An Ultimate Guide for OKR Adoption: Get Creative With OKRs

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The coiner of OKRs is unbeknownst to us but the popularised version is formulated by Intel Corporations’ operations in the 1980s by Andrew Grove, who documented the cycle of OKR methodology in his book High Output Management.

Later on an Intel Corp employee, John Doerr broke it down for Google and OKR implementations became the designated performance metrics filter for top-tier tech companies in the field.

Today, we observe many companies from other industries also deploy this method of performance measurement into their operations. 

In this article, perhaps not like the pioneers of this method, we will be breaking down numerous notions and concepts revolving around OKR by having a closer look at its definition, distinction, what is and not’s.

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How to increase OKR Adoption?

To increase the adoption of OKRs, consider implementing the following practices:

1. Explain your reasoning

It’s critical to provide a rationale for the adoption of OKRs as an organization. Describe the benefits OKRs provide, such as enhancing progress assessment and increasing team motivation and employee engagement.

In addition, the adoption of OKRs improves transparency and alignment. When employees understand the reasoning behind changes, they are more likely to support them.

2. Set clear goals

set clear goals: OKRs

You need to clearly outline your goals and make sure they are consistent with your broader company strategy.

Make them measurable, and well-defined. Objectives that are vague or ambiguous may create confusion and leave individuals unsure of what they should be aiming for.

3. Ensure Simplicity

You should steer clear of overly complex jargon that can intimidate or confuse your employees. Make it easy for people to understand the OKR framework and how it applies to their daily responsibilities.

4. Include your employees

You need to involve your team in the OKR process as soon as you can. Encourage their participation and feedback, include them in the formulation of the objectives, and guide them on how they can contribute. You can encourage a sense of ownership within your team by employing this strategy. 

5. Offer training and assistance

Employees may need assistance in understanding the OKR framework, creating objectives, and monitoring progress.

With frequent check-ins and mentoring, people can stay on course and make adjustments when necessary.

6. Celebrate achievements

Don’t forget to celebrate when you reach your OKRs. Your team members deserve acknowledgment for their efforts and the progress they have made toward your organizational goals.

If you recognize your employees for their contributions to the OKR adoption process, they will be inspired to keep working and achieving more with a success-oriented mindset.

7. Adapt and Improve

You should regularly change and improve your OKRs whenever necessary to keep them relevant. To keep them up-to-date you can encourage open communication and employee involvement.

Why Is Setting OKRs important?

why is OKR setting important

There are three main reasons why you should implement OKRs as a company:  

  1. Working toward a common goal: All employees will have a common goal. Employees who carry out everyday tasks will get closer to each other and this will build a positive working atmosphere.  
  2. Increased productivity: As you set company goals to achieve more, you will simultaneously increase the workload of your employees, which will ultimately lead to an increase in productivity. 
  3. Creates professional growth: The beauty of the OKR methodology is that employees have to develop tasks for themselves and then implement them. This approach will reveal the hidden potential of employees and accelerate their professional growth.  

OKRs vs KPIs 

What are KPIs?  

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) measure the success of an organization or an individual event.

KPIs can be applied to projects, programs, products, or various company activities. They help measure the success of any undertaking – from reaching a given sales volume to popularity indicators on social networks.  

What Is the Difference between OKRs and KPIs?

KPI goals are usually easy to achieve and represent the results of an already established process or project OKR goals are more aggressive and more ambitious.  

However, OKR goals, while more ambitious, should still be achievable. The rationale behind this strategy is that by setting aggressive OKR goals, you incentivize your team (and yourself) to do more.

What Is The Difference between OKRs and SMART Goals?

Despite some differences, SMART goals and OKRs offer a method for creating precise goals that are more realistic and time-bound.

The key difference is that; SMART goals commonly require a specific justification for the effort, while OKRs ask you to define the reason behind your objective(s). In essence, key results are SMART goals.  

Is OKR Better Than KPI?

If you need to scale or refine an existing plan or project, you might want to consider KPIs. They are pretty straightforward, and with their help, you will be able to evaluate your current projects and processes by several indicators.  

But if you need a broader plan or want to change direction, then creating OKRs is a better option.

They allow you to analyze in detail and set more ambitious goals, as well as give more room for creativity regarding how to achieve them.  

What are the types of OKRs?

There are two essential types of OKRs: Aspirational OKRs and Committed OKRs. Committed OKRs are your everyday, run-of-the-mill, normal goal-setting commitments. They are achievable. You are expected to achieve them.

Aspirational OKRs are your heavily ambitious not likely to happen goals. Both are equally important. At the end of the day, if you don’t shoot for the moon, you’ll never get there!

How to Set OKRs ?

Formulating OKRs is difficult but possible. To do this, you must follow the suggested principles:  

  1. The goal should be ambitious. Achieving it must seem like a difficult task, but it should remain possible.  
  2. Set measurable goals. You should be able to track results and see how far along in the process you are for better performance management.  
  3. You should set between 3 to 5 goals. Having more goals tends to dissipate effort, while OKRs require communication and coordination.  
  4. Goals should lead to new accomplishments. OKRs are not meant to maintain the status quo. It will make no sense to set goals to remain where you are right now. The goals you set should motivate you to move forward.  
  5. Define the end state of your goal. A clear expression of the endpoint allows you to focus on it, and create a concrete plan for achieving it, while staying in line with your performance management.  

What are Good OKRs?

A good OKR is actionable, time-bound, and ambitious. After years of practice and meticulous studies, the goal-setting framework has been found to be favorable throughout many industries for several reasons, and that is for its clarity, conciseness in delivery, and being challenging enough.

As a performance management methodology, OKR achieves three notions in question: 

Focus, alignment, and acceleration. The OKR approach is the unifying element and shows how an employee’s work relates, correlates, and connects to other employees’ work. In OKR implementation, certain benchmarks are to be observed for their vitality.  

The most critical OKRs on the corporate level are not to be more than three. OKRs are to be transparent and accessible through all layers of the company and they need to solidify your vision and mission. 

OKRs for HR management  

HR managers are involved in goal setting at all levels, corporate, team and individual, but they also use OKRs for themselves. So, what goals might they have?  

  • Example 1: Hold 3 monthly Friday meetings for the entire team with motivational speakers.   
  • Example 2: Conduct 50 interviews with the employees about ways to improve the workplace.  
  • Example 3: Bring three new initiatives to life.  
  • Example 4: Increase monthly employee’s job satisfaction level from 3.8 to 4.8.  

Now let’s look at the action- and value-based Key Results in the examples of OKRs:

  • Steps measure the completion of tasks, project milestones.  
  • Values, on the other hand, measure the results of completed activities.  

In the HR example, the last Key Result reflects the goal. To achieve the value, “employee satisfaction level 4.3”, many steps need to be taken. Note that when writing action-oriented Key Results, the core principles of OKRs must be kept in mind. Therefore, OKRs are ambitious, measurable, and achievable.  

Top 3 Mistakes When Implementing OKRs  

Here we have compiled three of the most common mistakes you can make in the OKR adoption process.

Mistake #1: Using initiatives without measurable metrics to achieve Key Results  

Each company has its backlog, a bunch of initiatives, and many ideas that need to be done and that are pouring in from all sides. 60-70% of the initiatives do not affect either the key results or the goals.

Initiatives are good, but we need metrics to understand whether we are getting the right key result and moving in the right direction.  

How can I avoid this mistake?  

Always ask yourself and your team a question: “Why are we doing this project/feature/activity?” And then, through the metrics, grope for what will lead to progress.  

Mistake #2: Turning routine goals (KPIs) into OKRs  

When a company takes its KPIs and builds them into OKRs, the goals lose ambition.  

KPIs are more tailored to current operational activities to understand how the business lives and works currently. OKR best practices are about change, about creating entirely new services and services, and about improving existing products.  

What can be done?  

Leave KPIs for the operating system and formulate your OKRs for development. For balance, you can link one KPI to an OKR.  

Mistake #3: Creating OKR templates in Excel or Word

The bad news is that creating OKR templates in Excel or Word is pretty outdated. Why? First of all, you should keep in mind that this kind of manual work will both take a lot of your time and make it difficult to keep track of your goals in the long run.

You need to create different OKRs for each department, and while integrating them, you need to work with an automated system where all goals can be controlled in parallel.

You can achieve this by digitizing HR processes and using efficient OKR software. OKR software automates OKR adoption while allowing you to easily update your company’s OKR goals and act more agile whenever you need it throughout the year.

Closing Words

OKRs are pivotal for organizational success and to improve your company’s performance, you need to adopt strategic practices like transparent goal-setting, employee involvement, and continuous improvement.

You should also avoid common pitfalls such as vague initiatives and turning routine goals into OKRs. For seamless implementation and efficiency, embrace the power of Teamflect, the ultimate OKR software for Microsoft Teams.

Achieve ambitious goals and build a culture of success with Teamflect. Try it today to drive lasting results.

Frequently Asked Questions About OKRs

What does OKR mean?

OKRs stand for the company’s goals and the team and measurable vital results, indicating the achievement of each goal. Thus, OKRs represent an ambitious goal and several measurable actions that need to be taken to achieve that goal.

What does OKR stand for?

OKR stands for “Objectives and Key Results”.

What is OKR methodology?

Using OKRs as a shared goals system and clarifying your organization’s goals, aligning them, boosting productivity, and shaping company performance.

How are Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) created?

OKRs are created through a correct assessment of why a certain goal is needed. Ambitious, yet achievable goals are set, usually at 3 or 5 at a time. The desired end result is communicated clearly to the goal owners at the moment of goal setting.

Written by Emily Helen Arnold

Emily Helen Arnold is a content writer at Teamflect. She is obsessed with organizational behavior studies and loves writing/thinking about how a carefully designed people strategy can transform a company.

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