How can OKRs help your organisation navigate a recession?

by Carly Clyne | Oct 31, 2022

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Over recent years we’ve seen organisations battle through the most challenging scenarios; how did they do it? 

In the midst of an economic downturn, quick fixes are difficult to find. When there are multiple factors outside of an organisation’s control, the solution is to bring teams together by focusing on what is controllable. 

Businesses can no longer allow time or resources to be wasted on incorrect decisions, unclear directions, missed commitments, and ambiguous communication between different layers of the company.

Agile systems allow organisations to refocus their efforts, better allocate resources and align their teams. Those who embrace change to guarantee steady growth and improved operational resilience will always prevail during a recession. 

That’s where OKRs (Objectives Key Results) come in; they’re essentially the backbone for organisations manoeuvring economic uncertainty and the shifting terrain that comes with it. Below, we’ve explored how OKRs can help your organisation navigate a recession and how to get started. 

OKRs keep everybody focused

It’s normal for people to feel overwhelmed when trying to adapt to new challenges they face. OKRs can help you cut through the noise and keep your team focused on what really matters

In a time of uncertainty, you want to focus on what’s most important to the business and put all of your attention into this. With that said, OKRs are not a way to show how much work you have to do, or how busy you are; they’re quite the opposite. 

OKRs plan to tell you what your focus should be for you at that very moment.  

The more detailed OKRs, the more commitment your team should be able to put into that specific goal. If the OKRs are vague and quick, you won’t be able to show the necessary commitment. It’s much easier to feel invested if you know what part you play in the bigger picture. 

You can also allow your goals to be stretched so your teams can go that extra mile; this ensures that your business continues to drive forward and at the same time, has the much-needed edge over the competition.

Defined OKRs align teams

OKRs help bring together a visible team of people to lead the change. OKRs allow your teams to discuss who exactly is accountable for what, which is essential when dealing with scarce resources and budgets. 

As a business leader, you may not have all the answers, and that is okay. The important thing is to keep an open line of communication, this goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy workplace culture. OKRs are the route to ensuring that the business continues to be agile, even when the road gets tough. 

Having everyone on the same page is even more important during times of recession. OKRs will align your business priorities at all levels, ensuring that all employees share the same mission and vision. 

Achieving that alignment is a common challenge that most companies come up against when setting up their OKRs, but it can be avoided. Communicating what goals are changing and why helps keep employees aligned and equipped with all the information they need to do their jobs well. 

OKRs create collaboration

Motivating and inspiring employees, especially during times when they may be feeling disconnected, demotivated, or burned out is easier said than done. 

When organisations are faced with challenges and difficult times, it is important to keep your teams and people managers informed of what is happening and not keep them in the dark. They’re the lifeblood of the business after all.  

Creating team objectives collaboratively can help bring employees into the planning stages, making them feel more engaged and invested in both the process and the outcome.

This also gives employees a greater sense of ownership over their goals and work, leading to increased employee engagement and performance.

There’s no question we want to keep our top-performing employees happy – we want to continue to rely on them to bring their utmost best to work. During uncertain times and changing economic climates, employees can sometimes reconsider their job priorities and options (we’ve all read about the great resignation). 

Committing to employee engagement during these downtimes is vital. Gallup discovered that actively disengaged employees cost their employers 34% of their annual salary – something that can’t be overlooked at a time when finances might be tight. 

When an employee feels their engagement is important and they can see their work pay off, they are more likely to stay at the company even when the economy picks back up again. 

Learn how OKRs improve team happiness

OKRs help to better allocate resources

At a time when businesses cannot afford to waste time and resources on making wrong decisions, OKRs help eliminate wasted time and effort on activities that don’t contribute to the organisation’s goals. They’re an excellent tool for ensuring that resources are allocated to the correct areas at the right time.

If you’re unsure of where to start or how best to allocate resources, here at There Be Giants we have helped many organisations across the globe to embrace change and get on the path to experiencing growth. If you need some advice on how to plan for the road ahead, you can book a call at a time that’s convenient for you and speak to us today for tailored, sensitive support and advice.

Don’t forget to measure and track progress as a team!

You may be thinking, “What if I plan everything and something changes?” Well, the best part is that OKRs are designed to be flexible, meaning you can review and adapt if you need to.

A follow-up thought might be how this works with any other goals or performance-tracking metrics you’ve already debated. Contrary to popular belief, OKRs and KPIs can be used in tandem to help organisations manoeuvre economic uncertainty. This way you can track progress and identify any problem areas before it’s too late. 

Combining with performance indicators does paint more of the picture, but this cannot replace the need for regular check-ins as they allow you to keep track of progress toward your goals and pivot as necessary. 

By keeping a close eye on OKR progress and tracking OKRs over time, you can identify trends and make crucial adjustments to stay ahead of an impending recession.

Focus, alignment, and accountability are three aspects when it comes to reaching a goal – and OKRs should be able to set you on a straight path. Check out the ultimate guide to implementing your first set of OKRs to get started. We’ve shared how to establish the vision, rally the team and actionable tips on how to roll out a successful OKR framework.     

Download your OKR Implementation Guide