How Natterbox introduced quarterly OKRs to achieve organisational objectives

With ambitious growth targets to meet, Natterbox in partnership with Appraisd, introduced a fresh performance management approach, aligning employees to key organisational goals more effectively.

Natterbox employees using Appraisd
Setting OKRs
Setting OKRs
91% of employees have set at least two OKRs
Reviewing OKRs
Reviewing OKRs
65% of employees had a check-in in Q1 2023
Total OKRs
Total OKRs
More than 250 OKRs have been set in 2023

Natterbox is an expert voice solution for Salesforce, which helps clients personalise their callers’ journeys, enhancing the customer experience. They have more than 100 UK-based employees, 23 in the US and five in Australia. Natterbox introduced Appraisd in 2021 to move performance management online, choosing the system for its flexibility, allowing them to build their process over time. With ambitious growth targets in place, a fresh approach was needed to harness the employees’ energy, aligning them to key goals. In 2022, Shona Harding, Global Head of People and Donna Arbenz, Senior HR Adviser, together with Rosalind Bygott, Appraisd Customer Success Manager, devised a plan to introduce OKRs to focus, align and motivate employees.

<fs-toc-omit>Why was the initiative necessary?

With more than a decade of success, Natterbox has managed the difficult transition from start-up to scale up, opening offices outside the UK in the US and Australia. Ensuring their international workforce of almost 150 employees were aligned with company goals and pulling in the same direction was becoming increasingly difficult to manage.

The executive team were focused on growing the business still further, but to make this happen, employees needed to be clear about their aims, buy into the strategy and understand how they could positively contribute to it, both on a personal and departmental level.

When the company was smaller, performance management had not been a top priority for senior leaders as they were focused on other issues. At the end of 2022, it became clear maximising performance and alignment were vital to achieve their testing targets. Shona, who was promoted to the executive team as recognition of the vital role her team had to play in executing the organisation’s strategy, highlighted that with Appraisd, they had the system to facilitate radical change quickly. Supported by Donna and Rosalind, she demonstrated what was possible to achieve through it to the senior team and whole-heartedly bought into a revised strategy.

They recognised that the passion and enthusiasm of the four founding managers was no longer enough to motivate the workforce alone and ensure that everyone was on the same page. As a remote first organisation, where some employees had minimal face-to-face contact with management, introducing a new framework to underpin alignment was key. Creating an inspirational mission that conveyed exactly what they wanted to achieve that employees could identify with was the starting point. From this, departmental heads and their teams could create objectives that contributed to this overall aim.

<fs-toc-omit>How did you deliver the initiative?

As the organisation wanted to make a clean break from the past and signify the importance of goals going forward, Shona and Donna proposed introducing OKRs, set on a quarterly basis. The quick and snappy format fits perfectly with the Natterbox’s culture and working over a three-month period ensures they remain current. At the end of each quarter, employees have a check-in with their manager to review progress and set new OKRs for the next quarter.

Appraisd Customer Success Manager Rosalind, worked closely with them to set up the process and devise forms that were tailored to each department, ensuring everything was set up quickly.

“Working so closely with Rosalind has been invaluable. Her knowledge of Appraisd and expertise in performance management made sure we created the process in the most efficient way, that was easy for everyone to understand and use. Whenever we had a question, she always had the answer. I love how the system is so flexible; it helps us create exactly the process we want that suits our needs perfectly.”<div class="author">Shona Harding, Global Head of People, Natterbox</div>

To make sure everyone was onboard and comfortable with the new approach, all employees attended a meeting in London, to understand the strategy and the role they played in it.

Shona and Donna are keen for employees and managers to take ownership of the process. To help them achieve this, they are working with two line managers who are Appraisd advocates to help them spread the word, coach their peers and demonstrate the benefits it has to offer beyond achieving company goals.  

“Appraisd is a fantastic system that helps me manage my team’s performance and personal development plans. Setting quarterly OKRs has helped move them forward, maximising their potential and aligning them with our strategic business objectives.” <div class="author">John McClenaghan, Head of Customer Support</div>

<fs-toc-omit>How did you measure success?

“Success will be everyone setting quarterly OKRs and holding quarterly check-ins. We’re not there yet but the early signs are extremely promising and I’m confident by Q3, almost all employees will be”.<div class="author">Shona Harding, Global Head of People, Natterbox</div>

So far, there has been a near 50% increase in the number of OKRs set between Q1 and Q2. Employees have been tasked with setting at least two OKRs and 91% of employees achieved this, which is a huge leap forward. Almost two thirds of employees had their first quarterly check-in and their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

To further ensure alignment across the organisation, divisional OKRs were set for the first time in March and more then 250 individual OKRs are now contributing to divisional OKRs. This demonstrates how well employees have embraced the process and adopted it.

Rosalind has set up reports so that not only Shona and Donna, but the rest of the executive team can monitor progress, identify areas of strengths and departments that may need more assistance to achieve their goals.

“Our managers are used to running reports all the time as part of their role, so having the ability to create tailored reports for their teams is hugely powerful. It really helps them to see the valueof the new process and concentrate their efforts on the areas that need their support the most.”<div class="author">Shona Harding, Global Head of People, Natterbox</div>

Through collaboration with Rosalind, Natterbox have realised Appraisd offers many more benefits to the business. As well as identifying performance lags before they turn into serious issues, they are also developing reports to highlight promising talent to ensure these employees are recognised, encouraged to progress and feel Natterbox is a place they can build a rewarding career.

“Appraisd has given us a common language making everyonefeel invested in the Natterbox mission.”<div class="author">Shona Harding, Global Head of People, Natterbox</div>
Organisational alignment
Employee performance