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Chief Operating Officer OKRs: Benefits & Free Examples

Foster alignment by connecting your team to your mission and vision through measurable goals. Learn all about COO OKRs here!

By Hannah Ross  •   February 7, 2023  •   7 min read

The objectives and key result (OKRs) model is a powerful resource that can be leveraged by chief operating officers (COOs) to express and organize organizational goals. Benefits of leveraging OKRs include aligning and connecting employees to corporate goals, providing team members with a North Star or clear direction, tracking progress as it relates to greater organizational goals, making more effective decisions, and achieving measurement, accountability, and transparency. 

In this article, we’ll dive into common challenges for COOs and learn how setting OKRs can act as a solution. In addition, we’ll detail the benefits of chief operating officer OKRs and outline specific examples you can use when creating your own. 

Common challenges for COOs

1Lack of employee engagement

The key to any successful organization is engaged employees. A lack of employee engagement can decrease employee satisfaction, result in workplace conflicts or dysfunction among teammates, and contribute to a poor workplace culture. Another major factor to consider is the impact that a lack of engagement will ultimately have on hiring and retention. Disengaged employees will lead to a toxic workplace, which will increase employee turnover. 

2Unproductive remote or hybrid work models 

The world of remote work is still relatively new, which means it’s normal to run into roadblocks or minor blips. What isn’t normal is unproductive remote or hybrid work models that aren’t built on trust, transparency, or inclusivity. In a world that is largely embracing remote and hybrid models, it is now more important than ever to create sustainable models that support remote and hybrid employees in their endeavors to excel in this new landscape. 

Start achieving your OKRs!

Stay on top of your team’s goals by clearly recording, defining, and tracking the progress of your OKRs in Fellow’s Objectives tool. The best part? You can quickly review those objectives during your team meetings.

3Poor alignment 

Many COOs fail to recognize the importance of a North Star. If you don’t achieve buy-in from your team, you won’t be able to foster alignment. Failing to foster alignment and achieve buy-in can be detrimental to the long-term success of your organization. Ways you can begin to prioritize alignment include: 

  • Setting clear goals
  • Creating a North Star
  • Creating a sense of urgency
  • Embracing a growth mindset
  • Making a commitment to change
  • Identifying and removing barriers
  • Striving to create a solid company culture

4Outdated technology

Outdated technology can be detrimental to COOs and to the entire organization they’re a part of. Using old or outdated technology can hinder productivity and ultimately end up costing more money than upgrading the tech would. Instead of saving time and money with optimized systems, you’ll be preventing your organization from reaching its full potential. Leveraging updated or current technology can help improve communication, increase efficiency and productivity, and decrease the risk for cyberattacks or security breaches. Updates are necessary to keep your organization running smoothly.

4 benefits of OKRs for COOs

1Foster alignment

Organizational alignment is incredibly important as it helps encourage collaboration and the mutual pursuit of organizational goals. Creating OKRs is a great way to foster alignment and ensure all employees are working towards goals that contribute to all predefined OKRs.

2Prompt structure 

A lack of structure can be detrimental to an organization. To thrive, employees and COOs alike need to have structure. Organizational structures are important as they help businesses implement effective decision-making processes. In addition, structure also helps reduce stress and increase psychological safety. A structured work environment will lead to processes and practices that make everyone’s lives simpler. 

3Encourage transparency 

Workplace transparency helps breed trust, innovation, and job satisfaction. A lack of transparency can hinder connectivity and collaboration between colleagues, which is why it’s so important for COOs to leverage OKRs. Additionally, having public OKRs will ensure everyone knows exactly what is expected from them at all times. Employees, people managers, and senior leadership can then work backwards to develop unique departmental goals that contribute to shared OKRs. 

4Improve sustainability

Sustainability can be difficult to achieve without a long-term vision. Improving sustainability is only possible with a meticulous plan and diving into the current processes within an organization, which is why OKRs are so important. 

Examples of OKRs for COOs

1Improve our remote onboarding process

A great onboarding process will help new hires become acclimated to the organization while simultaneously providing the organization with the opportunity to clearly demonstrate its mission, values, and unique characteristics. A positive onboarding experience helps facilitate relationship building which will ultimately impact retention, productivity, and overall happiness. It is for these reasons that we wish to improve our onboarding process.

Some key results to aim for with this OKR include: 

  • Create a standardized template for all hiring managers. 
  • Book frequent reviews with all new hires to ensure everything is progressing smoothly. 
  • Document all necessary reading materials and accounts new hires must have access to before their start dates. 
  • Outline best practices and major milestones that hiring managers must follow during the onboarding process. 
  • Book frequent reviews with all new hires to ensure everything is progressing smoothly. 

2Foster alignment and ensure the broader team understands our company’s mission and vision

Organizational alignment is important for a variety of reasons, including heightened collaboration, improved employee morale, and increased efficiency and productivity. Businesses succeed when employees and management are aligned and working together to achieve common goals. This is why it’s important for us to foster alignment and ensure our team understands our company’s mission and vision. 

Some key results to aim for with this OKR include: 

  • Ensure all departmental goals are crafted with greater organizational objectives in mind. 
  • Discuss company objectives frequently at company-wide meetings. 
  • Create an accessible deck portraying all progress as it pertains to company-wide objectives. 

3Foster better communication between managers and their direct reports by implementing a structured one-on-one plan 

One-on-one meetings are an excellent opportunity to foster trust and strengthen relationships between managers and employees. They provide a safe space for both parties to connect and to give and receive feedback. It is for these reasons that we plan to implement a new one-on-one meeting plan that optimizes these experiences. 

Some key results to aim for with this OKR include: 

  • Choose a standardized one-on-one meeting platform. 
  • Meet with all people managers to introduce the new plan and discuss blockers. 
  • Ensure each manager is asking thought-provoking questions that develop employees’ skill sets. 
  • Introduce the concept to your entire team and ensure all managers and employees are set up for success. 

Pro tip: Collaborate on meeting agendas, assign action items, get suggested conversation topics, and exchange feedback. Fellow is the one-on-one meeting app your team will love. 

4Establish new company guidelines and systems that empower employees to work from anywhere 

Now that the world has largely adopted a remote-first model, it is now more important than ever to create a sustainable strategy that empowers our employees to work from anywhere. It is for this reason that we need to update our company guidelines and systems. 

Some key results to aim for with this OKR include: 

  • Ensure all technology is up to date and optimized for remote employees. 
  • Survey employees to determine where all individuals will be working from during the calendar year. 
  • Ensure all company assets and policies are up to date and are easily accessible for appropriate parties. 

5Hire 5 diverse and skilled employees

Diverse hires bring diverse perspectives, which is why it’s important to double down on our efforts to expand our internal talent pool to include employees from marginalized backgrounds. This is why we plan to take steps toward hiring 5 diverse and skilled employees while simultaneously creating a diverse talent pipeline. 

Some key results to aim for with this OKR include: 

  • Work with an HR consultant to review job postings and ensure they’re inclusive and competitive. 
  • Interview at least 15 candidates for each role, with at least 10 of them coming from marginalized communities. 

Bonus: How to set and track OKRs in Fellow 

Fellow makes it possible for you to track OKRs as part of your meeting workflow. By leveraging Fellow’s Objectives feature, you can stay on top of your teams’ goals by clearly recording, defining, and tracking the progress of your OKRs. With the Objectives feature, you can also link your objectives directly with a team meeting, making it easy to review progress, resolve challenges, and keep all OKRs on track. 

Additionally, Fellow simplifies creating new objectives, specifying key results, tracking progress, and updating contributors. Each team member has the ability to create their own private or public OKRs or create team-wide objectives by simply visiting the “My Objectives” section in Fellow. 

To organize objectives in Fellow, simply: 

  • Define your cycle. 
  • Add team objectives. 
  • Specify key results. 
  • Review goals regularly and stay on track. 

Free OKR templates

Chief operating officer OKRs: Unlocked 

In conclusion, setting and tracking OKRs is an essential practice that COOs need to leverage. The benefits are bountiful and include fostering alignment, prompting structure, encouraging transparency, and improving sustainability. 

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