To kick off 2020 A-LIGN moved its objectives and key results (OKRs) and performance management over to the 7Geese platform.
In switching to 7Geese, they quickly achieved some surprising results that are already having positive effects on two key areas of their operations — employee engagement and retention.
We spoke with Alice Pauquette, Vice President, Organizational and People Development at A-LIGN to prepare this case study about their successful roll-out and the results they have achieved since the launch.
The challenge — the need for a new OKR software tool
“We were looking for a replacement for an OKR tool,” says Alice about how the company first discovered 7Geese. “Our business has been experiencing several years of rapid growth and as we began to onboard new hires, the focus of sharing the company vision, and our objectives and goals became paramount to us.”
They decided to switch the OKR framework but soon realized that they needed more than their current tool could offer. “We started analyzing objectives back in 2019,” says Alice. “We soon realized that the tool we were using was no longer going to meet our needs and we began searching for a tool to replace it. It began with just a replacement for our OKR software.”
When they discovered the 7Geese platform, they saw an opportunity to fill another gap in their tech stack — a tool to help administer their performance management process. “We were looking for a separate tool that would meet that need,” says Alice. “We were thrilled that we could find one tool to manage OKRs and the review process.”
Connecting OKRs with performance management and more
A-LIGN adopted all of the features of the 7Geese platform, from OKRS and performance management to one-on-ones and recognitions. Once they were more familiar with the options available to them, A-LIGN connected their team member’s own personal goals and performance to the company’s mission. “We could now combine all the different departments and specific items we were working on into a single platform and view it all in one place,” says Alice.
“It’s an all-encompassing tool that was really complementary to a new performance management process that we were already in the midst of building. In the past year at A-LIGN, we’ve been focused on learning and development, which expanded into organizational and people development.”
One of the key questions that prospective 7Geese customers always ask is about how often other companies are measuring their results and conducting reviews. Alice shared how A-LIGN was able to quickly establish a cadence that works for them and helps engage their entire company. “We are writing annual objectives and key results that are reviewed quarterly and updated,” she says. “First we rolled out the corporate objectives and then we met with all the department leaders and they created their department OKRs. Then they used the department objectives to begin developing their team objectives. That way our people, our individual contributors, can look at all objectives and ask ‘how can I support this?’”
How OKRs and performance management support career growth and retention
Connecting individual performance to the company’s objectives had a surprising impact immediately as people began to create their own OKRs. “They became very personal objectives,” says Alice. “Whether that was developing their professional skills or taking a certification. They really adopted the mechanism of taking a key result and making it their objective. They felt empowered to create something that ultimately contributed to our corporate objectives. In 30 days, we had 100% of our team login, create their profile and 77% have created their own objectives.”
They have only just started their process of connecting OKRs with performance management but they are already seeing surprising results. “It’s exceeded our expectations of what we had originally planned,” says Alice.
“The magic with this is as you’re doing a review, you can see companywide recognitions, updates on one-on-ones, feedback, and everything is at your fingertips. There are no surprises when reviews happen, everybody knows how well they’re doing, and they all know what goals we’re all working towards. We are all working towards the same five objectives that we have for our company and we’re all pointing in the same direction. That was a benefit that we thought was going to take a little longer. That’s going to aid us in retention, succession, and employee engagement.”
A-LIGN’s advice for other companies looking for a performance management platform
Alice and her team are so pleased with 7Geese that they wanted to pass along some advice and learnings they discovered along the way “I would consider that as your objectives become more of a focus of your company growth, it allows your people to find their ‘why,’” says Alice. “‘Why do I go to work every day? Why am I doing this part of my job?’ And they can see that they can actually connect a line right to those department and corporate OKRs.”
“When we separate our objectives from everything else that we’re doing, it seems like an afterthought, an exercise that we only do annually or quarterly,” adds Alice. “But when we tie that to performance management and keep it all on the same platform, the payoffs are bigger, the return on investment is larger for your people to feel connected at work and for your business to succeed.”