Below is our recent interview with Simon Bates, Co-Founder and CEO of Workteam:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Workteam?
A: Workteam is a software startup whose aim is to provide software tools that help companies transform themselves into high performing organisations. 87% of companies fail to hit their stated annual goals and this is largely because their employees are unaware of their own companies’ strategic goals. Workteam provides the tools to help employees align what they do with their company’s objectives and to provide greater line of sight to all the work being done across the organisation towards meeting the company’s objectives.
Q: Why is it important to grow employee engagement? What does it affect?
A: Employee engagement is a measure of the extent to which an employee’s personal goals and values align with the strategic goals and vision of their employing company. Strengthening that engagement is key to higher levels of productivity and better retention rates of top talent. There are many different strategies for increasing employee engagement, but ensuring that your staff understand the company’s strategic objectives is an important step.
Q: Can you give us insights into your product? What does it do?
A: At the heart of the Workteam cloud-based product is a goal management tool, based on the OKR methodology. Workteam prompts employees each quarter to agree a set of goals with their manager that align with team, departmental or top level company goals. Each week, Workteam also prompts employees to complete a check-in – essentially a set of customisable questions that are designed to engage employees in a coaching conversation with their manager – things like; “What big things did you achieve this week” and “What is your plan for next week”. Employees can also use this check-in to provide an update on the status of their goals.
Once this information is entered into Workteam, some powerful insights are generated and exposed through dashboards, which let managers quickly identify “at risk” goals across the organisation, letting them drill down into the information and start a conversation about how to unblock the goals.
Workteam also provides work management tools for breaking individual goals down into initiatives – i.e. actionable tasks that may be assigned and whose status may be tracked and shared across a team of people.
Q: What are the advantages of implementing OKR software?
A: OKR (aka Objectives and Key Results) is a methodology of goal management used by many high performing teams and organisations across the world. It ensures that goals both describe what you want to achieve (the objective) and define how you are going to measure its achievement (the set of key results). Because OKRs are intended to be transparent across the organisation (everyone has access to everyone else’s OKRs and can see the statuses), this leads to a more open and collaborative working environment that is geared towards getting results.
Unlike traditional companies, where goals are solely cascaded downwards through an organisation, OKR uses a market-based approach to include a signification proportion of bottom-up goal alignment, where staff are encouraged to help define their own goals that will meet the needs of the higher level goals.
When employees feel they have some degree of autonomy in deciding where to focus their efforts and when they truly understand how what they do contributes to the success of the organisation, only then are they more likely to feel fully engaged.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We will continue innovating around tools that will help drive higher performance in our customers’ teams and organisations. In particular, we see a lot of value in developing tools that recognise and reward employees around behaviours that align with the company’s core values. Watch this space.