The OKR method refers to Objetives and Key Results, this is, setting clear targets and a relevant follow up of it all. And although it is vastly applicable to a variety of business topics, it is quite ideal for sustainability.
While sustainability remains a highly debated topic, in its application, in its definition, and even in its importance, effective action gets dragged dangerously.
Loose definitions of what sustainability means for a given company create equally loose targets and objectives. Often times this leads to a very poor execution of sustainability, with poor engagement and little to no alignment.
What is the OKR methodology?
The OKR methodology, Objectives and Key Results, as the term itself suggests, is a goal-setting methodology that helps drives alignment, performance and results inside the company business strategy.
It is also a very simple and straight forward tool to drive engagement throughout the company as the latter is based upon measurable goals. By setting clear objectives, it helps align everybody’s efforts and connect employees to meaningful priorities and performance goals.
In short, it is a methodology that creates shared goals with clear targets, helping everyone work towards top business goals.
Additionally, we can say the OKR methodology is a qualitative and quantitative strategy; while Objectives help to set out qualitative headlines to what it is to be achieved, Key Results can be understood as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) establishing specific metrics and measurable targets.
OKR and sustainability
While the Objectives and Key Results methodology is vastly applicable to many business goals or strategies, we believe it is quite ideal for sustainability matters, specially given the sometimes vague nature and definition sustainability has inside organizations
Increasingly, employees, consumers, and a variety of stakeholders demand for sustainability and climate action to be not only present, but a deeply integrated element of the company purpose and strategy. The OKR method can help bring employees and employers together and drive meaningful action for corporate sustainability.
While the definition of sustainability for a given company can be understood as a separate task from OKR, it is nonetheless worth taking into account in the process, as it will be crucial for the execution of whatever is defined or agreed upon. In fact OKR, as explained before, it is a means for alignment, which makes clarity and transparency in this area quite crucial.
Applying an OKR methodology to sustainability
Following an OKR methodology, and an effective sustainability strategy, will mean everyone has its role in procuring environmental, social and governance related responsible business practices or operations. This idea is not only the key to cross-company alignment, but the key to a successful sustainability performance.
It is precisely the simplicity of this method -setting Objectives and progress-measuring criteria, or Key Results – that provides both scalability and connectivity to the sustainability strategy.
Scalability in as much as the method allows for organizational goals and individual or team goals; and connectivity as regardless of role or responsibility, everyone can contribute to higher level or overall targets.
OKR and a sustainability culture
OKR goes hand in hand with Human Resources and the development of a strong sustainability culture throughout the organization. This is, while establishing a culture of sustainability is an HR priority, recycling or volunteering programs go in line with OKR objectives. Both of them can and should be connected.
The logic here is simple: the more mindful and aware employees and stakeholders are regarding their impact on the environment and on society, the more support internal practices and objectives will gain to advance corporate sustainability.
The OKR methodology helps make sure there is a clear and strategic framework every department, area or person can effectively follow and be part of, binding the organizational culture around sustainability and key measurable outcomes.
Small everyday actions go a long way
In DoGood we advocate for the importance of making small but meaningful changes in our everyday life in order to find purpose and a more healthy relationship with what is around us.
We also believe that working collectively can help us find that which alone may seem unattainable or useless.
That is why we think the workplace is the perfect environment to find that collective eagerness to make a difference, both for the sustainability and purpose of the company and a more sustainable way of being for all employees.
Through our technology we help companies establish ESG impact objectives for employees in regards to the sustainability strategy of the company. We are able to activate and track employees’ impact, creating engagement that translates into improved ESG metrics, reputational value and an overall positive impact for the environment and society.