Let’s face it — getting started with OKRs can seem daunting. As a Customer Success Manager, a common question I hear from managers is, “I understand the theory of OKRs, but how do I put them into practice?”
Fortunately, creating and managing OKRs becomes a lot easier when your managers have structured conversations with members of their team to define top priorities and discuss how to achieve them. It simply comes down to asking the right questions.
Check-ins between managers and employees shouldn’t be complicated, so the questions they ask shouldn’t be either. Here’s are some examples I’ve found to be successful for managers and employees to discuss:
Questions for the Employee:
- What outcomes do you want to achieve this quarter?
- How are you going to measure your progress?
- What resources or support do you need?
Questions for the Manager:
- Is the employee focusing on the right outcomes?
- Are there additional priorities that the employee should focus on this quarter?
- How do these outcomes contribute to your focus this quarter?
Having the right process in place helps drive the right behaviors, and I’ve helped many customers formalize this process by putting these questions into BetterWorks Conversations. Using Conversations to create OKRs means that employees receive a structured template, shared with their manager. Employees can write their proposed OKRs and receive feedback from their manager, documented right in the platform. Through these conversations, OKRs practically write themselves.
One company I’ve worked with that has found this approach helpful is Endeavor Global, a nonprofit with 28 locations around the world. Endeavor used Conversations to kickstart their first quarter of OKRs. Anna Hess, a Talent Management & Operations Associate at Endeavor, commented, “The Conversation perfectly set me up for thinking critically about my OKRs and understanding their purpose. The timing was perfect.”
A lot of our Program Leads have seen several additional benefits when their teams use Conversations to create OKRs. Not only do these check-ins provide guidance for navigating a new process, enabling employees to be successful in their first attempt at OKRs, but they also help employees create a record of how they’ve created their OKRs so they can use it for future reference.
Using Conversations to guide managers and employees in creating OKRs is a simple and effective way to help them turn theory into practice and put their OKRs into play.