What are OKRs Objective Key Results and how do you work with them?

by Danique Geskus | Nov 8, 2023

Goal setting is inseparable from your organization’s performance. Managing this performance, also called performance management, is what we described in our earlier Eguide as breaking down and translating the organization’s strategic goals into individual employee goals. To make this translation, we at Learned work with so-called “Business Goals. The underlying methodology stems from the widely used methodology of Objectives & Key Results, also known as OKRs. With this mini Eguide, we want to help you successfully implement OKRs within your organization.


What are OKRs?

The idea behind working with OKRs is to create a clear framework of goals across the organization. Goals, also called Objectives, are often qualitative, ambitious, time-bound and action-oriented. Next, several Key Results will appear under the Objectives. These should be measurable, lead to an objective assessment and be challenging but not impossible. Generally, they are related to topics such as growth, performance or engagement. Often they are numeric, but they can also show whether something is rounded, i.e., a binary 0 or 1. It is important to remember that Key Results are not the same as tasks. Key Results are the outcomes of performing a series of tasks.


How do you use OKRs?

  • Each quarter you determine the Objectives. Keep about 3-5 Objectives per person. For each Objective, you also determine between 3-5 Key Results. This keeps the total number of Key Results between 9-25 allowing the employee to maintain focus. In this regard, less is more.
  • During the quarter, measure progress on individual Key Results. Have employees update progress on a structural basis.
  • Be transparent and make the Objectives and progress on the Key Results public. This allows colleagues and supervisors to provide feedback on performance.
  • Ensure clear consistency between the Objectives of individual employees. Give employees insight into organizational goals so they know their impact on the company’s bottom line.


The best practices of OKRs

Want to get an extra good start on OKRs? Then check out a list of the methods that work best here:

  • Evaluate the OKRs on a quarterly basis. Update progress on individual Key Results on a weekly basis.
  • Set no more than 5 Objectives per person per quarter.
  • Formulate up to 5 Key Results per Objective.
  • Always make Key Results measurable. A Key Result formulated qualitatively might be better employed as a separate Objective.
  • Set ambitious goals that are achievable.


Examples of OKRs in practice

Time to put the best practices into practice using some relevant examples. We do this by looking at how OKRs are applied in different places within the organization.
Want to see more OKR examples? Then download our free mini Eguide

Head of HR

Objective: Implement OKRs within the organization.

Key Result: Have all HR Managers read this Eguide

Key Result: Schedule a training session for the various internal departments

Key Result: Practice with OKRs by creating 3 test cases in Learned

Content Marketer

Objective: Implement weekly newsletter

Key Result: Finalize the content strategy for the next 3 months

Key Result: Increase subscribers by at least 3% per week and reach 5,000 readers

Key Result: Increase CTR rate above industry average of 4%


Want more best practices and case studies so you can deploy OKRs across the organization? Then download our free mini Eguide.

Gratis downloads

Chart low and high performers with objective evaluations

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