for employees
  • Performance linked compensation system leads to employees giving themselves  more lenient ratings during self reflection during 360 performance review. Thus, driving the focus away from self reflection as a development practice
  • Biased peer review can also prevent fair compensation, especially when the departmental budgets are limited
  • Sometimes, it creates a blame oriented workplace culture and discourages collaborative problem resolution

Clearly, there are both sides to the story.

The most favorable outcome will be to keep performance as one of the parameters for compensation, but not the sole foundation.

Additionally, as one of the best practices, performance reviews can be conducted on a regular basis, where some are only developmental in nature and others can be tied to compensation management. 

5 compensation best practices today

As discussed, focusing only on performance reviews for compensation management needs a relook. Working with growing organizations, we have curated a list of the top five performance and compensation management practices you can leverage:

1. Keep up with market trends

Ensure that your compensation structure aligns with the market trends so your employees don’t feel underpaid and leave.

  • Conduct a dipstick survey to understand appropriate pay scales
  • Keep your pay structures updated based on market corrections
  • Leverage custom employee pulse surveys to regularly to check their perception on compensation according to market trends

2. Be clear about relationship between performance and compensation

Provide complete transparency and clarity to your employees on what constitutes high levels of performance and what it will take to earn a raise or appraisal.

  • Highlight specific job competencies that link compensation and performance management
  • Don’t rely completely on performance reviews as a means to determine compensation, let them be developmental in nature
  • Gauge performance against pre defined competencies over time

3. Have well defined criteria

Have specific, well defined and measurable criteria for the compensation strategy to ensure that there is complete transparency. 

  • Develop or choose metrics which are easy to comprehend
  • Try to quantify the value for each criteria, including years of experience, education, etc.
  • Account for difference in compensation based on skills, performance levels, among others

4. Communicate benefits effectively

Salary in hand or the pay check your employees receive is accompanied by a range of benefits that are a part of the compensation structure and cost to the company, but are often overlooked by employees. Make sure they are widely communicated.

  • Create a list of all benefits offered to employees and communicate to them via different ways, email, discussion sessions, etc.
  • Be vocal about the value these benefits are able to add over and above their monetary value
  • Illustrate how these benefits also act as tax saving options at times, leading to a more efficient compensation structure

5. Have a standard pay range

Ensure that there is a base pay range for every role and profile with variable additions based on candidate competencies.

  • Have clear guidelines and pay range for each position to set the right expectations
  • Illustrate the competencies/parameters based on which deviation from standard pay range will be acceptable
  • Have a well defined strategy to evolve the pay range and support employee transition from one range to another

How to ensure distributive justice?

The idea of fair compensation and linking compensation and performance management, leads to a very interesting concept of distributive justice. On a broad level, distributive justice essentially focuses on ensuring that the compensation received by employees is fair and equitable and is based on objective and rational grounds which are uniform for all. Here are a few ways to ensure distributive justice:

  • Be transparent about the criteria for compensation and what constitutes as parameters for raise
  • Ensure that measuring of performance/ other criteria for performance is bias free and doesn’t fall prey to halo, horns or recency effect
Measure potential and market value of the employee in addition to experience and expertise to ensure distributive justice for high potential employees 
  • Be fair in your compensation and appraisal assessment

Pay transparency: Merits and demerits

Another interesting component of compensation and performance management that you must acquaint yourself with is pay transparency. Essentially pay transparency refers to how openly or freely employees within an organization can discuss their compensation with others. 

This is not only limited to the check they take home but other perks and benefits they are entitled to. Invariably, many platforms today also enable individuals to anonymously share their salaries online and get insights from others doing the same. However, there are diverse views on when it comes to pay transparency for an organization. 

Merits of pay transparency

Those who advocate for pay transparency believe that it can enable large scale impact for the organization across performance management.

  • Meet employee expectations, build greater trust and augment engagement and overall experience
  • Attract the best talent by showcasing competitive compensation at market standards
  • Reduce chances of biases in salary negotiations and increments
  • Ensure fair compensation and distributive justice among employees
  • Greater employee motivation leading to better organizational outcomes
  • Fewer negotiations allowing employees to focus on adding value to their work

Demerits of pay transparency

However, there is a flip side to pay transparency too with some common pitfalls that need to be addressed proactively.

  • Risk of resentment and conflict if pay scale is not uniform and balanced
  • May lead to comparison of pay scales among peers in the organization with possible backfire
  • Requires strategic planning and meticulous implementation
  • May lead to high levels of turnover in case employees feel they are paid less than what they deserve, in comparison to others
  • Employees might have privacy concerns about their salary being shared with others

How to guide managers to have better compensation conversations?

In the last section of this article, we will focus on how managers play an integral role in compensation and performance management and the best practices to guide managers to have effective compensation conversations with their team members.

Almost 58% organizations do not train managers on pay communications 

This startling statistic clearly highlights how despite the apparent importance of compensation management, the focus on ensuring a seamless process is rather limited. However, organizations today can play a leading role in enabling their managers to have better pay communication and conversations by following these tips:

  • Create a communication toolkit with all the resources including compensation structure, criteria, performance linkage, etc. and share it with all the managers 
  • Conduct regular surveys to gauge employee pulse and data from employees on their compensation and share insights with managers to help create a conversation flow
  • Leverage tools for NLP led sentiment analysis of open ended responses and share guided 1:1 conversation templates for effective compensation conversations
  • Encourage managers to keep compensation conversations and performance reviews as separate
  • Give proper context, especially during an appraisal or raise, with both internal and external factors that led to the compensation decision
  • Communicate the value and importance of the employee to the organization, don’t rely on numbers and monetary increase do all the talking
  • Prepare for the conversation and be prepared for response, be an active listener and patiently address grievances, if any

Final Thoughts

It is quite evident that compensation and performance management are intrinsically interlinked and if leveraged well, compensation has great potential to not only drive performance, but also facilitate engagement, retention and much more.

However, to ensure the same, you need to have a very structured, transparent and fair compensation strategy and policy. Furthermore, you must, don’t forget to invest in training your managers to bridge any gaps and constantly gauge and address employee pulse — to ensure fair compensation for all.

Suggested Reading

10 tips for managers to effectively conduct performance reviews

How often should you conduct performance reviews?

How to use competency framework as a talent management strategy

Performance
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x
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How to Use Competency Framework for Talent Development

Talent development is critical for growing organizations which see the workforce as their biggest asset. Focus on developing their talent stack not only leads to a pleasant employee experience, it also augments the overall performance and productivity for an organization. 

While you may come across many ways to facilitate talent development, leveraging the competency framework can help you move the needle very quickly. 

Let's see how.

5 Stages in talent development

Before moving directly to how you can implement the competency framework, let’s quickly understand the 5 stages of talent development.

1. Planning

The first stage involves planning for your talent needs based on your organizational priorities and creating the position profile based on the skills, attitudes and other competencies. 

2. Identifying

Based on the position profile, you need to start attracting talent for the position. You can do so by spreading the word in the right networks, through job portal platforms, etc. The objective is to ensure that you are reaching out to the right network. You can also explore the right candidate for the position internally to considerably save hiring and training costs. 

3. Onboarding

Once you have identified the right person, the next stage of talent development is extending the offer to the person after a thorough background check as well as a competency and expectation match. It also requires creating personalized onboarding plans for the first 30-60-90 days of the candidate’s journey within the organization. Read our guide to employee onboarding to learn more about onboarding do’s and don’ts.

4. Developing

The main focus of talent development starts with providing the right development and learning opportunities to your workforce. This can involve upskilling for both technical and soft skills, leadership building or any development intervention based on the need of the role and position. 

Read: How to create employee development plan based on performance history

5. Retaining

Finally, talent development involves undertaking initiatives to retain your talent. While learning opportunities are important, facilitating engagement, wellness, motivation, etc. all contribute to employee retention. 

What is the competency framework?

If you are wondering how the competency framework aligns with talent development, you need to start by decoding what the framework actually stands for. 

Put simply, a competency framework is a set of behaviors, skills, abilities and attributes that an organization considers imperative for creating a high performance culture. 

The competency framework can be implemented at all stages of the talent development or the employee lifecycle within an organization. The idea is to ensure that certain core competencies are kept at the heart of the decision making that in any way impact the workforce. 

Importance of talent development for employee retention

Competency framework based talent development is very important for employee retention. Talent development practices when undertaken effectively have the potential to encourage team members to stay with the organization for long and at the same time become ambassadors to help attract high quality peers. 

Here are the top reasons why competency framework based talent development matters:

  • Recruit the right person for the right job
  • Provide the right learning and development opportunities
  • Be an active participant in professional growth for employees
  • Train and develop employees for professional obstacles
  • Enable employees to navigate through challenges with mentoring support
  • Enable employees to see a clear career growth path within the organization

Implementing the competency framework: Process, steps and ownership

Now that we have covered the basics of talent development and competency framework, let’s understand how leveraging the latter to advance the former can create a far reaching impact for organizations. 

Step I: Create a competency framework

The first step is to create a competency framework which involves identifying the key competencies which will be instrumental in guiding all decisions around talent development. Depending on the nature of your organization, there can be categories within the competency framework that you seek to focus on. Your competency framework should focus on behaviors, skills and attributes which are critical for performance and overall success. The following steps can help you create a competency framework for talent development:

1. Identify key competencies

  • Establish core competencies that are required to be possessed by everyone in the organization, for instance, teamwork or collaboration
  • Highlight the functional competencies that are required for specific roles and positions, for instance, situational awareness and the ability to think on one’s feet for those in business development roles
  • Identify competencies that align with your core values and are non negotiable, for instance, if your core value revolves around innovation and experimentation, a key competency will be a risk taking attitude

2. Determine behaviors and attributes

  • Define the key parameters for each identified competency i.e. what are the factors that collectively contribute to presence or absence of that competency
  • Establish metrics to judge the level of competency alignment across the workforce and identify the gaps

3. Link to organizational goals

  • Create a business statement of how the competencies can advance overarching organizational goals
  • Focus on the value add they bring along for organizational success
The responsibility of creating the competency framework is collective. It starts with involving the executive leadership to ensure alignment with the vision, people managers to ensure they are ideal for the culture you are trying to build and functional managers to ensure inclusion of right competencies for each role and position. Furthermore, involving those on the ground can be fruitful as they have the best idea of what competencies are critical and others which are good to have. 

Step II: Align the competency framework with recruitment

Once the competency framework for talent development is ready, the next step is to align it with your recruitment process to ensure precise and effective hiring. There are a few steps along the way:

  • Mention the keywords from the competency framework in your position profile or job description
  • Specifically identify 5-7 key competencies for each role important for high level of performance
  • Identify behaviors for each competency to look out for during the selection process
  • Leverage psychometric assessments customized with your competency framework to test your candidates
  • Conduct competency based interviews and assignments for a comprehensive view
  • If there is a significant competency match, identify gaps if any for competency based development later
  • Document results to align performance management for selected candidates
The onus of implementing the competency framework during selection lies primarily with the HR team and recruiters who assess the candidates with different tests and assessments. Team managers and leaders also play a role in assessing functional competencies and fit. 

Step III: Facilitate competency based performance management and development opportunities

Irrespective of whether an employee is onboarded before or after you have implemented the competency framework for recruitment, you need to ensure competency based performance management and development opportunities. 

Performance management

  • Align OKRs and goals with competencies; focus on behaviors that can help drive the key results. For instance if a key result is expand to 5 new markets, a key competency can be adaptability
  • Conduct competency based 360 feedback review; encourage your managers to review performance not just on outcomes but presence or absence of competencies that made the outcomes possible
  • Encourage competency based self reflection for employees to assess their performance based on the competency framework
  • Identify development areas based on competency needs for particular roles as well as the next career path in the trajectory
  • Reward competency based performance and outcomes
  • Measure competencies on an ongoing basis and compare results with recruitment analysis

Talent development interventions

  • Define competency gaps for each position and identify talent development interventions to bridge the same. For instance, if communication is a key competency for a sales role, learning can be oriented towards better communication skills
  • Align developmental interventions with competency based OKRs
  • Identify learning objectives for each role and position and determine how they connect with the competency framework

From a talent development perspective, the focus of the competency framework should equally be on developing employees for their next or subsequent role based on the specific competencies for the same. 

The onus of aligning performance and development with the competency framework lies with team managers as they are best able to determine the performance gaps. Furthermore, employees with their managers can identify competency gaps for better performance and focus on the right learning and development interventions to bridge the same. 

Step IV: Leverage competency framework for succession planning

Finally, the competency framework must also impact the subsequent rungs of talent development where an employee moves up the ladder from one position to the next. Based on the organizational matrix and competencies for each level, you need to identify key attributes that differentiate one level from another and ensure the same is communicated to your employees. 

You should:

  • Help you employees create a career development plan based on your competency framework to help them understand which competencies will enable them to grow
  • Make succession planning a key organizational priority and focus on talent development from that lens

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, it is quite evident that the competency framework can inform and advance every stage of talent development for fast growing organizations. If you implement such a framework across the employee lifecycle, you will significantly reduce your chances of a wrong hire and will be able to nurture a workforce that aligns on the vision, goals and overall organizational culture. 

A clear competency based talent development approach can help you achieve high levels of performance which is observable and measurable.

OKRs
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x
min read

Should Your Business Invest in OKR Software? See the ROI

While most people managers are able to create a business case for setting OKRs as well as for the adoption of an OKR software by leveraging industry benchmarks and best practices, there is a need to explicitly decode the return on investment of using an OKR tool as well.

Unless they are able to clearly illustrate how the return achieved using a goal management software is greater than the investment, it becomes difficult to sustain the adoption and get long-term leadership buy-in. 

Continue reading to strengthen your business case on the same.

What’s the ROI of Goal Management using OKRs?

Let’s quickly understand how the OKR framework is integral for an organization, especially high growth companies. Most fast growing organizations have competing priorities they need to focus on with limited resources at hand. 

Therefore, simply setting goals by adopting a top-down approach without supporting parameters can lead to confusion and incompetence. OKRs help drive away this ambiguity by linking measurable key results for each objective and facilitating a collaborative approach to achieving goals.  

Here are the top three benefits of implementing OKRs in an effective manner:

1. Better focus and more clarity

OKRs enable employees and leadership to have a very clear focus on what needs to be accomplished and what work is out of scope. The idea is to have complete clarity on — 

  • what each goal or objective means, 
  • its purpose for the overall success of the organization, and
  • what achieving it will look like. 

The last part is extremely important as it helps create a sharp focus and set priorities straight. 

93% of employees don’t really understand what their organization is trying to accomplish in order to align with their own work.

This illustrates that there is a big absence of clarity and focus amongst employees when it comes to what needs to be accomplished, which stands in the way of creating a high performance culture. Therefore, OKRs can help reduce such uncertainty and ambiguity, making it easy for the workforce to concentrate on what matters. 

2. Strategic alignment

Taking cue from the first point, the second benefit or purpose of implementing OKRs foris a need for clarity of expectations and overall team and organizational alignment. In case of fast growing organizations, there is an overlapping of roles and responsibilities and a lack of clarity on expectations from each employee. This leads to lower than average outcomes, productivity and revenue growth and data backs the same. 

97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. Whereas, companies that regularly exceeded revenue goals were 2.3X more likely to report high levels of alignment.

By ensuring organization-wide goal visibility, OKRs help teams to decode what is expected out of each team member and their respective contribution towards achievement of the shared goals. Thus, increasing alignment and collaboration. 

3. Greater engagement

Finally, setting and implementing OKRs is often a collaborative process. Employees get involved in and participate during the entire OKR process and feel engaged in the same. This greater involvement and participation leads to deeper levels of engagement and ownership of key results which drive impact. 

OKRs also enable employees to also gauge their performance and measure their progress in an effective manner. This motivates them to get more involved in achieving the common weekly, quarterly and annual goals. This higher level of engagement directly impacts key organizational parameters such as retention, productivity, profitability, etc. 

How does an OKR software make a difference? 

The business case for OKRs is very clear. However, for companies that are scaling up, with limited bandwidth and competing priorities, often setting OKRs itself gets left behind due to other business priorities.

If an organization focuses on a manual approach to the OKR system, there are several steps which require a lot of time and effort including setting and writing, implementing, tracking, grading, evaluating and modifying OKRs.

Fortunately, today there are OKR tools in the market, which can help automate all of these aspects to help simplify the OKR journey. The right goal management software can help you maximize the realization of the return on investment for your OKRs. Following are the top five ways in which an OKR software makes a measurable difference on the bottomline — 

1. It allows you to document goals

First, an OKR tool can help organizations document or record the OKRs in a way that is visible and accessible to all. There is supporting evidence to show that what gets documented has a higher chance of being achieved, as what is out of sight is often out of mind. 

Individuals are 42% more likely to achieve goals when they are physically recorded.

Therefore, the OKR tool can enable organizations to clearly define the business and team OKRs in a written manner which can be reflected on, seen again and again to create instant recall for employees. 

2. It drives accountability and alignment

OKR tools are great for creating alignment and accountability. On the alignment front, the OKR software can help achieve high levels of strategic alignment on what is the responsibility of each team member across organizations towards the key business goal achievement. 

Highly aligned companies grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable than their misaligned counterparts.

The dashboard of a good OKR software can help you constantly gauge the level of goal achievement, ensure that team members are aligned on different phases as well as keep a track of when their responsibility is due. It creates high levels of transparency. 

Moreover, greater alignment leads to high levels of accountability. Generally, since there is a lack of alignment on responsibilities, there is an accompanying lack of ownership and accountability, and most employees shirk away from taking accountability. 

84% of the workforce describes itself as “trying but failing” or “avoiding” accountability, even when employees know what to fix.

A goal management software like SuperBeings allows you to integrate OKRs with regular meetings and check-ins to keep track of progress. Thus, driving a culture of accountability.

3. It enables real-time OKR progress and goal tracking

It is very common for companies to set OKRs and then evaluate them only at the end of the quarter/year. There is a lack of mid-term tracking which makes it difficult to gauge whether the progress is aligned with the key results or not. 

40% of people that write down goals don’t check whether they’ve achieved them. Moreover, only 5.9% of companies communicate goals daily. 

An OKR software can help you address this concern by facilitating day-to-day OKR progress tracking. A daily dashboard and history of 1:1 and team check-ins on OKRs, can help organizations track developments over time. 

ROI of OKR software
SuperBeings OKR dashboard helps you get a quick overview on all primary goals

It can also help identify and resolve any performance issues that stand in the way of goal achievement preemptively. At the same time, even if organizations are tracking and monitoring OKR progress, doing so with a manual process is inefficient. An OKR tool can automate most of these processes to enable HR and people managers to spend more time on driving results. 

4. An effective software offers OKR training for success

Another major concern that organizations face when it comes to OKRs is being prepared and ready for the same. Many line managers and others struggle with writing effective OKRs. Many organizations believe setting OKRs once is enough. However, that is far from the truth. 

Research says, companies that set performance goals quarterly can generate 31% more returns than those reassessing annually.

Using an OKR software can help eliminate all these challenges. 

  • First, the right tool will offer OKR coaching and onboarding support to train managers to write OKRs which are effective and result oriented.
  • Second, it can help reflect on OKRs at regular intervals to realign on them and adjust according to changing market conditions. 
  • Third, the OKR tool can help managers have meaningful 1:1 conversations with team members to link OKR with performance and facilitate high levels of goal achievement. This is a direct return on investment which can create value across the organizational verticals.  

5. It facilitates greater collaboration

Finally, an OKR software can promote high levels of collaboration for goal achievement. For many organizations, the inability to collaborate leads to low levels of results, diminishing the ROI for OKRs.

86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.

Using a good OKR software makes collaboration seamless by aligning cross-functional projects and tracking cumulative progress. Invariably, an increase in degree of collaboration is a direct ROI of an OKR tool which can create far reaching impact.

How to calculate the ROI of an OKR software?

In this final section of the article, we will talk about the key parameters that can help you gauge the ROI of an OKR software. While the above mentioned are primary impact areas, most of them have a qualitative aspect to them. 

Gauging the ROI requires backing of data points from employee experience and business results, which the following parameters can help explain.

1. Level of transparency

Organizations should start by gauging whether or not transparency and alignment on goals has increased. This can be measured using employee pulse surveys to understand their opinion on how well they have visibility of goals and clarity on what they need to work towards. Therefore, the first ROI parameter for an OKR software is to identify the increase in level of transparency to ensure everyone is working in the same direction and there are no gaps or overlap in efforts. 

2. Degree and time period of goal achievement

The main purpose of an OKR tool is to facilitate the effective and efficient achievement of the goals set by an organization. Thus, the next parameter to measure ROI should revolve around the degree and time period of goal achievement. 

You can start by comparing the degree of goal achievement by leveraging OKR grading to see if there is a significant improvement in percentage terms as compared to pre-OKR tool period. Second, it is important to gauge whether or not the goals/key results have been achieved in a shorter period of time or not. Since the OKR platform facilitates better alignment, collaboration, tracking, etc., it can help organizations achieve or realize the goals faster. 

3. Reduced administrative overheads

Third, there are several administrative overheads that accompany the setting and implementation of goals/OKRs. These include tracking, grading, etc. for managers and providing inputs on the part of employees. The ROI of an OKR software can be gauged by mapping whether or not these overheads come down. 

  • For the managers, ROI can be calculated in terms of time saved which can be invested in other value add tasks. 
  • For employees, the ROI comes in the form of reduced time and effort spent in juggling between platforms to work on goals and projects. The right tool will provide organizations with integrations across top productivity tools like Slack, Jira, etc. which reduce administrative overheads for all organizational stakeholders. 

4. Increased revenue

The next parameter for ROI calculation is to measure the change or increase in revenue after the adoption of an OKR software. Since an OKR tool seeks to enable organizations to achieve their goals faster, cost effectively and to a greater extent, there should be an increase in the revenue realized. 

According to Larry Page, co-founder, Google claims that “OKRs have helped lead us to 10X growth, many times over.” 

5. Better employee experience

Finally, gauging the value of employee parameters like retention/turnover, productivity, engagement, etc, can cumulatively be leveraged to capture the ROI of an OKR tool. There are several ways to gauge these workforce parameters, along with factors like eNPS, etc. which have a direct business impact. Calculating them can help measure the ROI of the OKR tool for an organization. 

Final Thoughts

It is evident that adoption of an intelligent OKR software is not only good to have, but integral for organizational success. Using the right tool has a direct business impact which can be measured in numbers using the ROI parameters mentioned in this article. 

There are both qualitative and quantitative aspects to measuring the ROI and a balanced approach to both can empower organizations to align individual performance with business goals.

If you are considering implementing the right OKR software in your business, try out SuperBeings free 21 day trial. Book today. (No credit card or commitment required)

Suggested Reading

How to find the best OKR tool

Master OKRs in 10 days: Free OKR email course

References

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2019/10/06/why-accountability-is-vital-to-your-company/?sh=4297f3cb6580

https://www.salesforce.com/in/work/?sfdc-redirect=219

https://www.minsilo.com/resources/strategic-alignment/why-is-alignment-important

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/13/self-made-millionaire-how-to-increase-your-odds-of-success-by-42-percent-marie-forleo.html#:~:text=The%20results%20were%20clear%3A%20Participants,down%20on%20a%20daily%20basis

https://lsaglobal.com/insights/proprietary-methodology/lsa-3x-organizational-alignment-model/#:~:text=Based%20upon%20research%20of%20410,Effectively%20leading%208.71%2Dto%2D1

http://www.cedma-europe.org/newsletter%20articles/Clomedia/Want%20Results%20-%20Fix%20Accountability%20(Feb%2015).pdf

https://www.asuresoftware.com/

https://fierceinc.com/employees-cite-lack-of-collaboration-for-workplace-failures/#:~:text=Key%20survey%20finds%20include%3A,will%20impact%20bottom%20line%20results.

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