The Power of OKRs: Why NextDeavor Ditched KPIs

It’s no secret — today’s workforce is struggling. Between mass layoffs, company politics, and the threat of yet another recession in our lifetimes, today’s generation of employees have little loyalty to their employers. Employees tend to make a move when they’re unhappy at a job, when they think they can get paid more elsewhere, or when they simply want a bump in their title and their current company is unwilling to grant it.

I see phrases like “you don’t owe your job anything” and “people don’t leave their job, they leave their manager” frequently on social media, and to be honest, I absolutely agree. Loyalty to your employer is a thing of the past — especially when that employer prioritizes profitability over employee wellness.

We’re coming into an age when Employee Wellness is a trending topic, or at least tagging it as a value on the company page is a trend. But how do you know if a company actually values wellness, or if they’re just relying on the words to do the work? You take a deep dive into the practices they put in place.

In today’s fast-paced, often-remote, and under-communicative work environment, it’s more important than ever for employees to have a clear understanding of their goals and how they align with their company’s objectives.

At NextDeavor, we’ve kicked KPIs to the curb in favor of a type of goal-setting framework called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). OKRs can help employees achieve personal, financial, and professional goals while also contributing to the overall success of the organization. In this post, we’ll explore how OKRs can be used to achieve different types of goals and offer insights on how to effectively implement this framework within your workplace.

How NextDeavor uses OKRs

While KPIs can be useful in tracking progress, they can also be stressful for employees; the focus is narrowed rather than seeing the big picture, sometimes the goals are unattainable, or there is a fear of consequences like losing one’s job. OKRs help to establish realistic goals that align with an individual’s values and priorities, reducing stress and improving overall performance.

OKRs amount to a goal-setting framework that sets objectives and identifies key results that measure progress towards those objectives. The objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (identified by the acronym SMART). The key results are measurable and specific actions that indicate progress towards the objectives. The framework is flexible enough that it can be adapted to various types of goals.

At NextDeavor, we suggest each individual set one personal, one financial and one professional goal per quarter, but it usually ends up being 2–3 goals in each category.

By setting professional goals, OKRs help define and prioritize our company and employee aspirations. For example, an individual’s objective could be to develop their skills to advance their career. The key results could be taking an online course, attending a conference, or leading a project. OKRs help our employees stay focused on the specific actions that will lead to their career advancement.

If your company is currently relying on meeting quotas by setting KPIs, setting a Financial goal using the OKR framework can help individuals achieve their quotas. For example, if your company objective is for each employee to sell 100 widgets in a quarter, your Key Results will guide them to set measurable actions to complete that task.

OKRs can and should also be used to achieve personal goals, which helps target that all-encompassing “Employee Wellness” value. For example, one of my personal objectives is to improve my physical fitness, and the key results I set in place will identify how to set about achieving that objective: eg. getting physical exercise three times/week and reducing my sugar intake. By setting a personal goal and a measurable way to get there, employees are motivated to achieve personal goals, thus contributing to their overall satisfaction at work.

Implementing OKRs for Individual Success

Ownership and accountability are critical for individual success with OKRs. At NextDeavor, we take responsibility for setting our own objectives and identifying the key results to achieve them, however the OKR process involves regular check-ins and conversations with leadership. At NextDeavor, we set (at minimum) monthly check-ins to revisit our OKRs to ensure alignment and make adjustments or offer support as needed.

OKRs can also be integrated into your regular performance review process for even greater success. Managers and mentors can provide feedback and coaching to help individuals and teams achieve their objectives.

OKRs Drive Organizational Success

The OKR framework should also be used to align individual goals with company objectives. When NextDeavor employees understand how financial and professional goals align with the company’s objectives, and how our personal goals contribute to our company’s Wellness initiative, we are more motivated and engaged in our work. This alignment has led to increased productivity and improved organizational performance.

NextDeavor has adopted a culture of goal-setting and achievement, which has been beneficial to our overall company success. When individuals are encouraged to set and achieve goals, it creates a sense of ownership and accountability. This leads to increased innovation, collaboration, and overall success for the organization.

By implementing OKRs within your workplace, employees can achieve personal, financial, and professional goals while also contributing to the overall success of the organization. The OKR framework is flexible and adaptable, making it a powerful tool for individuals to achieve their aspirations.

Written by Amanda Allen

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