The pandemic has shifted the focus of organizations to hybrid working model thus the demand for collaboration and employee monitoring solutions spurred exponentially. Employee productivity is the top concern for organizations of all scale and they are adopting the high-end solutions to manage their workflow. Profit.co is one of the market players offering the advance solutions to organizations to enable them overcome such challenges. Rajeev Ranjan, Editor, Digital Terminal exclusively talked to Senthil Rajagopalan, COO & President, Profit.co. Senthil spoke about the current scenario of hybrid working environment and their efforts and offerings to empower the organizations. Read below the excerpts:
Rajeev: The organizations are now forced to be dependable on the hybrid working model, so how do you see this scenario for business continuity?
Senthil: Experts across industries widely agree that the future of work is hybrid. Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen employees adapt to working from home and staying productive. Giving employees the freedom to work remotely multiple days per week or completely places responsibility in their hands.
From a leadership perspective, this also makes it essential to hold employees accountable for the work they need to complete. Additionally, businesses must institute completely digital processes and modes of communication that are infallible. This simply isn’t possible to manage using video chat and emails, so outcome-based management systems like Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) will become more and more important as businesses move forward, whether they are completely remote or are using a hybrid work model.
Rajeev: How has this pandemic accelerated the use of employee monitoring solutions?
Senthil: CNBC reports that the employee monitoring software industry has seen a triple-digit rise in demand over the course of the pandemic. The pandemic has caused many business leaders to hyper-focus on employee productivity-- logging how long employees are sitting at their computer, when they log in and out, and other metrics that supposedly help determine how productive an employee is throughout their day.
But employee monitoring solutions don’t always address the most important part of employee work: outcomes. Having concrete data to demonstrate employee habits when working from home can make it easy for business leaders to check the pulse of their workforce, but in some ways, this pulls attention away from the pulse of the organization as a whole.
OKR management software’s like Profit.co can provide an at-a-glance evaluation of the health of a business using dashboards that aggregate data from all employees’ OKR progress. This data shows outcomes, and how the most important work in an organization is progressing. This information is useful in determining the actual performance of your business. Knowing whether an employee sat at their computer from nine a.m. to five p.m. doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about what they accomplished. Tracking quantitative outcomes that contribute to the organization’s most important quarterly goals absolutely will.
Rajeev: How has it become so stressful for the businesses to keep a track of their employees’ productivity? How do you intend to help such organizations?
Senthil: It can be stressful for business leaders to let go of the control they might have felt in the workplace. Now, it isn’t as easy as glancing out into the office and seeing that everyone is focused. Instead, businesses must use different metrics and indicators to make sure that work is being completed.
A central pillar of the OKR framework is ownership and commitment. Assigning Objectives and Key Results to individual employees or teams highlights that they are responsible for a deliverable, and instills a sense of accountability with employees. This lets employees know their top-most priorities and keeps them focused on what matters. Profit.co ensures that all aspects of the OKR framework are built into the software so that you can track progress, record notes, schedule meetings, and tag issues all from one platform. This naturally integrates into the flow of work, and helps businesses keep their finger on the pulse of productivity at every level of the organization: company, department, team, and individual.
Beyond this accountability, OKRs can also bring a strong sense of employee motivation. When employees can look into the Profit.co software and see how the key result they are responsible for completing is directly aligned with a company-level OKR, they know that the work they are completing matters, and substantially improves and impacts the business. Employee motivation increases when they know the work, they are doing has purpose.
As a result of using OKRs and Profit.co, businesses will see higher productivity from employees, and notice that they are reaching more and more ambitious targets as they move from quarter-to-quarter with the OKR framework.
Rajeev: How does your OKR software help organizations to get control over the remote workforce? What are the key attributes of OKR software?
Senthil: Profit.co integrates OKR management with employee engagement, task management, and performance management. This centres all areas within a business around OKRs, and makes all relevant aspects of an organization available on one single platform.
One of the most important attributes of a great OKR software is transparency. When the entire organization is able to log into Profit.co and see what everyone is working on-- from the top level of management all the way to the newest hires-- there’s a better sense of how everyone’s role greatly contributes to important company goals.
When employees see that their work matters, and they have the capacity to truly impact the success of the business, there’s no need for leaders to exert “control” of their employees. Instead, employees are self-motivating and self-managing. They will want to complete their work when they know their work matters.
The IKEA Effect, a cognitive bias studied in human behaviour, tells us that people will place more value on things that they make themselves. The OKR framework asks employees to write OKRs that directly align with a department or company’s top-most priorities. By setting these targets themselves, employees are, by nature, more invested in seeing the outcome through. OKRs are a means to empower people to maintain high productivity throughout the entire quarter. When team members check-in their key results on a weekly basis in the Profit.co software, they can set their own status, and comment on their progress. If something isn’t progressing as planned, or they’ve run into a roadblock, management will be able to see that thanks to full-company transparency. It’s better to have an accountable team that has the freedom to complete their work in their own way than to have strict control over a disengaged workforce.
Rajeev: As the work from home model might stay here for long so how are you planning to boost your growth and product line as well?
Senthil: The work from home model has worked out very well for us so far. Even before COVID we have been supporting our global customers through our workforce in India, US, Latin America and other locations. Today, we are able to close not just small department deals, but even large enterprise deals over a series of Zoom meetings.
We are seeing customers getting quite comfortable with this model. Our customer success team has been able to help customers with product adoption and add value to their experience through fully-remote support. Ultimately, our focus on improving the customer experience by continuously refining the usability of our product and continuously enhancing our customer success program is paying off. Our secret ingredient for success is to devote our time and energy to helping customers realize their goals through our product and service offerings. Whether WFH or otherwise, we’re going to maintain that focus and keep executing with precision and alignment.
Rajeev: Please tell about your business targets by the end of 2021 for Indian market.
Senthil: India has become an important market for us. We have a solid customer base in several industry verticals including technology startups, IT services, financial services, and sports. We are seeing customers adopt Profit.co for managing their goals (OKRs), improving productivity through better task management, and managing their employee development using our performance management solution. Last year, in spite of the disruption caused by the pandemic, we were able to grow to four times our revenue from India. This coming year, we expect to at least triple in size.