Objectives and Key results is a technique for setting and communicating goals and results within businesses. Andy Grove, president of Intel in the 1970s, was the first to implement the practice which has now spread across many tech companies including Google, LinkedIn, Oracle and Twitter.
Google use the OKR process to measure employee performance via a multi-level scoring and evaluation system. The first step sees managers utilizing a five-point scale to rate their employees, placing staff members from ‘needs improvement’ to ‘superb’.
Interestingly and arguably refreshingly, at Google managers are not the ones who have sole control over the outcome of a ‘review’. The next stage of the process calls for employees and their managers to select a group of peer reviewers made up of ‘Googlers’ of varying seniority – both superior and junior to the staff member in review.
Peer reviewers are then simply asked to list one thing that the employee should do more of and one thing that they could do differently to have a greater impact on the business. Groups of managers then collectively review all of their staff members’ ratings in an effort to limit any personal bias that may unknowingly impact on scoring and to decide on employees’ final ratings.
Employee reviews are not pay reviews:
Traditionally, employers and employees alike typically associate annual reviews with conversations around salaries. Many employers have in the past, rightly or wrongly, tended to drive high performance by dangling money in front of employees’ noses with a view to formally discuss and then approve or deny incremental salary increases once a year in conjunction with an annual review.
However, at Google, pay discussions are distanced from employee reviews. The search giant conducts all annual reviews in November, while discussions about pay occur around a month later in December. This encourages the desire to perform to be tied to wanting to improve the company instead of for a cash incentive.
Providing ongoing feedback, implementing OKR’s and motivating their staff with the right incentives have helped put Google on the map as one of the best businesses to work for in terms of staff satisfaction.
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