Senthil Rajagopalan, president and COO, Profit.co recently spoke to Shubehndu Parth, editor, Dataquest about the relevance of OKR framework in current times.
Senthil Rajagopalan: During this pandemic and the subsequent shift to remote work, businesses have been forced to adapt to new working and market conditions, prioritise purposeful communication and team bonding, and manage a changing work-life balance in stride.
Naturally, employee performance reviews cannot be conducted in the same way you would conduct them at the workplace. They have to be conducted remotely, and the review has to be designed to suit the demands created by the pandemic conditions. While this redesign is a difficult task, and perhaps a daunting one, it’s far from impossible. Employees and employers alike must redefine success in their organisation, and take into account the pandemic’s limitations. While conducting a performance review remotely may feel more informal, your objectives remain the same; you must evaluate employee performance based on the competencies and skills necessary to their role. These competencies may have expanded or shrunk during the pandemic. Take into account any shifts, and ensure that employees are on the same page in regard to their job description and responsibilities.
Shifting focus from output-based performance to outcome-based performance can help maintain the integrity of performance reviews, even through remote work. Strategy-execution frameworks such as OKRs can help make this change. So, instead of tracking the number of hours an employee is seated in front of their computer, it makes more sense to measure an outcome that brings value to the organisation – such as the number of leads they generated through their work. When employees define goals and targets for employees, it’s important to ensure that employee targets are connected to overarching company priorities. This way, employees will recognise that their daily work is substantially contributing to the company’s success, and employees will define their work by their impact on the company, rather than the time they spend answering emails. These outcomes are tangible, and can be easily brought into performance reviews to help give a substantive idea of how employees are performing during remote work.
DQ: How does the OKR software help increase productivity, both in a remote and normal work environment?
Senthil Rajagopalan: The OKR framework itself was created to accommodate rapid improvement and agility. Objectives and Key Results are designed to identify a team’s top priorities, and provide specific and measurable outcomes that keep teams focused on what matters most within the quarter. In any setting, whether teams are working remotely, with a hybrid model, or fully in the office, OKRs keep teams aligned across departments and committed to their goals.
With the “new normal,” it’s not uncommon for companies to face issues with communication, alignment, and even simply keeping in touch with what everyone else on the team is doing. When teams fall out of sync, less is accomplished. However, with OKRs managed on the agile software, teams have a digital and transparent platform to view assigned key results, tasks, and employee and team performance. Additionally, managers can promote employee engagement from OKR platform.
OKRs should be put at the center of all business processes. Key results can be directly associated with specific tasks, so daily work is directly contributing to the achievement of OKRs. The software also enables businesses to make OKRs fully transparent across their organisation so that all members of the team can see what others are working on throughout the quarter. With full visibility across the organisation, departments are able to see how they rely on one another, as well as how each team within the company is performing. This can also help employees hold each other accountable. When everyone can see goals, it’s a way to ensure that team members are setting ambitious goals they are committed to, rather than smaller, highly achievable goals they exceed easily. Communication can happen right in the OKR platform with comments on check-ins, tasks, and even the ability to schedule meetings within the software.
DQ: So, do you have a company-specific approach in the sense that the OKR is customised for different organisations?
Senthil Rajagopalan: We have customers in every vertical and every industry from all over the world – from India to the US, Latin America, the APAC region, and Europe. We serve global enterprises from education to banking, government organisations, nonprofit organisations, and startups. Our OKR software is able to apply to companies of all sizes, all over the world as we provide a host of completely configurable settings to ensure that teams are seeing exactly what they need to succeed and nothing more or less.
Modern teams require agile software to help them succeed in today’s ever-developing business landscape. Our software is both highly configurable depending on what certain organisations need, and highly intuitive for employees to use. Some of the features that can be customised in performance reviews include competencies, which are skills or responsibilities defined based on job title, performance reviews, which can be connected to individual goals, OKRs, and skills, and rating groups, or rating scales that can be customised for specific departments.
Not just this our OKR experts work closely with business leaders to learn what their company is looking for from a strategy-execution software and are there for you throughout the entire process – from the free tailored demo throughout your entire use of Profit.co. Additionally, we also offer coaching services on the OKR framework, so that you not only are able to use OKRs on our software, but you yourself can become an OKR expert and certified OKR professional.
Our performance management module is specifically defined to benefit all stakeholders in a performance review. Employees are provided with a fair evaluation, as peer reviewers, self-evaluations, and manager reviews are all possible through the review software. Additionally, managers benefit from the virtual organisation and the notification-enforced deadlines on all reviews, as well as the ability to customise the fine details of reviews – from how much competency ratings affect a performance grade to who is included in the performance review process. Finally, executives are provided with a bird’s eye view of performance reviews, and can view employee evaluations on a team or even department level, to see how an entire section of the company is performing overall on a single screen.