From the business perspective, the COVID pandemic and its impact on the economy redefined how the world worked. It heralded a series of unique challenges for companies, employees, and consumers.
In this article, we will investigate whether the Objectives Key results methodology (OKR), a comprehensive goal-setting framework, can solve these unique problems.
What challenges are the Chief Human resources officers facing?
Many employees were forced to work from home or adopt a hybrid work environment to cope with the strain on global business at the time. As of now, hybrid or flexible working environments have become the new normal. The idea behind remote work is that by letting employees work in their comfort zone, they will be more productive.
Along with all the benefits of a remote/hybrid work environment come problems.
CHROs have to devise effective systems to ensure that workers from home maintain/increase their level of performance, and teamwork/collaborative efforts, while staying motivated and in a good state of mind.
Keeping work-from-home employees engaged and productive became a more pressing issue for organizations. Individuals working from home are more prone to fatigue and a dip in productivity because of the lack of regular break schedules and social interaction, and faster collaboration with others that improve performance.
Before the adoption of goal setting and tracking systems, the HR department could not effectively track productivity across individuals and different teams- This includes matching productivity levels of office and home staff.
Workplace anxiety and mental stress.
Between 2019-2022, anxiety levels and mental health issues rose globally due to social unrest and a downturned economy, and individuals in the workplace were among the most affected. Many individuals were constantly under mental stress due to isolation, fear of being laid off, and the lack of social interaction. As the bridge between the business and the human sides of an organization, the HR department has to ensure that all employees are at their physical, emotional, and mental peaks.
Diversity, inclusion, and inclusion.
The aftermath of the global pandemic, along with racial and social unrest across the globe led to the realization of biased employment protocols in the workplace.
These events also revealed the impact the lack of diversity and inclusion had on women, people of color, and differently-abled individuals.
Diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) have become a top priority for organizations post-2022. The need, therefore, arises from CHROs to adopt more robust and inclusive strategies for recruitment.
Training and up-skilling employees.
The shift in work tempo and rapid changes in the ‘modern’ work-scape created unique demands for small and large-scale businesses and organizations alike. To meet these demands, employees, including the HR staff, must acquire or relearn relevant skills. The CHRO has the onus of ensuring that everyone is on track and progressing according to schedule across different work locations i.e., office and remote settings.
Are OKRs the perfect solution to the challenges CHROs are facing?
Given the broad scope of the problems and challenges businesses and companies faced/ are facing in the post-COVID market environment, are OKRs a solution? The answer is yes. OKR is a goal-setting and management framework that allows companies, businesses, or organizations to achieve their vision by setting smart and ambitious objectives.
How OKRs are the perfect solution to the challenges CHROs are facing.
OKR cuts across all levels of a company or business. Its flexibility & robustness mean that it can be used at an organizational, team, or individual level, ensuring that CHROs can take a multipronged approach to solve several challenges. In this section, we will focus on how OKR addresses the problems mentioned above.
OKR improves productivity and engagement in remote workers.
The OKR methodology bolsters team and individual management by providing a comprehensive goal management and reporting system, even in remote setups. Because OKR is equally effective on an individual level, it relieves managerial pressure on supervisors and the HR team.
With OKR, staff can set goals that motivate and push them to meet desired targets.
Using this methodology, teams can also foster effective communication and collaboration through shared projects or goals.
The adoption of cloud-based OKR software let individuals report progress, update their goals, and ensure they remain productive. Similarly, the CHRO can use the platform to update working policies and foster teamwork.
Let us take improving productivity among remote staff for a case study. The chief human resources officer may set an OKR as such:
OBJECTIVES: Improve productivity among remote workers.
- Reduce project completion duration by 10%.
- Achieve 90% online attendance in meetings across all locations.
- Improve remote team turnover rate by 15%.
- Standardize 100% of tools and resources for online meetings and collaboration.
OKR can help improve mental health in the hybrid workplace.
Employees must be in a good state of health and mind to function optimally. OKR can help organizations improve mental health among staff by incorporating health and well-being into its policies.
Ensuring that the employees are happy and satisfied with their level of engagement will require a goal management system like the Objectives key results methodology that includes the involvement of teams and other relevant parties. OKR can help companies improve relationships among staff by bolstering effective communication, collaboration, and trust, and improve the mental health and well-being of its workers.
Setting goals for learning and training.
Companies can train their staff and evaluate participation and performance through effective management systems. The management can discover areas where individuals are lacking and the required program and timeframe for completing training courses.
As mentioned above, top organizations use OKR to achieve short to medium-term goals, following their long-term vision and objectives. This also translates to their recruitment policy.
By adopting an unbiased approach and stance on company procedure, organizations can achieve a more diverse and inclusive setting. For instance, a company can set ‘ increasing diversity by 25% in 3 years ‘, and with its key results, monitor performance and correct its plans.
Although the modus operandi of business has changed dramatically in the workplace, organizations and businesses can mitigate perturbations by adopting a robust goal-setting and management framework such as OKR.