The real challenge in setting personal objectives and key results (OKRs) for your employees is the implementation. It’s common for organizations to adopt these personal OKRs only to forget about them later on. There are many factors why this happens. It can be that the organization itself fails to communicate the value of these OKRs to the employees. Another reason is that the OKRs do not align with the overall objectives of the organization itself.

Hence, they get sidelined in the process.

Personal OKRs differ from team OKRs in general. They focuses more on individual development instead of advancing job positions. But if executed effectively, it can even be a way to boost your employees’ productivity and get actual results.

What are OKRs?

OKRs are quantifiable objectives or things you want to accomplish. Plus, the stepping stones to achieve them. These should be substantial. Meanwhile, the key results will serve as milestones.

OKRs are essential to make it easier to measure your progress towards an objective.

OKRs are not simply actions you plan to accomplish. It doesn’t measure the amount of work you put in. Instead, it measures the effect of the work you did.

Why use OKRs?

In a business setting, it’s essential to use OKRs to give managers a quantifiable and concrete way to measure progress. But, it does so in a way that’s not “micromanaging” to get the tasks done. OKRs allow flexibility in achieving those objectives.

Personal OKRs, in essence, help employees increase their focus and engagement. They can align their individual efforts around their common goals. In turn, they boost teamwork and improve their productivity and efficiency. Meanwhile, these OKRs also support managers in offering effective performance reviews and feedback with factual data.

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5 Best Practices for Personal OKRs

With that, here are some best practices and personal OKRs at work examples.

1.  Keep it simple and specific

Nothing can be more frustrating and discouraging than trying to reach unrealistic goals. Not to mention, it can quickly burn your employees out. Avoid toxic productivity in the workplace by keeping personal OKRs simple and reasonable. Likewise, be specific about the results and when these should be achieved.

For example, an employee hopes to improve their public speaking skills. That employee can then have an objective to become more confident in public speaking. Their possible key results would be:

  • Give a company presentation
  • Learn one new word a day
  • Complete a communication course using LMS software

Make sure that these results are visible so that your employee can see their own progress. This can motivate them to work harder in achieving their personal OKRs.

2.  Communicate OKRs clearly

Many employees fail to see the value of personal OKRs since these objectives tend to focus more on individual development than career advancement. As a result, personal OKRs don’t get the attention they deserve. It is up to you to explain to your employees the importance of personal OKRs and how they can impact their careers.

You need the right tools and strategy to clearly communicate this to your employees, especially now that the majority of them work from home. According to a recent study, 62% of businesses plan to increase investment in technologies to improve communication with their employees. Consider investing in LMS software which can serve as a platform where you can educate your employees about the value of personal OKRs. There are other uses for LMS as well, such as tracking your employees’ OKRs and their progress.

3.  Align with company goals

You can align your employees’ personal OKRs with the company’s overall goal. This ensures that their efforts would be useful to the organization as well. It lets them feel as if they have contributed to business growth instead of keeping their successes to themselves. This makes achieving OKRs more fulfilling.

Personal OKRs can cover other things aside from individual growth. It can focus on improving your employees’ respective workflows at work or how they can perform better within their teams. There are also some OKR examples for process improvement. For example, an HR assistant can aim to improve their people’s skills, which will be useful for their job.

4.  Review progress regularly

Setting personal OKRs is just the first step. You must also make sure that your employees are doing something to achieve these goals. Review their progress regularly so that your employees would feel motivated to accomplish them.

There are different ways you can do this. The simplest one is through a casual one-on-one catch-up with their respective supervisors just to see where they are at. This can also be in the form of coaching where employees can receive advice or training in the process.

You can also use LMS software to track their OKRs and progress. This provides you with a centralized platform where you can review your employees’ performance. LMS software can also serve as a platform where employees can learn skills to achieve their personal OKRs. You can check out this list of LMS software tools to find out more.

5.  Celebrate milestones

Keep your employees’ motivation going by recognizing and celebrating small successes along the way. Don’t wait until they get to the very end to reward them.  With each milestone they hit, the closer they get to their objectives. This, in itself, is already a feat that deserves acknowledgment. Positive reinforcement also helps sustain their momentum and best practices.

You can do this by encouraging your employees to share their personal OKRs with others. This allows them to create a support system within their team where they celebrate each other’s successes. In one of the personal development OKR examples mentioned earlier, the employee whose goal is to give a company presentation can celebrate their milestone by receiving a badge in their LMS profile.

Addressing the common OKR misconceptions

Misconception 1: OKRs are the same as KPIs.

KPIs and KRs can overlap since they are both metrics to measure success. However, KPIs don’t include objectives. You can use both OKRs and KPIs. Or, depending on the level you’re monitoring – KPIs are usually at the individual level while OKRs are usually at the team level.

Misconception 2: Only organizational leaders can tell employees what their OKRs are.

OKRs should empower employees, even at an individual level, to take the initiative in goal-setting. Leaders can guide in setting OKRs, but they shouldn’t dictate them and what they should be.

Misconception 3: Plans are set in stone.

OKRs are flexible. You can reevaluate as much as you need, and update your OKRs from there, especially in today’s fast-changing environment. It’s normal to need time to figure out if your goals are too ambitious or too low for you to achieve.

Misconception 4: OKRs are a list of to-dos.

OKRs are not a to-do list. What you should be measuring are the results. For example, “create a monthly newsletter” is a task. Your OKR should be “increase monthly readership by 25%,” which is something you want to accomplish.

Eyes on the goal

Personal OKRs are beneficial to both your employees and the organization. Some personal OKR examples for learning and development can impact your employees’ overall performance at work. As a result, it boosts their productivity, allowing them to contribute more to business growth. So keep these best practices in mind to successfully and effectively implement personal OKRs for your employees.

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