There are many ways to monitor the progress of an organization and its employees towards their objectives. For instance, performance management is one of the most essential systems to understand how employees are performing, how much progress they have made, and how the organization is moving towards its objectives.
You cannot mandate productivity, you must provide the tools to let people become their best
But performance reviews, while indispensable, have some shortcomings. They require close supervision from a manager, and can’t always be conducted on a consistent basis due to resource constraints. This puts a lot of pressure on reviews when they do come around, and the stress of reviews can cause discomfort for the employees.
When the organization conducts an annual review, the opportunities for continuous feedback and pulse checks aren’t as frequent. The Objectives and Key Results system can help address these issues effectively.
What is ‘OKR’ in business?
So what are OKRs, exactly? The OKR framework is a goal-setting and monitoring methodology that allows organizations, their teams, and individual employees to constantly monitor the progress everyone makes towards their respective goals. It visualizes real-time progress and constantly pushes employees to perform to the best of their abilities through ownership of their goals and tasks rather than managerial supervision.
OKRs allow organizations to quickly spot misalignment of goals, and lagging progress on goals. This allows teams to stay agile and course-correct whenever needed.
Highly automated OKR software enables you to achieve this by offering comprehensive data and insights about progress in real time. This greatly increases the control you have over the performance and progress of employees as well as organization towards their respective goals. You can get started on Profit.co’s OKR software for free today.
How do OKRs work?
OKRs consist of a qualitative, ambitious objective, or goal, and the quantitative, concrete key results, or outcomes, that you need to see in your business in order to know that the objective has been achieved.
OKRs are set at multiple company levels, also referred to as OKR levels. Teams can cascade key results to lower levels as objectives– for example, a company-level key result becomes the objective for a department– as well as align OKRs from the bottom-up– so, sub-departments’ objectives can become a parent department’s key results.
OKRs are most useful when they are managed on an OKR software. With software, users can check in the progress of their key results, report how they are progressing to teammates, and look through everyone’s OKRs to see where priorities lie in the organization.
Key result check-ins are usually completed once per week. So, the OKR software is always up to date with the latest progress. Data from all the individuals is consolidated to build insights on progress of teams against various key results and also the overall objectives of the organization. All data can be consolidated onto an OKR dashboard.
What is an OKR dashboard?
An OKR dashboard is the space in an OKR software where all the metrics related to the goal progress are collated. Here, employees and management alike can review company-wide progress. As employees update check-in data, the information and visuals in the dashboard change in real time.
The origin of OKR dashboard
An organization is a sum of all its employees, and the progress it makes is nothing but the outcomes of work done at an individual and team level. In order to bring them together to create impactful outcomes and make the organization efficient, productive and agile:
- The organization’s objectives, core values and culture need to filter down to every level.
- There should be an effective system to break down goals to team and individual levels.
- An effective mechanism for quickly communicating those goals and aligning everyone to the goals is required.
- Goals, targets and responsibilities should be owned by employees at all levels.
- The progress of every employee and team needs to be tracked against the respective goals and timelines.
- Gaps, mistakes, and weak links should be identified and corrected.
- Progress should be measured scientifically and documented for everyone to see.
- There should be effective planning, communication, teamwork, and measuring mechanisms in place.
- There should be a dedicated group of people to collect, consolidate, and analyze data.
But analyzing data manually and communicating progress through emails and review meetings is a slow and inefficient process.
The OKR framework, along with an OKR dashboard, can help organizations incorporate all these vital aspects of an agile organization and address their specific needs as a company. The OKR dashboard transformed the way objectives are filtered down to employees as individual targets, how the goals are set and measured, and how actionable insights are built and visualized. It keeps evolving to incorporate more features and display more data.
What can you infer from an OKR dashboard?
An OKR dashboard usually shows the following data.
- Progress against overall objectives
- Progress of the team against its goals
- Progress against individual goals
- Culture and values
How to monitor OKRs using the dashboard
Objectives and Key Results involve the following steps:
1. Set the Objectives and Key Results
Quality objectives are qualitative and are more like a vision statement. These lofty objectives of the organization can be achieved through certain quantifiable, measurable goals, which are the key results. The objectives and key results are discussed and entered in the OKR software.
2. Allot weightage for each Key Result
Objectives cannot be achieved with just one or two key results. There should be progress on each key result. So, in order to track overall progress, every key result is given a particular weightage out of a total of 100%. The weightage can be determined based on the importance of each key result and prioritization of the same. Upon reaching 100%, the key results will be deemed completed.
3. Break them into smaller goals
The key results need to be broken down into action items for employees to work on to help move toward completing the goal. At this point, the team’s goals and individual’s responsibilities and targets are displayed on the OKR software.
4. Communicate the Key Results and targets to everyone
The main objective, the key results and the targets and tasks at team and individual levels are communicated to each individual through the OKR dashboard and software. This process instils transparency and makes every individual and team take up responsibility for their own targets.
5. Enter the progress and track
Every employee should input their weekly progress. The progress gets automatically reflected on the OKR dashboard as percentage achieved vs total weightage for each goal. Progress made by all the individuals is all automatically consolidated by the OKR software, and the team’s achievements towards its goals are displayed.
The OKR software also aggregates all the data related to teams’ progress and displays the organization’s progress towards the overall objectives. The OKR dashboard also displays the ratings of the employee with regard to performance as well as alignment to the organization’s values. This gives a bird’s eye view of the performance and progress made at all levels. Employees can periodically track the progress by looking up the percentage of progress made towards each key result and the objectives.
6. Review, realign and recover
The progress made at individual and team level, gaps in performance, and shortfalls in achieving the key results need to be reviewed using the insights on the OKR dashboard. Problems that employees are facing can be identified and remedied by managers and the entire team, and employees can course-correct.
How does the OKR Dashboard add value to the organization and its employees?
The OKR dashboard serves various purposes and solves various problems involved in understanding progress towards goals. It adds value by contributing to the speed, efficiency, and productivity of the organization in the following ways:
Measuring progress of individuals towards their goals and the organization against the objectives manually is a monumental task. OKR software automates everything and instantly pulls data from multiple sources, visualizing progress in real time, saving time and resources.
2. Finding what is relevant
Employees in organizations get a lot of communication everyday regarding so many things. They get emails, phone calls and a host of other notifications, which may not necessarily be related to the objectives or their personal targets. Visualizing progress through the OKR dashboard puts into perspective what is important and what can be discarded. With detailed insights, employees can easily double down on the tasks that will help them progress towards their goals faster and discard anything that did not contribute towards their goals. Insights from the OKR dashboard helps employees find what is relevant and improve efficiency.
3. Prioritizing tasks
Every employee has multiple tasks in hand at any given time. Some tasks may even pop up unexpectedly in an employee’s schedule and daily plan. While the employee must find a way to do every single task, they cannot afford to allot too much time on tasks that do not lead to the achievement of goals. The OKR dashboard precisely shows the goals, and the progress they made towards them by doing certain tasks, bringing clarity to the employee with regard to how he or she needs to prioritize the tasks in the schedule.
4. Finding focus and motivation
The OKR dashboard displays what is important for every employee at any given moment. It reminds the distance employees and teams need to cover within a specific time span to achieve their targets and meet their objectives. This acts as a constant source of motivation for the employees and helps them stay focused on tasks in hand. It helps them avoid anything that distracts them from what they need to achieve.
5. Eliminating errors and oversight
The OKR dashboard is always accessible to the employees, and it acts as a compass for the employees to verify if their work is producing desired results. When they cannot achieve a short term goal, or when their progress tanks, it can help them self-reflect, identify what went wrong, and correct those mistakes. In the long run, this makes them responsible for their own work, output, and performance. It helps them become more independent and capable of working independently without supervision, which is an indispensable quality for employees during the pandemic.
6. Achieving performance and efficiency
Constantly checking progress and visualizing them in a more meaningful way in the OKR dashboard gives a new perspective to the employees. It pushes them to constantly find new ways to perform better and complete tasks in more efficient ways. Ultimately it helps improve performance and efficiency at all levels.
7. Promoting transparency
The OKR dashboard helps visualize much more than just the progress against an individual’s goals. This feature shares important metrics, check-ins, and how each goal aligns to one another. Nothing is hidden, and this promotes transparency in the organization.
8. Real-time inferences and communication
The biggest benefit of the OKR dashboard is its ability to show progress and feedback in real-time. It gives quick insights and the power for employees to instantly infer the effectiveness of their work and their contribution to the organization.
The OKR dashboard links individual targets, progress and performance to that of the group. This helps employees develop a camaraderie with their team members, understand the importance of their contribution, measure the effectiveness of the team and push team members to work in synergy and achieve team goals faster. It can help in other ways as well. For instance, if a goal could not be achieved because of gaps in individual performance, the team can re-allocate individual tasks and targets and share the work differently.
10. Success and perception by peers
OKR software provides employees with dedicated spaces in the interface to conduct surveys and peer reviews. It also enables employees to offer feedback and praise on OKR progress and other aspects of performance, when the company encourages it. They get to know how well they have internalized the core values and the objectives of the organization. This helps the organization get employee recommendations for different tasks. This further improves the chance of a well-rated employee building on success and getting better opportunities. It is good for both the employees as well as the organization.
Dashboards are used to continuous set and track goals
The OKR dashboard is a repository of useful information. It helps employees infer progress, analyze how to become more productive, aim for more ambitious goals, take up more challenging targets, and systematically achieve progress at a faster rate.
As employees learn what works and what does not, they can improve their productivity and push performance to the limit. iThe organization can extract the greatest amount of performance from every individual and progress towards the objectives quickly and efficiently by visualizing all the vital data on the OKR dashboard.
To see how an OKR dashboard and other OKR software features can help your organization, book a free demo with our Profit.co team today!