TalkTalk Creates an Outcome-focused Company Culture with OKRs

September 2021

Headquarters

Salford, England

Industry

Telecommunications

Employees

2,000

We wanted to embed a high-performance culture at TalkTalk and to increase employee engagement throughout the organization. We wanted goal setting to become the heartbeat of the business.

Ian Turner

Talent Director at TalkTalk

About TalkTalk

TalkTalk is a telecommunications company headquartered in Salford, England, with the mission to bring simple, affordable, reliable and fair connectivity to everyone. TalkTalk prides itself on being 100% human and provides television, telecommunication, internet access, and mobile network services to businesses and consumers throughout the UK, at fair and affordable prices, striving to save every customer money. 

Making OKRs the heartbeat of the business

Ian Turner, Talent Director at TalkTalk, first came across OKRs when searching for a goal methodology that would provide structure and accountability to the organization’s high-priority initiatives. The organization already had a goal process established at the time, but targets were rarely reviewed or updated after being recorded, causing goals to often become outdated or forgotten entirely. Turner identified these gaps in TalkTalk’s goal process as an incredible opportunity to grow as an organization and implement a new methodology that could make a big impact. “We wanted to embed a high-performance culture at TalkTalk and to increase employee engagement throughout the organization,” Turner explained, “We wanted goal setting to become the heartbeat of the business”. 

In light of this, Turner sought out experts to help him spark a change in how the organization set and managed goals. This led TalkTalk to engage with the OKR consultants, There Be Giants, who specialize in helping organizations to establish and optimize their OKR processes. There Be Giants work with clients to establish an understanding of OKRs throughout organizations, and then work with leaders and teams to develop long-term and short-term OKRs. In doing this, organizations develop effective OKRs for their specific needs while simultaneously building long-lasting strategic skills that enable them to drive their own OKR processes come future planning cycles. There Be Giants’ work with TalkTalk was enormously successful in establishing a foundation for the company’s long-term strategy as well as equipping leaders like Turner with the resources and skills necessary to become OKR Champions capable of driving effective and scalable OKR processes moving forward. 

Empowering employees with the power of OKR software

After honing their OKR process with There Be Giants, Turner began scanning the market for OKR tools that could maintain the setting and tracking of their quarterly OKRs. He was specifically looking for a solution that would create a business cadence to support his team’s strategic cross-functional initiatives. After reviewing a series of OKR tools, TalkTalk decided to move forward with Koan because of its simple and scalable approach to setting and managing OKRs. Koan offered a lightweight and affordable solution that made it easy for users to set and track their goals on a regular basis. Through Koan’s unique approach to OKR management called the Goal-Reflection Loop, teams develop routines that enhance their focus and goal achievement through habitually reflecting and reporting on goal progress. 

Using the power of habit to skyrocket engagement

Having used Koan for over a year to track TalkTalk’s highest-level priorities, Turner attests to Koan’s ability to help teams develop a business cadence around tracking and achieving their strategic goals. This operational rhythm around goal tracking is made possible through the tool’s reflections feature, which prompts users to reflect on their goals and briefly update their team on progress on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Turner explained that Koan’s reflection feature enhances team collaboration and focus, stating “Weekly check-ins enable us to gain momentum of progress, which is hugely energizing for all team members involved”. 

When completing reflections, users are also asked to submit confidence ratings, which add context noting the likelihood that goals will be achieved, giving teams the opportunity to proactively identify and solve for blockers that could potentially derail goal progress. Turner stated that routine confidence ratings have helped TalkTalk to better understand and validate the progress that teams have made towards the larger organization’s high-level objectives. 

With nearly 300 users in Koan and the desire to triple their usage throughout the organization, Turner attests to the tool’s value, stating “Koan has elevated our OKR process by increasing the organization’s transparency and engagement around goals substantially”. Through Koan’s goal-reflection loop, TalkTalk has been able to connect and broadcast the impact that teams have on the wider aims of the business, ultimately enhancing both organizational motivation and performance. 

Koan users

284

Enagement

100%

Koan NPS

40

Reflections

1382