“Continuous recognition is a powerful driver of engagement.”
It has been argued that OKRs can make a major impact on the success of continuous performance management. Since OKRs help measure the employee’s contributions to the organisation’s larger objectives, it makes sense to use them in performance reviews to help evaluate employees. So, what is OKR?
OKRs are a goal-setting and tracking methodology that help organisations set measurable goals. OKRs consist of qualitative Objectives and clear, quantifiable Key Results that define a goal, and the outcomes required to achieve the goal.
This framework helps increase employee engagement in setting and achieving important goals. Engaged employees are more committed to their roles and more productive in their tasks, thus driving higher value for the entire organisation. It provides a tactical and metrics-driven set of goals that can be easily used to evaluate employee performance.
Significance of OKR in Continuous Performance Management:
OKRs can add magic to the weeks and months leading up to the year-end performance appraisal. OKRs are so clearly and quantifiably defined that they provide a framed goal line to work towards. Managers can use them as a reference point to give feedback, coach on improvement, provide tactical insights and even resolve problems during their periodic check-ins. This will ensure that the feedback shared and inputs given during check-ins are decidedly aimed at achieving the OKRs. One interesting approach also proposes to focus on individual achievement using OKR, thereby rolling the individual achievements into the team’s collective performance. Given that peers and team members are also competitors, this approach might actually be more useful in driving organisational goals than by expecting commitment to team goals.
Advantages of incorporating OKRs in Continuous Performance Management
It is thus clear that linking OKRs to individual objectives helps drive a better work environment, a positive attitude towards work and an overall sense of wellbeing. OKRs help employees understand what is expected of them at work and enable them to contribute to the goals set for them.
Checklist: How to incorporate OKRs into Continuous Performance Management
1. Evaluate employee-level objectives against the task, initiatives, and projects they are contributing towards.
OKRs are a collaboration tool. Therefore, while an employee’s individual performance does not necessarily reflect the achievement of OKRs, individual goals do have an impact on OKR achievements. Ultimately, all objectives – individual or organisational are designed with organisational success in mind. The check-in conversations could then be centred around whether or not the employee’s performance has helped achieve the OKRs and if it didn’t, what were the responsible factors and how can they be addressed in the future.
2. Use past performance data to design action plans for employees to achieve their individual and collaborative goals.
Use OKRs to assess execution of their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement by employees to deliver better results. This exercise will reveal elements that led to the achievement of their individual goals which can then be recognized, appreciated, and redirected toward achieving collaborative goals.
3. Officially link OKRs to individual performance
Make OKR-related behaviours a part of the performance review system. This will help boost the employee’s commitment to OKRs and also improve communication within the team.
For individual employees
OKRs are not a replacement for Performance Management reviews. They are meant to enhance the employee’s experience working with the organisation and provide insight on the employee’s contribution to the overall organisational objectives.
It is also a useful tool to communicate with employees on the connection between their objectives with OKRs. Individuals respond better to a sense of increased self-worth, belonging and having a higher purpose than other parameters. It is a known fact that employee engagement levels directly impact employee performance. According to a Harvard study, employees who consider their work important and are aligned to the organisation’s goals are twice as likely to be top performers.