Implementing OKRs for SMEs

Implementing OKRs for SMEs


Objectives and goals are a necessary and powerful tool in business. Objectives and goals enable staff, and individuals, to focus their efforts on achieving desirable outcomes. Businesses across the globe rely on objectives to achieve results which could relate to revenue, human resources, marketing, sales, product development etc. When it comes to SMEs and goal setting, two things happen. One, an SME exceeds their objections and continues to head in the right direction for the time being. Or two, if they aren’t hitting those objectives or going in the right direction, the business moves forward by taking corrective action. So, the inevitable and obvious question arises. How do SMEs achieve their goals? And furthermore, how do you go about implementing OKRs for SMEs?

A start up will have clear goals but may lack the knowledge and methodology to achieve them. It’s vital to have the proper framework in place to achieve a goal. In this blog we’ll look at some of the most common strategic planning frameworks that will aid and benefit SMEs.

In particular we’ll focus on the OKR strategy. OKRs have been used by the world’s leading organizations like Netflix, Google and Adobe. The goal with OKRs is to help keep a close eye on progress and increase company-employee alignment.

Are you an SME looking to improve your company performance? Then OKRs may be the way to make it happen.


What are OKRs?


As you may already know, OKRs made up of three components;

  • Objectives – a high level goal that the business wants to achieve. They define the destination the business wants to attain.
  • Key Results – are how the business measures progress. In other words they are the desirable outcomes of the endeavors a company undertakes to achieve an objective. They are made up of the tasks completed by individuals in the team, each week or month
  • Scoring – In order for an SME to know how well it is doing, it needs to know how they have scored on each key result. The scale is 0 to 1 and measures progress towards goals in increments of 0.1. Eg a score of 1 means that the team hit its target. 0.5 means halfway there and 0.2 needs improvement or missed the mark.

Hopefully this provides some more clarity on OKRs and as I mentioned already all of which can be assigned to an individual, a team or company and is the starting point for a performance management framework.


Implementing OKRs for SMEs


The beauty of Implementing OKRs for SMEs is that the system is relatively straightforward and hence can be up and running within your organization in a short period of time with these 7 easy steps.

  1. The Foundation
    • A quick trip back to school for your team and it’s your role to teach your team about OKR and what they mean for both the business and professional development. Allocate time for the team to learn the concept, terminology and the scoring system.
  2. Objective Building
    • Once the foundation is established, time to build the objectives. Start with a question like “What is the most significant change we need to make this month/quarter/year?” Then Brainstorm these ideas and narrow the focus down to 2 – 5 aspirational objectives. (If you need some extra help on smart goal setting, check this blog out).
  3. Define Key Results
    • Key results details how your SME is moving towards the company’s overall objectives. They are not tasks but specific results or outcomes. Clarity on these key results are particularly important.
  4. Aspire to be Great
    • OKRs are meant to be ambitious so aspire to be great. Like it or not, OKRs by design will make everyone involved just uncomfortable enough to motivate themselves to achieve the desired goals. Avoid any aspirations that might be ambiguous. You want to ensure that there are specific target numbers.
  5. The Next Steps
    • So, you’ve designed incredible OKRs, it’s time to ensure that all dependencies are addressed before you execute your objectives. For example, should you work with external parties, you need to communicate your OKRs with them and ensure that all elements are aligned. Once this is done, time to discuss strategies with the team on what the next steps will be, like when check ins will be.
  6. Weekly or Monthly Check-ins
    • It’s highly recommended to have ongoing check-ins on the progress towards accomplishing company objectives. Each objective may be different but here in WorkCompass we would suggest at a minimum, you should be doing monthly check ins. We know our stuff when it comes to performance management. You may feel the need necessity to do weekly check-ins but whatever you decide to do, during these check-ins, identify any issues that may hinder the progress of achieving a good score.
  7. Scoring and Review
    • The last step is to step back, review and score your OKRs. How well did the company perform? Are the objectives challenging? Were the OKRs followed? What impact did they have on the business? How to define your OKRs going forward?

A thorough review will be so valuable when it comes to designing new and implementing OKRs for SMEs as you’ll have better insights, stats and an increased understanding of how they work which brings a greater focus.

Finally, if you would like to know more about WorkCompass, our performance management software and how it can aid with implementing OKRs for SMEs. Please get in touch today or request a demo with one of our team.