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Corporate Wellbeing and OKR (Objectives Key Results): a possible relationship?

What if we shifted the focus to data collection more focused on people rather than on their results? What if we focused, for example, on employee involvement, their motivation and culture in general?

According to a study by consulting firm Gallup, when analyzing performance differences between engaged and least engaged teams, highly engaged and highly engaged employees outperformed the most. In particular, they performed 17% more in productivity and 21% more in profitability. Research has therefore shown that there is a strong correlation between engagement and results.

In the corporate context, more and more companies are adopting the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework. One wonders why not try a new approach to this methodology and take care of the health and wellbeing of the work team as part of goal management practices?

What are OKR's?

Born in Intel and made famous by Google, OKR's are a corporate strategy management methodology increasingly widespread, also in Italy, among digital companies and beyond.

OKR stands for "Objectives & Key Results", key objectives and results and are a way to clarify what the business priorities are in the company for a given period and disseminate them within the organization at all levels (departments, teams, individuals) in order to align people and involve them and enhance the execution deriving from the strategy itself.

In this sense, the OKRs have one of their strengths precisely in involving people. They are a way to make the strategy transparent and shared,

but also the result of reasoning that is no longer just top-down, from management to the rest of the people, but top-down and bottom-up at the same time.

In fact, everyone is called to know and understand which direction the company is taking and to contribute with their own objectives to "push" in that direction, reinterpreting and enriching those priorities at their own level.

This is why it is said that with the OKRs the strategy is "returned to the hands of the people, who from passive subjects and simple working hands become active, thinking and proactive subjects in contributing to the corporate design , in line with its profound purpose.

Furthermore, OKRs enhance propensity to be agile (they are typically redefined every three months in continuous cycles), to confront each other and focus on feedback, to grow by progressively improving their way of working and promote a more data-driven mindset, because they are linked to strong metrics and key results, in fact, which are the ultimate result of the strategic effort pursued.

Wellbeing, engagement and OKR: how can they be related?

Now that we have an idea of what OKRs are, let's focus on how OKRs can also be particularly strategic in relation to employee well-being and engagement.

It is interesting how, among the latest evolutions of the method, OKRs have become a central theme in the HR panorama, highlighting their effects on people and being used for additional purposes, such as to direct the development plans and the involvement of the people themselves.

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A human dimension that is growing more and more, therefore, like that of wellbeing within our companies. But how are OKR and Wellbeing related?

1. Employee health is directly proportional to productivity

According to research conducted by the journal Population Health Management, an unhealthy diet makes employees ​​66% more likely to show symptoms of presentativeism< /strong>: Employees show up for work, but aren't productive due to other concerns distracting them.Presence at work by Italian companies, at the center of current debates also on smart working and the forced return of employees to the office (see for example the questionable recent impositions of Elon Musk), it is a heavy cultural burden and a widespread managerial vice.OKRs help combat both real or perceived need to be physically present in the same place to stay aligned, as well as poor productivity of teams and organizations.

2. Clear priorities can reduce the risk of burnout

Although productivity is struggling to grow, < span style="color: #e22451;">we see the phenomenon of burnout risk increasing, caused by excessive stress at work. Often this happens because priorities are not clear, the load continues to increase without consistency and predictability from one day to the next and people do not know how to "say no" a constant requests.The OKRs teach us to do this: understanding what is really strategic and knowing how to dose attention, energy and time on what is really important, reducing dispersion and stress while we improve our work -life balance and well-being.

3. Monitor the ROI of wellbeing plans

Employees with healthy lifestyle habits such as maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI) levels have been shown to be less likely to take time off work due to illness or injury.This is a sign of health both for people and for the company, which reduces costs. Often, however, key metrics such as absenteeism are not even monitored by HR management. In their effort to make the company more data driven, OKRs can introduce a constant monitoring system of these metrics and evaluate the concrete results of wellbeing plans.

4. Health OKRs to improve employee confidence

According to an APA survey, only 43% of employees believe their company cares about work-life balance and mental health. Making employee health a real priority and a visible OKR can help build trust, lead to a more transparent and healthy work culture, and consequently increase engagement.

How to set Wellness OKRs

So OKRs have direct and indirect effects on people's well-being.

What if we wanted to go further and use OKRs precisely to prioritize wellbeing in the HR function and monitor the results over time?

For example, suppose you want to stand out on the market as an employer who cares about the health of its employees, thus becoming more attractive in the long run for the new generations of increasingly attentive talents to these topics.

A fairly ambitious first-year OKR might look like the example below.


Enhancing the well-being of our employees at 360° in order to increase our people's job satisfaction

Key Findings:

  • Develop a mapping of the areas of well-being that employees care most about in the company through a global survey and 20 focus groups;

  • Set up and launch a wellbeing program for employees at a national level, capable of impacting the first 3 strategic areas identified;

  • Testing 4 projects related to wellbeing involving 30% of the company population;

  • Collect a level of job satisfaction of the people impacted greater than 7 on a scale from 1 to 10;

  • Publish online the positive testimony of 10 corporate talents involved in one or more wellbeing programs.

With an OKR as challenging as the method teaches us and perhaps subsequently declined in intermediate steps over each quarter, surely we will have put in place a strategic project capable, if pursued, of bearing fruit .

Over time we will be able to raise the bar with respect to the satisfaction metric already introduced, as well as involve more and more people and improve the proposed programs, but also put the ROI of the initiatives under control: by including impact metrics in the OKRs broader such as the reduction of absenteeism, the improvement of the climate, the reduction of turnover and, finally, the greater ability to attract talent.

Edited by Alice Manzoni, HR & Wellbeing Specialist and Matteo Sola, HR Learning & Development Leader

Trainect is the wellbeing platform that helps you improve and monitor the psycho-physical well-being of your employees in an engaging and easy-to-use way, increasing employee engagement and, consequently, productivity.

Do you want to learn more about Corporate Wellness and understand how to implement it in your company? Book a free consultation with Alice Manzoni, our HR and Wellbeing Specialist!

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