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How to Introduce OKRs to Your Team in 3 Easy Steps

As a leader, your job doesn’t end with selecting the OKR methodology. Managers and department heads play a huge role in making the implementation of OKRs successful, and it’s your job to support them.

Any company that leads from the top will find manager buy-in to be extremely beneficial to the OKR roll-out process because it’s demonstrating by example. Your managers or department heads are the best people to run your annual objectives by. Task them with drafting alternative objectives that t the company, keeping in mind they have differing departmental priorities.

In the following, we’ll walk you through what a simple rollout process might look like as a guideline for you to start setting up OKRs for the very first time.

Brainstorm Company OKRs with an Annual Plan in Mind

In this initial step, the leadership team should identify up to 5 company OKRs for the year and with that, narrow down OKRs for the next quarter.

If you aren’t too sure where these objectives should come from, most companies draw inspiration from their vision and mission statements as well as current challenges. For instance, these priorities can range from doubling in company revenue to only selling reusable products.

Upon drafting company objectives, management needs to determine what the measurable key results are for these objectives. Drawing from our previous example, if our objective is to “double company revenue”, a key result could be “hiring 5 new business development executives”. These key results will be your plan of action for accomplishing the overarching company objectives—thus completing the company’s first OKRs.

Collaborate with Managers to Draft Their First Set of Department OKRs

Communicate how your company OKRs will be cascaded using the alignment model of your choice with department heads and managers. This is the first step to rolling out OKRs to the rest of your company. Here are a few topics of discussion you may want to cover in your collaboration:

  • Why OKRs will play an important role in the growth of the company.
  • Why the leadership team would like the company to start using OKRs.
  • How OKRs will work within the company and how alignment will work internally.
  • What expectations the company has for respective departments as reflected by the OKRs.
  • Do department heads and managers feel these expectations are reasonable?
  • Propose and agree upon expectations for which various departments need to achieve.

Managers benefit from stronger alignment and transparency as it helps them become better coaches. At the end of this collaboration, department heads and managers should have a clear understanding of what OKRs are and how they will be cascading throughout the company. They will be delegated with the task of creating department OKRs in accordance to company OKRs.

Communicate the OKR Methodology to the Entire Company

This initial introduction is key to gaining buy-in from employees. Managers need to be able to explain how this will benefit their team’s day-to-day and reduce micromanaging. With managers onboard with rolling out OKRs, an employee survey can be used to promote conversation with the rest of the company.

As with the department heads and managers, the same discussion points must be addressed along with questions and concerns. In order for OKRs to be rolled out successfully, employees must understand the expectations and alignment model to which your company will be approaching this roll out.

How Paycor Helps

With Paycor Talent Development, we help leaders keep track of OKRs and goals in a simple, transparent platform that provides a visual representation of how your individual team and organizational objectives are connected. This helps align your workforce to your company’s top priorities and lets employees see where they’re making the biggest impact and achieving the goals you set each month/quarter/year.