OKR is a method of setting goals and measuring them as part of the organizational strategy. In this way, the activities of the entire organization are focused on realizing the company’s goals. The method adapts itself to the specific needs of each organization and brings with it many benefits such as: employee engagement, the realization of ambitious goals, the connection between interfaces, transparency, and more.
When considering OKR, goals, and measuring organizational activity, we often face a challenge – how can we measure HR activity? Yael Sha’ar Frischer, VP of Global HR at Gett, reveals the secret.
The OKR methodology was implemented at Gett about 5 years ago, in order to ensure that their internal organizational activity optimally supports their business goals. As part of this, each department, including HR, formulates its work plans every 3 months as part of the company’s strategic goals.
“I formulate the global OKR for the entire department together with the HR managers in the various territories (London, Russia, Israel),” says Yael. One has trouble recruiting, while another has plenty of candidates; one territory has better managers than another, and so on.
How do you manage to do this?
Yael examines the goals set by the company and produces a draft of OKR – the goals she sets for the global department, which include processes for improving the department’s work and achieving its goals. Yael presents the OKR draft to her management team and conducts an open dialogue with them about its contents. In this meeting, they discuss the goals and common challenges for all company units at the various sites. The HR team then challenges the premises, connects with the needs of the other units in the organization, unites under common goals and also addresses the differences.
The process of collaborating to formulate the OKR gets all team members on board and generates a greater commitment to the goals.
In addition, the OKR of the entire department includes lateral objectives that are common to multiple departments, as a direct product of the organizational strategy. Additionally, each department has their own objectives, which reflect the specific activity of each unit.
How is measurement done in the HR department?
In the HR department, OKRs often address the same issues, but with key results more accurately defined each 3 months.
Thus, for example, an objective that may be repeated and used for continuous improvement would be ‘Hire The Best People’.
“The objectives should inspire and provide general clarity about what we are trying to achieve”, says Yael, “so we write down a few sentences to detail the goal we wish to achieve”.
The Key Results (KR), the objectives’ indicators, change every 3 months and represent the improvements that the department wishes to see in the way it conducts itself.
One KR recently introduced is the percentage of quitting within 3 months of recruitment. This index may indicate a need to improve the company’s recruitment or onboarding process.
Gett’s HR department strives to implement new work methods to help the organization recruit the most suitable candidates. For example, in the implementation of this objective, the company uses the WHO method in its recruitment process, therefore goals were set to help implementation. In the past months for example, the KR aimed to brand the recruitment process as “unbreakable”.
At GETT, effectiveness and improvement are only expressed by numbers and not by gut feeling. This also serves the HR department in being connected to the company’s business and showing they generate actual value. It is often quite challenging to take a ‘soft’ department and present its activities in a measurable way, while at the same time getting the team on board and having them perceive this measurement as a significant tool in their work. The HR department usually tries to present numbers using employee engagement surveys only, once or twice a year. In this case we strive to be measurable all the time and produce quarterly activity cycles according to the business progress and the OKR method.
It’s not always easy
“It may be challenging to divide areas that are highly related into different measurements and work plans. KRs (indices) of one objective are often suitable for another objective”.
What can we do? Strive to refine the needs on the one hand, but maintain flexibility on the other. The OKR method should serve the organization and not itself.
In conclusion, the process of implementing OKR is not always easy, but it has great benefits. Thanks to the OKR process, the HR department is focused, dedicated and even more connected to the organizational strategy.
The OKR method is definitely here to stay – and like anything else, it too requires updating, improving, and rethinking to meet existing needs. Therefore, we are currently in the process of improving the routines created around OKR within the HR department in addition to the organizational routines. From retrospective analyses in the middle of the quarter to meetings to examine the OKR in the middle and end of the quarter.
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