Motivation of Remote Employees with OKRs

Companies adopting hybrid work arrangements, employees can avoid burnout by setting clear objectives and achieving key goals.

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If our collective increased productivity during Covid-19 tells us anything, it’s that remote work’s reputation as being the “lazy option” is no longer accurate. Companies are now figuring out ways to measure traditional metrics such as participation and engagement, while hybrid or remote work is becoming the norm.

Although we have become more efficient and agile, our ability to deliver results has improved than ever, there is still some doubt about remote workers’ dedication. For small-sized businesses, however, productivity is vital for success. It is essential to constantly do more with less, and ensure that there are no wasted resources.

This has resulted in a dedication to key performance indicators (KPIs), as a means to measure productivity. KPIs are measured every day, discussed in team meetings and projected on TV screens. They can also be pumped into Slack channels. Companies can get lost in the details when they focus on increasing or decreasing KPIs. This makes it easy for companies to lose sight of what is really important. While KPIs can be objectively good, focusing on the output is not the best way to achieve the same outcomes as the one that focuses on the results.

Related: Why Remote Work Can Help Bridge the Hiring Gap, Especially for Rural Professionals

During the Covid-19 pandemic, companies increasingly implemented surveillance and tracking software, believing that it would improve team productivity and efficiency while everyone was working from home. Companies began to use monitoring software to monitor employees’ internet surfing and work hours. Many companies even tried to monitor workers by imposing strict webcam rules on employees and multiple daily check-ins. This is leading to burnout.

Multiple studies have found extrinsic motivation isn’t effective for workers. Micromanagement and employee surveillance software can create fear among employees and increase pressure on them, which in turn leads to lower morale and a decrease in productivity. Digital supervision not only removes privacy, but it breaks the trust built between managers and employees.

Enter the alternative — Objectives and key results (OKRs).

OKRs can help to focus, align and develop productive behavior that will foster an intrinsically motivated culture. Employees can define their desired outcomes through the OKR process. This empowers them and motivates.

Related: Why Remote Learning is an Avenue That is Worth Exploring

To build a long-lasting team, it is important to create intrinsic motivation. The median tenure in the overall workforce is approximately 4.2 years, whereas at startups the median drops sharply to only 2 years. Startups are singularly concerned with maximising output. It’s no surprise then that many companies fall into an “employee relations” model, which means they lose key talent to do more, and be able directly to point to rising metrics. The burnout rate will only rise when employees are constantly under the watchful eye of their employers for signs that their productivity is declining.

OKRs are focused on outputs rather than outcomes. This is a method to address your problem, not the symptoms. It also allows teams to be more flexible and allow them to innovate and experiment in new ways. It also allows team members to be more human and push themselves harder. This encourages positive behaviors such as sharing progress updates, reflecting on and iterating regularly around goals and encouraging collaboration. All this while maintaining trust and autonomy.

When you are setting your quarter’s goals, don’t focus too much on increasing the number of KPIs. Instead, think about the outcomes that you wish to achieve. Teams are encouraged to create their own OKRs. We align these with company’s so that teams can choose the best outcomes while maintaining a balance between their work and their personal lives.

This not only shifts the expectation to be more flexible but also creates a sense of purpose and ownership that drives them to achieve their goals. Remote work offers the possibility to increase productivity, but it is only available for companies that are willing.

Related: Why Remote Work Makes Teams (And Leaders) Better

Publited Sat, 14 August 2021 at 16:04:11 +10000

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