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OKRs & Performance Reviews - Is anyone using both?

Is anyone leveraging OKRs and Quarterly Performance Reviews? If so, is it working? Do employees see the value in completing both?

@Shan_Paul I’d consider myself an “employee” so take this with a grain of salt :slight_smile: I’ve definitely found value when using both OKRs and quarterly performance check-ins but it can feel like A LOT of overhead if done wrong. This has worked best for my team and I when:

  • OKRs are driven by departments/teams (rather than company overall) so the OKRs feel more relevant to my colleagues… and they have more ownership over the process
  • OKRs are completed within a quarter (so they don’t drag on forever) but can be kept for future quarters if we don’t hit our targets or are in dire need of additional learnings.
  • Performance check-ins are development focused so they feel less like a review and more like an opportunity to develop.
  • OKRs are considered a key input into the quarterly performance check-in, both for myself and my manager.
  • When I’m asked for feedback, I receive guidance on how to give feedback so I don’t feel obligated to write a page of text for each of my colleagues.

How are you thinking about balancing OKRs and Quarterly Performance Reviews?

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We’ve done quarterly reviews for about two years now and our team really loves them. I can’t imagine going back. Our team-wide communication and trust has significantly increased, and people are much more comfortable giving and receiving feedback than they were before.

We’ve tried both monthly and quarterly OKRs in the past, neither with success. On a quarter basis people were only working on their goals at the very end of each quarter, and only a monthly basis they rarely got touched because we didn’t have enough time. Unfortunately I don’t have a better recommendation.

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HI Megan,

Thank you for your response. We have been doing quarterly OKRs for about a year now but we’re just about to implement some form of performance component. The current direction is to use both the quarterly OKRs and the quarterly review process (simple as possible).

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Hi Shan - We use both quarterly OKRs successfully and quarterly performance reviews. Happy to chat through this further with you. I can be reached at sara.marzitelli@common.com

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@Dylan_Holmes Thank you for the detailed response. I really love the point about performance check-ins being “development focused” .

In response to your question, we want to ensure that employees don’t feel overwhelmed. We want to be engaged in both processes and so we want folks to have a clear understanding of the why behind each and the “WIFM” as well.

It’s definitely a long road to successfully implementing OKRs but I think the benefits in terms of company alignment and focus are definitely worth it. There are two books I found really helpful at understanding the challenges when it comes to goal setting and then getting buy-in across the company:

Measure What Matters by John Doerr [link]
Radical Focus by Christina Wodtke [link]

I’d be keen to hear if anyone else has any recommendations.

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Greetings Toby,

Thank you for your feedback. We are currently leveraging “Measure What Matters” throughout the organization. We provide to all new hires as part of their onboarding as well. I’m not familiar with “Radical Focus” but will definitely look into that.

We adopted OKRs about 18 months ago but now we’re looking to add in performance reviews (quarterly) and so I was hoping to get some insight into how other organizations have been able to successfully utilize both processes.

Regards,

Shan Paul

Hey @Shan_Paul - one option is to encourage employees to create both developmental and business-focused OKRs (using a single system). I’ve found that a blend of the two gives me more motivation to participate in the OKR process. Purely business-focused OKRs are important but can feel like a lot of heavy lifting if they need to be refreshed each quarter.

Hey @megan ,

We currently do objectives (tracked monthly) as well as semi-annual reviews. We recently started reviews and employees/managers are definitely getting used to them, but there are still a few areas we’d like to adjust/iron out. What type of framework/criteria you’re currently using? Would love to hear more since it sounds like it’s been a success.

Thanks!

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@Sara_Marzitelli I would love to hear your recommendations & best practices on running quarterly OKRs & performance conversations. Is the above email still best for you? Thank you!