How to measure remote performance

Knowledge Share Event 9 June 2020Summary from May 2020

Motivating a remote workforce and finding new ways to innovate and thrive is proving difficult during lockdown”. “Remote managers’ biggest concern is employee productivity”.

Adopting an OKR, or objectives and key results-based, approach is one way of doing this. This was first developed by Intel boss Andy Grove in the 1980s and then adopted 20 years later by Google, in start up mode; it then spread rapidly throughout Silicon Valley and is now used by Amazon and Airbnb, Walmart and ING bank.

​OKRs have two components;

  1. an objective, or short description of what you want to achieve
  2. and key results, which consist of 2-5 metrics, which are used to measure progress towards hitting the objective set.

The CEO sets business objectives for the year ahead and how it will be measured although in these times monthly goals might be better.
Senior leaders do likewise and evaluate quarterly.
Individual employees work towards operational OKRs; at this time maybe daily.
It is vital that people see how they contribute to the overall goals; clarity and focus, OKRs are an anchor in tricky times.

Roof shots versus Moon shots
OKRs should include achievable objectives but also stretch targets that may not be achieved. Only having achievable targets does not account for the innovative or creative risks that would push a company forward (like Google). With OKRs your performance does not have to be perfect because you are free to learn in the process and take different approaches.

Yes the CEO has to set clear milestones but innovative strategies often come from the bottom up.
This is a strategic shift towards a culture based on innovation with calculated risks; the OKR culture rewards learning over strict, rote performance. Grow and pivot. Realign goals quickly in line with the market.
Employees need to be ambitious, autonomous self-starters. But if they are not we can still shift the culture.

(If you are wondering about the relevance of the picture of Sophie, our cake baker, well she has pivoted and grown her business in the pandemic. Its fair to say though that she just had no idea about OKRs! She altered her offering, changed her marketing and came out busier than before. PS the wine bottles don’t belong to her)