Use these 10 tips for implementing OKRs in a remote workplace

How OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) Framework Can Take Your Remote Team to the Next Level

Ensuring that your team members are focused on your overarching goals can be a perplexing task. This is when OKRs can help, creating holistic alignment across all company levels. David Patterson-Cole, Moonchaser CEO, reveals how implementing the OKRs framework in a remote workplace can empower employees to set effective goals.

Nowadays, more people are working from home. According to a recent survey, nearly 30 million people work from home — also known as remote working — at least part-time, representing around 14% of all U.S. workers. This means a growing number of off-site teams where both the boss and team members work remotely. However, since you’re not in the office to meet face-to-face, you have to use technology to exchange ideas and work efficiently.

There are many ways to communicate with your team members, but what about your boss? Considering that you’re not always at work, this puts the responsibility of discussing issues right on the shoulders of your immediate manager. It’s a challenging situation because communication problems can sometimes occur when you’re far away from each other.

What are OKRs?

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. After the initial success at Google, many companies started to use this framework. The basic assumption is that developers will always be more productive when they have a clear set of goals.

How Are OKRs Different from KPIs?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the traditional performance indicators that measure the success of your team. For example, if your team’s objective is to develop software, you measure its progress by looking at its output. However, in this case, you have to be attentive to the direction of the product and think about how you can improve. It’s more about the future than the present. In contrast, OKRs are goals that describe what you want to achieve in the present and the future. It’s a balance between what has been done and what you want to do.

OKRs Are Effective for Remote Teams

If you’re the boss, you need to encourage your team members to feel more connected. Having goals allows them to focus on their work. A clear set of objectives and results will help people get a sense of direction. Plus, OKRs can help people become less stressed and happier at work.

Good managers will always set up their team to achieve success in the long term because they know that they can’t manage people if they don’t understand what motivates them. Having clear objectives and regularly checking your progress against them will go a long way in making your remote team more productive. As the manager, it’s up to you to set up your remote team members’ goals and make sure they get recognition for their performance.

Tips for Implementing OKRs in Remote Workplace

Use Your Vision and Mission Statements to Help you Set Up Your OKRs

First, you’ll want to write down your objectives in the first person. For example, “We will achieve such and such by doing this and that over the next three months.” Don’t forget to add measurable results of what you want to achieve. Make sure that you have a measurable result attached to each objective.

Keep it simple: One objective with one result is usually enough. It’s better to have fewer goals and make them focused than to have too many goals because your team will lose interest in less than a few weeks. Make it easy for everyone to understand what’s expected of them and when they should be done.

Make Sure Your Objectives Have a Purpose

You should agree with team members on what the objectives mean. This can be done verbally, but it’s better to write it down for everyone to see. There are no miracle solutions when you’re by yourself. It’s about looking at your individual goals, one by one. Be consistent and be prepared for each challenge you’re going to face.

Your objectives have a purpose and are not just hollow words on paper. Writing down your goals as something you expect to achieve within a set period is more powerful and meaningful.

Be Transparent

Senior Vice President of altLINE Sobanco, Jim Pendergast, suggests that making sure people know what others are working on helps them understand how they can pitch in. When everyone understands their tasks, they can focus on what they need to get done. Remember that transparency is the key to success. If a goal is unclear, you’ll run into problems sooner or later.

“You can’t expect your team to complete many tasks if they don’t know what’s expected of them. Taking the time to explain to them what everyone’s job is and how they can support it will help them grow as a team.”

Keep Your Focus

Focus on one task at a time. Make sure that your goals are clear and well-defined. Your team will understand what they should frequently be doing, but they might get lost when you have too many objectives.

Be Specific

Anthony Martin, Founder, and CEO of Choice Mutual, believes that specific goals produce a higher output level than those vaguely worded. It is essential to set a specific target for each objective. It’s about aiming for concrete and measurable results. There’s a fine line between setting a realistic goal that will make you stretch and one that will set you up for failure. Aiming too high is discouraged because you might be disappointed when you don’t achieve your results.

Set a Precise Measure for the Key Results

“How are you going to measure the results of each goal? Having no clear measurement unit will make the team even more stressed. This is where you have to dig down and find out what you need to improve. It’s a must if you want to succeed.”

Aaron Gray, Managing Partner at NO-BS

Have a clear view of how much time it will take you and set up some other goals that will help you think in a bigger context. However, don’t forget that it doesn’t include the time you’ll spend on the actual job.

Set Challenging Goals

John Li, Co-Founder & CTO of Fig Loans, believes that complex and challenging goals are much better at driving employees’ performance than those posing no inspirational challenge. 

“It’s better to set high expectations. You need to motivate your team members and make sure they stay engaged. You can’t expect high results if you don’t challenge yourself.”

Set Realistic Goals

You have to agree on some reasonable goals to achieve something with each objective. Neither the results nor the objectives are meant to consume you. There’s nothing worse than having a goal that you’ll never be able to reach because it’s too ambitious and unrealistic.

Define Initiatives

You should first define initiatives or projects you want to accomplish within the next 3-6 months. These initiatives may include new product launches, sales targets, marketing campaigns, customer support, website redesign, etc. Before starting with OKRs, make sure you understand your initiatives. What are the KPIs/metrics that you want to track? How many people are working on these initiatives? Who are they reporting to?

Celebrate Your Successes

For every milestone achieved, celebrate it. This will motivate your employees to work harder and achieve more. It is important to share success stories with your employees to help them feel motivated and inspired to keep going. Set yourself up for success using the OKR method, but don’t forget that it’s not an overnight process. It will take time to tweak and adjust to a new system. 

Remember that you have to establish a healthy and flourishing culture in your business, so encourage your team members. The right culture will help you achieve more than you ever believed possible.

David Patterson-Cole

Author Bio

David Patterson-Cole, CEO of the salary negotiation platform Moonchaser.

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