Create Cross Department Alignment in a Remote Work Environment With OKR

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Creating Cross Department Alignment In A Remote Work Environment With OKRs

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations have had to embrace work from-home culture. A recent CFO survey revealed that 74% of respondents expect at least some of their employees to continue working remotely even after the pandemic ends.

Although work-from-home is convenient both for employers and employees, this sudden disruption in the working culture has made it harder for teams to collaborate and communicate efficiently. While this might make strong teams even more robust, weak teams could become weaker.

Communication gaps, lack of physical contact, and remote work settings could make it challenging to identify the priorities and goals. Not to forget, highlighting priorities and responsibilities is difficult even in traditional work environments. According to a London Business School survey conducted in 2015, only 33% of the surveyed 11,000 senior executives could list their company’s top three priorities.

This is where the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework can help. Whether your teams work remote or in-office, OKRs can help you communicate your priorities and responsibilities efficiently.

Remove the Guesswork and Get Efficient

OKRs help communicate the company’s priorities, eliminating any guesswork, and make executing strategy an efficient process.

If an organization is trying to focus on too many priorities, departments and teams will lack clarity and focus, and will likely be unable to deliver significant improvements in any single area.

OKRs Help Teams Align and Prioritize Around Work

OKRs help teams communicate over the set priorities and help you prioritize what’s more important. If done right, you can sort through the most critical three priorities within an hour. Once set, you can plug them into the OKR framework and communicate with the rest of the organization, depending on what works the best.

Visibility and Commitment Act As Motivators

The best part of OKR is that it is visible to all the stakeholders in the organization. Everyone has a clear idea of the goals set for the current quarter. It acts as a motivator for the employees to perform and deliver.

OKR Provides Employees with Clarity On The Direction Of The Organization

Since OKRs are transparent and easy to understand. Everyone, irrespective of whether they work from home or at the office, have a clear idea of the direction in which the company is heading.

People Stretch recommends setting 2-3 Objectives per level (company, department, team, individual).  They should be written to be both inspirational and aspirational, reaching as many teams as possible.

Manage More Efficiently With OKR

As OKRs bring all the stakeholders on a single page, they help with efficient management. Every stakeholder contributes to their way to meet the set goals.

Prioritize Meetings Around the Results That Matter

While managing remote teams, it is easier to get derailed. This is why you should conduct meetings and prioritize them. Healthy discussions ensure that individuals contribute positively to the company’s growth even when they work from home.

Stay Focused Around OKR

OKRs make objectives clear and highlight the various parameters that can be used to achieve them. The team collectively recognizes the critical goals and what success looks like, making the entire team stay focused.

Encourage OKR Conversations Early and Often

It is essential to encourage conversations around OKRs early and often to ensure that all employees align with the high-level objectives and work in unison to get the desired results.

Review OKR Progress at The Team Level

Reviewing OKR progress at the team level ensures that all the team members contribute positively to the set goals. This also ensures that the remote teams are working in the right direction and if the set goal is seemingly feasible to be achieved this quarter.

Build A Meeting Cadence To Break Down Barriers to Growth

It is essential to develop a meeting cadence to address any obstacles that remote teams encounter while achieving their OKRs.

What Is an OKR One-on-one

An OKR check-in is a quick 15–20-minute meeting wherein you and your team (whether remote or in-office) reflect on the progress of the OKRs set for the team and strategize on priorities for the upcoming week. Completing check-ins facilitates OKR progress and ensures that every team is accomplishing the set plans, week after week.

Balancing OKR Team Reviews And One-on-one’s

It is essential to balance both the OKR team reviews and one-on-ones. Both tasks are critical, yet time demanding. This is why we recommend having weekly one-on-one’s and biweekly team reviews.

OKR Team Review Agenda

A check-in meeting should be laser-focused and briefly touching upon the progress so far. Discuss the strengths and shortcomings of teams and individuals, and look for ways to solve issues, if any.

Questions To Ask Yourself About OKR Progress

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself about the OKR progress so far:

           1. What is the status of your Objectives? Are you confident you will achieve them?

          2. What did you learn last week?

          3. What are the plans for the next week, and how will you execute them?

          4. What were the significant challenges encountered?

Contributing Objectives Create Cross-Departmental Alignment

Make way for cross-departmental alignment by cascading objectives such that every department is clear of their set goal and works in unison to meet the defined targets.

Reduce Double Work

OKRs eliminate guesswork by keeping the communication open across teams and departments. Every team member becomes aware of the set goals, thus ruling out any confusion and double work.  Reducing double work can save organizations thousands to millions a year depending on the size of the business.

Increased Visibility Allows Collaboration Across Departments and Teams

OKRs provide visibility and clarity on the goals to be achieved. This makes way for active collaboration between departments and teams and ensures progress is made efficiently.  To make sure everyone has access to OKR information, it is recommended to use a software tool for tracking, reporting, and analytics.

Teams Meet to Identify Needs and Barriers to Success

Conduct weekly or bi-weekly team-meets to recognize the needs of your team and any barriers to success. This should be done at ALL levels of an organization, ensuring that as many teams and departments, and ultimately the organization, hit their objectives for the given quarter or year.

Conclusion

OKRs are agile by approach. Each OKR cycle consists of three phases: Strategic Planning, Execution, and The Retrospective. OKR allows organizations to review their performance each quarter and set their goals accordingly for the next quarter. Implementing a regular cadence for meetings and check-ins ensure that everything is going as planned.

Do you want to create a more agile organization by leveraging OKRs? People Stretch Solutions is here to help. Contact us to learn more.

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