How OKRs and communication can multiply company growth

How OKRs and communication with an ROI can multiply company growth.

OKRs are known the be highly effective growth ‘agents’ when optimally utilized but do not underestimate the role of effective communication as a catalyst for growth. Within the context of this article effective translates to results. At the OKR Institute, we call effective communication –

Communication with an ROI (return on investment) – Sounds like a catchy title for a sales course? – We are referring to communication that aligns with the whole ‘ performance ecosystem’:

* Communication that increases the engagement levels of team members

* Rewards and any action for that matter sends a message to team members and is a form of communication

* Optimal communication during Town Halls, coaching sessions, and meetings that generates a positive result from the same engagements.

* communication that breaks down resistance to the implementation of OKRs

* Communication infused with inspiration

* Empathetic communication balanced with taking a stand on the ‘non-negotiables’ of the company

Communication that makes sense of OKRs (Clear)

If employees do not fully understand OKRs, the context thereof, and the role that they have to play, they are likely to view Objectives and Key results as ‘ just more work’ and yet another fad, and as a result, they will lack the high level of commitment to sustainably succeed.

Communicating the ‘why’ behind OKRs well, making the team members’ roles and responsibilities crystal clear combined with strong leadership by example, creates a conducive environment for success.

It is also critical that both the content of the messaging and the environment around it stays consistent – when for example the town halls and check-ins are generally positive, but the chatter on WhatsApp groups is brief, not clear, and negative it will erode the confidence levels of stakeholders.

The communication around OKRs should be infused with inspiration and confidence yet balanced with sound controls (allocated tasks, acting within the context of S.O.P.S, safety measures, and in alignment with the company value system) and the ‘ Communication with an ROI model maintains this balance.

Join our OKR Professional, Leadership courses and programs to learn how to deploy Communication with an ROI model effectively within your organization:


Communication with an ROI and ‘CFR’

CFR (Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition) has become a ‘buzzphrase’ in the ‘OKR world’ and is aimed at increasing the levels of engagement and performance of team members. Communication with an ROI is more comprehensive as it includes conversations, feedback, and recognition but goes beyond it to become the thread that connects all elements of the ‘Performance Ecosystem’.

Communication with an ROI includes infusing the communication within the organization with inspiration and purpose and making the connection between the vision, purpose, and value system of the company with OKRs.

This aligned thread of communication demolishes doubt and misunderstandings and can be branded as effective communication (communication that produces results). Doubt is the precursor to fear and fear causes non-action which can destroy the sustainability of OKRs.

This Harvard Business Review briefly focuses on a few things you can immediately do to improve your communication skills:

Simplicity and Clarity are key to obtaining a return on investment in communication

The human brain struggles to process vague information and battles severely with complex communication models. 

Communication with an ROI keeps it simple, and clear and fosters collaboration. In short, it is about formulating the right questions, and then refining and distilling the answers into actionable tasks that are in alignment with the company’s vision, objectives and value system. This writing refers to tasks that are relatively simple to perform as they were co-created and decided upon by the team, not handed down with brevity and vague instructions.

Communication with an ROI is a critical success factor of performance.

You could be perfect at setting the right Objectives and key results for your team. The whole team could be technically perfect yet failure is still a high possibility if the communication in the organization is poor and generally negative and vague.

OKRs are excellent frameworks and catalysts of performance yet it is still just that – a framework. It starts with strategic thinking fortified by excellent communication of those strategies and then the all-important ability to distill communication into action.

Management by meetings is still happening daily across the world and that is not wrong, it is purely the quality of those meetings and the outcomes of meetings that are concerning, and this concern is addressed by the ‘Communication with an ROI model’

OKRs albeit that they are ideally set through collaborative communication become a focal point to align your communication to. 

Rewards and recognition as a form of communication

Rewards and recognition are a form of communication, as they send a message to the employee – (what we value you for and what we focus on to reward)

A message of ‘we care’ must be included in your reward system and in the way you recognize employees. Personalized rewards can go a long way in sending a message of empathy as long as it is done fairly.

The HR division of an insurance company once secretly phoned those close to the employees due to receive rewards such as their spouses or family members to ask what they really needed. In one case a spouse answered that they really needed a new fridge.

The fridge, fully stocked with family favorites was delivered to the team members’ houses with a handwritten card of appreciation. Tactics such as these, when they are fair, and sincere and impact the personal lives of team members positively send a clear message and are a form of communication likely to produce a return on investment. 

The return on investment must not be the objective here, caring is the objective, and the return on investment is likely to come as a ‘byproduct of caring’

Hiring and onboarding

The way a company hires, its onboarding practices, retrenchment policies, and the way they ‘fire’  people directly or indirectly (by applying just enough pressure to ensure that the employee cannot handle it) sends a clear message to the public as well. 

Infuse your hiring and onboarding practices with inspiration, purpose, and values, and thoroughly welcome new hires with clear communication on their career path and practical knowledge of how to actualize future growth opportunities. 

Talent Development Director of the OKR Institute