So, you are new to OKR methodology of setting goals and probably looking to get some doubts cleared? You may have come across the alternatives of OKRs and may relate to them. However, like with any other framework, OKRs have many concepts that you need to be aware of. Here’s some handy information in this OKR FAQs guide.
What are OKRs or Objectives and Key Results?
It is a goal-setting methodology that allows organizations to create and track actionable and measurable goals. The framework combines objectives that you want to achieve with key results that give a direction to those. Key Results also allow you to track the progress of your Objectives. Your goals can be aligned with the daily activities of your team members.
When you introduce the OKR framework in your organization, you can expect better objectivity and transparency. OKRs are straightforward and do not have any ambiguities when it comes to the setting of goals.
What are the components of OKR?
“O” in the OKR stands for Objective, while KR is Key Result. OKRs contain an objective statement that needs to be inspirational and practical to achieve. The Key Results should offer a direction on how you plan to achieve the goal.
You might have an objective of growing the website traffic during the quarter. The related Key Result will be to ensure there are 20% more visitors compared to the previous quarter. Key Results should be about numbers as they enable better tracking of the progress made by your team.
How are OKRs different from KPIs?
As we have already seen, OKRs are a framework to set and achieve goals. KPIs (key performance indicators), on the other hand, enable teams to track the performance of projects. They help you get a holistic view of objectives and how they link with organizational goals.
However, this doesn’t mean you should discard KPIs. You can use KPIs to write effective Key Results. The best way to measure the progress of your OKRs is through tracking Key Results. Your marketing team can have the objective of increasing website traffic. A related Key Result can be to increase the traffic by 25% compared to the previous quarter.
KPIs remain quantifiable, and you can effectively measure them against objectives. You can integrate the KPI and KR framework to create effective Key Results. All you need to ensure is that the Key Results remain connected to your organizational goals.
How to create OKRs?
Objectives are goals that should indicate your business priorities for the quarter and the year. Ensure that they are bounded by time and remain aspirational for everyone. Think about the impact your work will have on the overall business results. Your team should work on OKRs collaboratively and have an open line of communication to make sure there are no ambiguities.
Each Objective has corresponding Key Results that should ideally have numbers. You can use delta to measure the difference and achievements during the quarter. Make sure you have enough indicators that show how well you have achieved the results. Read our article on how to create OKRs from scratch to know more.
How to implement OKRs for your team and organization?
As OKRs is a cyclic process, there will be a lot of learning at the end of each quarter. When you look back on the progress, you will understand your strengths and weaknesses. You can avoid doing things that did not generate results the last time. Similarly, you can capitalize on your strengths to achieve better results in the coming quarter. Here is a list of different phases in the OKR planning process.
- Drafting and discussing OKRs with the team
The first step is to create draft OKRs that the team can review collaboratively. All teams across the organization can follow this step. Managers should also make their teams aware of the grading criteria to measure performance. There should also be supporting KPIs and what defines success for each objective.
2. Check-ins to track the progress of OKRs
Make sure you have regular check-ins, preferably once every week. Your team will remain focused on achieving the team and organizational goals. The work should go beyond the ordinary and have a tangible impact on the business.
When you define OKRs, ask your team if they can accomplish them realistically. Your team should understand the expectations and have the resources needed to achieve the tasks successfully.
Regular check-ins will also give you the time to adjust and prioritize tasks. It will ensure that you are not left high and dry at the end of the quarter. Your team will also feel confident and empowered to achieve results.
3. Planning and meeting with team members
When you set quarterly OKRs, your team gets the chance to work on short-term goals that they achieve without hassles. The short-term objectives and key results should ultimately contribute to the long-term objectives of the company. So, make sure that the objectives are realistic for everyone to accomplish.
Leaders should meet their team members to check if things are on track and whether there is a need for additional clarity. They can also check the progress to understand what worked and how it will enable future growth. Leaders would then have to define the objectives for the upcoming quarter.
4. Grading team performance
OKRs are an excellent tool to align departments and motivate employees to do better. Employees who do well will get further encouraged to go beyond everyone’s expectations. Teams will feel engaged, empowered, and accountable towards achieving company objectives. You can also have a rewards program linked with OKRs to incentivize the efforts of your team.
What are the best practices related to the implementation of OKRs?
Here are some best practices to adopt when implementing OKRs in your organization.
- Setting the right timeframe
When you define measurable targets, you should also adopt the appropriate timeframe. It is best to have quarterly OKRs. You can have a set of short-term goals that contribute to your long-term organizational objectives. Depending upon the complexities of your business, some targets may stretch to the next quarter. The timeframe should also align with your organization’s culture.
2. Have realistic team and individual goals
Your OKRs should be realistic to achieve in three months. At the same time, they should challenge your team enough to go beyond the norm. Besides setting goals for the team, ensure that your team members also have individual objectives to achieve. An organization will only be successful if all its employees work collectively.
3. Avoid creating too many OKRs
Multiple OKRs mean your attention will remain diverted on too many things. It is best to have around three OKRs for each quarter. Prioritize your objectives, and add only those that will make a visible impact on the organization’s objectives. Your team members should also remain accountable for ensuring the success of the objectives.
Is it possible to evaluate employee performance through OKRs?
It is common for businesses to use the OKR evaluation framework for the performance management of employees. There are other options like key performance indicators (KPIs) and management by objectives (MBOs).
What are the ideal metrics for OKRs?
- Baseline Metrics
They have numbers that give a clear view of what is an ideal business scenario. A key result of getting 100 new customers during the quarter means that the baseline KPI is 4. A number less than 100 will be unacceptable.
2. Positive and negative metrics
You can use a positive metric when you want to baseline metric. The negative metric works in the opposite manner. If your customer satisfaction score is 90% and you want to make it 95%, you want to move things positively with the related metric. Similarly, if your customer churn rate is 5% and you want to decrease it to 3%, you want to move things in a negative direction.
3. Threshold Target Metrics
They have a numerical range that is usually acceptable for tracking progress. Let’s consider your team has a target to achieve $150,000 in revenue during the quarter. The monthly income should cross the $50,000 mark to achieve the target. It will be the threshold metric. You can also have lower and higher values with acceptable limits.
OKRs are an effective framework that helps you visualize progress against your organizational objectives through actionable insights. The OKR tool helps promote engagement and accountability among the team to achieve organizational objectives. When executed well, it can become an excellent performance management tool to improve productivity and business outcomes.
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