Founding Partner, Twiser
To survive, companies have to adapt to such a changing world promptly. Well, how will employee assessments keep pace with the current dynamics of the new world? Here, next-gen performance management tools with their solutions boost the efficiency of performance assessments compared to the inadequacy of traditional methods. Wokr, the OKR (Objective Key Results) based product developed by Twiser, makes it possible to have an agile management approach, fair performance measurement, and employee loyalty in teamwork and their companies. We have covered many details about the company’s establishment journey and performance management with Twiser’s Co-Founder and CEO Ongun Demirler.
Let’s start by meeting the name behind Twiser, a feedback-oriented agile management system.
If I were to answer this question five years ago, I would have described myself as a decent IT professional. After graduating from the Computer Engineering Department of Istanbul Technical University, I was lucky to manage many large-scale teams by undertaking IT projects of leading companies in Turkey and abroad. Then, I enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Koç University and took on a task that would be my milestone thanks to the contributions of my education: An opportunity to manage the digital transformation process of the HR department at Koç Holding. In my career journey, I consider myself as a digital leader who aims to deliver digital transformation in the field of HR-Tech and creates solutions to the needs of HR by combining HR and IT.
How was Twiser founded? What have you accomplished until today?
“Fall in love with the problem, not the solution…” Nothing could describe me better than this phrase. While the HR department of Koç Holding was transitioning to next-gen performance management, I had the chance to listen to the practical reflections of OKR, a goal-setting methodology, from the world’s largest companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Huawei, Samsung, and Unilever. After implementing OKR in 35 companies within Koç Holding, an entrepreneurship fever sparked in me. Leading companies, notably Koç Holding, also supported my idea. All of these allowed Twiser to set out its journey with a software team of 25 people. This project I firmly believe in grew faster than I anticipated. With our three-year collaboration with the Turkish Metal Industrialists’ Union during the first stage, we could reach 259 companies at once. Through growing your team, we started to meet companies both in Turkey and Europe. We also continue to expand by making innovative collaborations with leading institutions such as NTT Data. How effective is performance measurement via Wokr in developing the ideal employee experience? It is effective enough to achieve the fairness we all need, anytime, anywhere! Each employee worldwide wants to be treated fairly. As an equitable performance management tool adopting the OKR methodology, WOKR is tailor-made on this matter. With our solution that assesses the past and enlightens the future, we demonstrate employees’ progress throughout the year, allowing them to interact with each other via data. Namely, we build a unity of purpose and show them their position in the big picture. We also boost their performance with our OKR coaching and consultancy solutions.
When did next-gen applications in performance management become a highly critical necessity?
Performance management dates back to the 1920s and Henry Ford. Performance management was originally based on mass production. Then, it focused on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). However, technology keeps growing and changes business methods. Thus, the performance management process needs to be renewed accordingly. Entering the business world in the early 2000s, OKR was born at Intel and grew at Google. In recent years, it has become popular rapidly. The fact that companies started to work remotely in a day due to the pandemic in 2020 led to the emergence of many new needs. Today, there is more demand for modern, human-focused, employee and employer-friendly performance management. The report by There Be Giants shows that OKRs are being widely used to align with company vision and strategy, ensure employee engagement, and focus on growth.
What will be the performance management needs of companies that worked remotely during the pandemic or plan to adopt the hybrid work model during the post-pandemic period?
Considering that ensuring cross-functionality is challenging even in an atmosphere where employees are physically together, it is now certainly more difficult since they have not come together for a long time. Consequently, there is a need for more transparent systems where employees can see each other’s development and provide feedback. Moreover, we need unity of purpose more than ever before.
You have described Wokr as an AI-supported performance management system. Could you give us more detail about your solution?
Being the first product of Twiser, Wokr is a cloud-based SaaS solution. Created by exploiting the methodologies of over 50 global organizations, our solution is a performance management system that offers companies the best UX. Our AI-supported performance insights take performance management a step further. Wokr satisfies the analytical needs of companies with the help of AI-based algorithms. Based on the data on the platform, it allows you to improve your objective and career planning management by predicting the success of OKRs. With its AI infrastructure, our platform moves itself and the companies we collaborate with a step ahead of their global competitors.
What are your recommendations for companies seeking to adopt the OKR methodology? Adopting the OKR methodology requires a cultural change in itself. For this change, I recommend analyzing the cultural structure of the institution or even the country with an OKR consultant if possible. In the performance management transformation that all employees and managers should be a part of, determining OKRs tailored to your organization is of great importance. To determine your OKRs accurately, all of your company members should have sufficient knowledge of each other’s professional identity. Also, making a thorough preparation is necessary to build a more measurable, trackable, and feedback culture-focused structure.
What are Twiser’s short-term and medium-term plans?
We set out on our journey with passion, dreaming of becoming Turkey’s next Unicorn. As our short-term plan, we first would like to expand our footprint in Turkey and the EMEA Region, support more companies on their OKR journey, and help them reach outstanding success. We aim to be the mediator that provides the most accurate performance measurement of innumerable employees.
Thus, all employees will feel that their efforts are valued, be in unity of purpose, and show loyalty towards each other and their companies. As our medium-term plan, our goal is to satisfy similar needs as one of the most reliable players in the OKR field in European countries and the United States. With our absolute faith, we are excited to continue on our journey.