Benefits of OKR Transparency

Setting goals is an essential part of sustaining and growing any business. They help you to see where you are now, where you want to be, and how to get there. There are many different ways you can set goals and measure success, though. One popular method is using Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs.

There’s a reason why organizations like Netflix, Amazon, and Google all use OKRs — they work. Being transparent about your OKRs has so many benefits. Not only does it help employees to be clear about what’s expected of them, but it also promotes a better culture overall.

Here’s a deeper look at OKRs and how they can benefit your company.

What Is an OKR?

Objectives and Key Results, or OKR for short, is a tool used by organizations for setting goals with measurable results. The concept is quite simple. An objective is a thing you want to do, and key results are the “how” getting you there. For a key result to be achievable, it needs to be measurable and realistic. You either meet it or you don’t.

While the objective will usually remain the same, key results should be reviewed regularly and changed as appropriate. Using OKRs helps you to track the progress of challenging goals. OKRs can be used in many different industries, and throughout all levels of the company.

Read more: How to Write SMART Project Management Goals

Example: How OKRs Work in Practice

You are looking to improve the speed at which you deliver products to customers, which would be the overall objective. This would then have a number of key results, which are measurable outcomes in achieving the objective.

These may be:

  • Increase number of parcels shipped per day from 1,000 to 1,500
  • Decrease shipping time from 2 days to 1 day
  • Decrease delivery time from 5 days to 3 days

Each department, team, and individual would then have their own goals in meeting this objective and delivering the key results. For example, warehouse staff may be given a goal of packaging more products per hour. Team leaders would have a goal of overseeing the packaging process to make this happen, and so on.

The Benefits of OKRs to Your Company

How will implementing OKRs benefit your company?

  • It brings a sense of clarity and focus to the workforce, as they know what their goals and priorities are. This helps the company to achieve measurable goals.
  • Every employee feels like they have a purpose and can contribute to achieving the mission of the company. Employees are given a voice to say what’s not working and how things can be done in a different, and better, way.
  • OKRs help to create goals that are a challenge. This is why they’re not appropriate for every single goal and aim of the company. They are usually used to help companies achieve one or two important goals every quarter. The key results should be a stretch, and employees should feel encouraged to use innovation and intuition in meeting them.

Read more on TechnologyAdvice: Guide to Employee Engagement

The Benefits of OKR Transparency

So now that you know there are benefits to using OKRs in getting results for your company, what are the benefits of OKR transparency? The most important benefit of transparency is that everyone’s goals are aligned and clear. This in turn makes for a happier workforce. Here are some other benefits.

Increased Productivity

When employees feel their goals are transparent, they are more motivated to reach them. Being transparent with your OKRs, and keeping them public, encourages productivity. It creates a sense of togetherness in that everyone is working equally hard to reach the same goal.

There’s also a benefit to promoting the good progress of employees to other members of the team. It encourages all colleagues to work harder, as they know their efforts will be appreciated. The OKR system accounts for this. It recognizes and praises those who are getting results.

Efficient Use of Resources

This is especially beneficial to larger organizations. Without OKR transparency, employees may inadvertently be working on the same thing. When there are lots of tasks to be done, you can’t afford for this to happen.

Making sure everyone is familiar with each other’s goals ensures resources are being used as efficiently as possible. This will inevitably save the company both time and money.

Goal Alignment

The objective of an organization will largely remain the same, no matter the role of the employee. A benefit of OKRs is that everyone’s goals are aligned in reaching this objective. In fact, goal alignment is probably the main benefit of OKRs. It connects every employee together, and helps them to see how their work fits into helping the company reach its objective.

Read more: Using Organizational Goals & Strategies for Better Project Plans

More Collaborative Working

When you are transparent about the goals of each department and individual within the team, it makes it easier for other colleagues to see whether you’re on target to meet them. If not, they will have a better understanding of how they can help you, if needed. This promotes a culture of collaboration among teams.

Many colleagues may have similar goals and skills, which means they can provide assistance to help another succeed. Using the example above, multi-skilled staff could help with packaging where needed in order to speed up the process and meet the goal.

In addition, the opportunity to take part in meaningful discussions throughout the goal-setting period is important. It makes sure everyone feels like their voice is heard and encourages the sharing of ideas. This open communication is important, as it creates a culture where employees feel safe to speak out.

What’s the Strategy Behind OKR Transparency?

The OKR system ensures transparency is part of the process. No matter what level of the organization you are at, you should be able to see everyone else’s goals.

This goes all the way from CEO downwards. Transparency is key when it comes to building trust across an organization. Building trust involves having open discussions, where everyone is welcome to share their opinion. The OKR process helps to facilitate this process of transparency.

Employees company-wide will be made aware of what the current problems are and what needs to be improved. They should then be allowed to participate in conversations around how to make improvements. This creates an environment of mutual trust and respect, and it can also make the organization better. Employees often have the best ideas as to how to improve processes they use every day.

Read more on TechRepublic: 5 Things That Business Pros Need to Know About Goal Management Platforms

Transparency at Different Organizational Levels

Transparency needs to start at the top and work downwards.

For executives setting company-wide OKRs, it is a good idea to work with at least one representative from each team in the organization when doing so. This passes some of the responsibility down to individual teams to set their own goals in order to meet the company’s objective.

Each team will then set its own goals in line with the company’s OKR. Following from this, each individual employee should be given the freedom to do the same. This helps to create a culture of transparency throughout each level of the company while making sure all goals are connected and aligned to meet the overall objective.

How Can OKR Transparency Take You to the Next Level?

Being clear and focused in your objectives helps you to achieve them. It also helps you to know what the results are that you’d like to see. There’s no value in having an objective if you don’t make sure every single employee knows what it is.

More than this, employees should know how they can contribute to meeting this objective. When employees feel valued and understand how their work helps the company achieve its mission, they are more productive and happier. This can only happen through OKR transparency.

Achieving goal alignment throughout the company can only be done when employees know the goals of their colleagues. Where you have alignment, you have a workforce that is all moving in the same direction. When everyone moves in the same direction, you get to where you want to be, and you get there much faster.

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Sasi Dharan

In his current role, Sasi Dharan leads the Digital Marketing Team for Profit.co. He has a decade of experience in Project management, Operation Excellence Consulting, and Digital Marketing. He is passionate about creating new approaches to brand awareness and demand generation. He is passionate about learning new technologies, and strategies in marketing and deploying them in his organization.