5 Reasons Why Jobsity Uses OKRs -- and You Should, Too.
At Jobsity, all non-billable teams are aligned to meet the same goal: from recruitment to sales, IT to HR, operations and accounting to office management, all of our staff works together to ensure we can offer our clients an elite team of developers that will meet every client's needs, no matter what, every time. But how do we do this? How do we ensure it’s achieved? And how do we track our progress toward this lofty goal day in and day out, quarter after quarter?
The answer is OKRs.
Developed by Intel’s Andy Grove and later disseminated by his student, John Doerr, OKRs stand for “Objectives and Key Results” and are a model for managing achievement in any organization which desires ambitious quantifiable results as the outcome of their work. Today, myriad companies inside and outside tech are run with OKRs: Google, Netflix, Adobe, LinkedIn, Amazon, Twitter, not to mention Jobsity, and many, many more.
What sets OKRs apart from other management models is that the Objectives are ambitious and potentially long-term, and Key Results are specific, time-bound, and measurable benchmarks which, if achieved, are indicative of success along the way toward reaching those Objectives. In Grove’s early vision for Intel, Objectives never appeared without Key Results, because while an Objective may be important and ambitious (“be the best nearshore staff augmentation firm in the world!”), they are also vague; whereas Key Results make the Objective possible by their nature as clear, actionable milestones.
Other important distinctions between OKRs and other management methods is that OKRs are about collective achievement and not individual reward: when key results are achieved, they are not tied to salary increases or promotions, but are an expected part of a successful team achieving their stated quarterly goals. In addition, those key results can be ascertained with a simple “yes” or “no.” For example, if the key result was “recruit 20 new top developers to join our team” and we recruited 25, then “yes” -- the key result was reached. (If it wasn’t, then we know that too, because the number will be less than 20!) We can then set our next Key Result for the following quarter based on what we achieved or failed to achieve; both will be measurable goals that align to our overall Objective: to be the best nearshore staff augmentation firm in the world!
When thinking through whether or not OKRs are the best management method for your team, consider these 5 reasons why Jobsity uses them internally. They really work for us -- and we think, for these reasons, they very likely will work for you as well!
A great benefit of OKRs is that they’re clear. The Objective is large, ambitious and digestible, and the Key Results, which change every quarter, are actionable and black and white. With this kind of map to follow, we all can easily understand not only where to go, but whether or not we’re getting there -- so that we can spend our energy figuring out how to get there, and not getting lost along the way or wondering where exactly we’re meant to be.
Because OKRs are not tied to individual pay or personal promotions, they encourage an entire team to work together collectively. If two people in Recruitment are trying to work toward the goal of recruiting 20 top-level developers and one person has recruited 8 while the other has only recruited 3, OKRs encourage them to share knowledge so they can both get better. Because Key Results are collective and belong to the whole team, every boat rises with the tide and inter-team competition is rare.
- Cross-Team Agility
Another benefit of the OKR management model is that the main Objectives are overarching within an organization, so that every member of the company is aware of how their work is interconnected, and how one team’s lever can lead to another team’s success. This encourages true agility, as no individual is seen as stepping on another’s toes as long as they are all working together to achieve success around shared Key Results on the road toward a collective Objective. Whether they are doing so as part of the HR team or the Recruitment team, or as a member of the front office staff, it all matters for the same bottom line.
- Easy to Track Success
We all know how frustrating it can feel to work day in and out on a project, only to find later that the project wasn’t effective, or that it didn’t move the needle for the company’s success. This can be dangerously disempowering for an individual employee or for a team. OKRs help to avoid this pitfall by allowing for easy check-points and tracking of progress-to-goal. If we know where we need to be at the end of a quarter in order to bring us closer to that large company-wide Objective, then we can easily check along the way if the project we are working on is helping or not. If it isn’t, a strategic shift is the simple next step, and if it is, then great: keep going! Easy tracking creates more motivation and more effective work.
The last reason Jobsity is so taken with the OKRs model, and stands so firmly behind in -- enough to recommend it to you! -- is that it helps the company to narrow down our essential mission and act only in ways that help bring this vision to life. We know who we are, because we have an Objective which states it with clarity; and we know how to get there because our Key Results, which are black and white and change as we grow and evolve, support the manifestation of that Objective in clear, explicit terms. This means we can allocate team members where they need to be, and divide and conquer the work with ease and efficiency -- avoiding infighting, confusion, or change for change’s sake. That’s the magic of OKRs!
We know that OKRs have changed the fate of many companies from Silicon Valley and around the world. These are just five reasons we at Jobsity believe they’ve been a powerful ally in our work as a nearshore staff augmentation team. If you think OKRs might be right for your company, or you're curious about how we’ve made them work right for us, please reach out. Leading with Passion and Sharing Expertise are two of our core values -- and they fold right into our OKRs -- so we'd be happy to talk!
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