What Are OKRs? Learn All About Objectives & Key Results In This Guide

OKRs, also known as objectives and key results, is a framework for setting measurable goals at the organization, team, or individual level. In OKRs, the objective is a goal and the key result is a metric. Keep reading to learn more about the meaning of OKRs and how to set OKRs!

What do Target, Uber, and Google have in common? They all use objectives and key results (OKRs).

Learning more about OKRs, from what OKR stands for to how to set OKRs, can help you set goals for yourself, your team, or your organization that push you (or those around you) to achieve major milestones, like sales records.

Keep reading to learn more about OKRs’ meaning and how to set OKRs. If you want to learn more about common digital marketing terms — like objectives and key results — check out our digital marketing glossary!

What are OKRs?

OKRs, also called objectives and key results, is a business framework that helps organizations, teams, and individuals set measurable goals. Companies of all sizes, from startups to enterprises, can use OKRs to align teams, plus track and measure their progress towards a desired goal.

Who can use OKRs?

Anyone can use OKRs, from organizations to individuals. Typically, businesses will set company- and team-wide OKRs. If you’re getting started with objectives and key results, start at the individual or team level before advancing to company-wide OKRs.

For inspiration, here is a list companies that use OKRs:

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • Spotify
  • Uber

Anyone can use OKRs. You don’t have to be a name-brand company to use (or benefit) from them!

What is the OKR framework?

“I will [objective] as measured by [key results].”

The OKR framework consists of two components:

  • Objectives: Objectives describe the goal you want to achieve, like increasing sales, improving customer satisfaction, and reducing churn. For the best results with OKRs, create to-the-point and actionable objectives.
  • Key results: Key results (KRs) measure the goal you want to achieve, like tracking the number of sales, measuring customer satisfaction, and monitoring churn rate. For the best results with OKRs, use metrics for key results since you can measure metrics.

The typical OKR formula is: “I will [objective] as measured by [key results].”

For example, “I will achieve the industry’s highest customer satisfaction rating by gathering feedback from our top 100 clients and completing 100 phone calls with our most recent cancellations.”

Use the objectives and key results when setting OKRs to set your organization (or team) up for success!

Who created OKRs?

Andrew Grove created OKRs. Grove created OKRs while working at Intel. Later, while presenting a course at the company, Grove introduced the idea to John Doerr. Doerr then introduced OKRs to Google, which quickly adopted them.

What is the difference between OKRs and KPIs?

The difference between OKRs and key performance indicators (KPIs) is OKRs provide a goal-setting framework while KPIs provide ways to measure the performance of goals, projects, and other business activities. While not identical, KPIs are similar to KRs in objectives and key results.

How do I set an OKR?

While there isn’t an exact process for setting OKRs, these OKR best practices can help:

  • Make OKRs difficult, but not impossible.
  • Set OKRs as a team, department, or company to get support and buy-in
  • Connect your OKRs with your day-to-day work assignments
  • Communicate the “why” behind your chosen objectives and key results
  • Create regular check-ins for sharing progress and celebrating wins
  • Ensure OKRs include an objective — what you want to accomplish — and key results — how you will measure your progress

With these tips, you can start setting OKRs for your business, department, or team!

How many OKRs should I set?

Set 3-5 objectives with 1-5 key results.

The point behind OKRs is to keep your team focused on the goals. You don’t want to overload them with too many goals and leave them distracted.

You’ll want to set 3-5 objectives for your team. You don’t want to exceed five objectives, as it can start to get messy and muddle your team’s focus. It is better to keep your objective smaller, so your team can accomplish your goals easier.

Under each objective, 1-5 measurable results. The number of measurable results will depend upon your objective. An objective like earning more social media followers can be proven with less measurable results than creating more engaging emails.

You’ll want to set these OKRs quarterly. Some companies choose to set them annually or monthly, but the majority stick to quarterly OKRs. It gives your team time to accomplish the goals and review your progress.

What are the benefits of OKRs?

There are numerous reasons why you should set OKRs for your business. Take a look below to see why you should set OKRs for your business.

1. Keep your team focused

OKRs are extremely beneficial to your team. The point of OKRs is to set goals and the way to achieve those goals. It gives your team a game plan and tells them how to reach these goals.

When you set OKRs, you keep your team focused. They know exactly what to achieve and when to achieve it. There are set deadlines that your team needs to meet, which helps them prioritize their time better.

A focused team is a more productive team. Your employees will be more engaged in their work, which will lead to better results for your campaigns. When your team is focused, they have an easier time achieving goals.

2. Provide a roadmap for achieving goals

When you set goals, you want your team to be able to achieve them. OKRs help nudge your team towards completing these goals.

When you set an OKR, you are setting an agile goal. These aren’t long-term goals that take years to accomplish. It needs to be completed in a shorter amount of time and achieve a certain measurable result.

Your team can complete shorter goals faster and easier. They focus better on the smaller goals at hand. If there are any mishaps or changes, it is easier to adapt and create a new plan.

3. Follow a template

OKRs are easy to set. It’s as simple as that. It’s an extremely beneficial process for your business that is easy to set and achieve.

These OKRs require little time and resources. It doesn’t take much to set up these goals and create a plan to achieve them. It will mostly cost you your time.

You’ll need to take a few hours each quarter to review your OKRs and check to see if you’ve achieved them. Then you can set new OKRs and follow the same pattern. There isn’t much else you need to invest other than a few hours every quarter.

5 tips for setting impactful OKRs

OKRs are very beneficial for your business. It’s a great opportunity to focus on and achieve your goals. Here are a few tips to help you set impactful OKRs.

1. Keep them simple

If you want to set effective OKRs, keep it simple. These are meant to be goals that you can achieve in a short amount of time. Think about goals that you can realistically achieve in this time frame.

Think about what your business needs most. It can be social media followers, higher CTR, or more conversions. These are some goals you can set with realistic numbers you can achieve in a short amount of time.

Also, keep your goals simple to help your team stay focused. If your goals are too in depth, your team may lose track of how to achieve those goals. Straightforward goals will help your team focus on delivering results.

2. Be specific

When you set your objectives, be specific about what you want to achieve. Think about how you can reach the results you want to reach.

To see success with your OKRs, draw out an action plan. This plan should state the steps necessary to complete your goal. It should address how you can reach your goals.

Finally, make your expectations clear for your team. Pencil out your expectations immediately so your team knows what they need to achieve. Be focused and clear about your goals.

When you get specific with your OKRs, you help your team focus on the task at hand. They are well-prepared because they know what to achieve, how to achieve, and when it needs to be done. This will help drive your team towards success.

3. Make them measurable

A big part of OKRs is the results. You want to know if you achieve your objective. When you set your OKRs, focus on goals that are measurable.

A measurable goal will help you see if you’ve achieved success. When you can put a number or a percentage as a goal, it’s easy to measure and see if you’ve reached that goal.

Problems arise when your goals are hard to measure. If your goals are unquantifiable, you’ve made it difficult for your team to know if they have achieved the right results. Establish how you will know when someone has reached that goal.

If you can’t create measurable results or establish how to achieve a goal, it is best to refrain from setting that as an OKR. It will only leave your team frustrated that they cannot complete that goal.

By setting measurable goals, you’ll set your team on the path for success.

4. Break down goals into smaller goals

Mini goals are a great way to keep your team motivated and focused. They help your team progress towards the larger goal and feel confident about achieving goals.

These mini goals should focus on tasks that need to be completed to achieve the key results. They are key milestones in your team’s progress. They should be targeted, just like your OKRs.

First, look at your timeline for your OKR. If you want to achieve something in a few weeks, you can set mini goals for your team to accomplish each day. It will help them seamlessly move towards the larger goal.

Breaking down bigger tasks is extremely beneficial for your team. It makes tasks manageable and helps boost their confidence. They will feel like they are contributing to the larger goal and will feel more motivated to help work towards that goal.

5. Have the proper resources

To bring success for your business, your team needs to have the necessary tools to be successful. They will work hard to achieve your OKRs, so it is essential that you support their objectives and help them reach these goals.

One valuable resource is your budget. Do you have the funds to help your team reach their goals? What kind of costs may you incur from supporting your team?

Money is always an important contributing factor to what you can and cannot do. Make sure that your team knows the budget upfront. Create a budget plan to help them see where you plan to allocate funds and how much so they can prepare and know how much they have to work with.

Your team may need additional resources, too. This can be anything from office supplies to technology programs. If you want to help them see success, you need to provide them with the necessary resources to do their job.

You don’t want to set your team up for failure. Having a lack of resources can lead to your team feeling stressed or overwhelmed with projects.

Good agencies have more than 50 testimonials.

Great agencies have more than 100 testimonials.

WebFX has over 1,020+ glowing client testimonials.

See What Makes Us Stand out

WebFX will help you set your OKRs to achieve success

OKRs play an important role in helping your business achieve success. You will keep your team more focused on important tasks and help them reach company goals. At WebFX, we know how to create effective marketing OKRs to help your business succeed.

Our team of 500+ experts will bring their knowledge and expertise to your campaign. With over 25 years of experience, we know how to craft marketing plans that work for your business. We’ll help you set up OKRs that drive success for your marketing campaign.

If you want results, we will help you get them. To date, we’ve driven over $3 billion in sales and over 7.8 million leads for our clients. We focus on driving success for our clients first.

Our clients love the work we do for them. In fact, we have over 1,020 client testimonials from a variety of industries. Check them out to see what it’s like to partner with a marketing firm like WebFX!

Create your OKRs today

OKRs can help your business stay focused and achieve your goals. If you’re ready to start creating OKRs for your business, contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist.

We look forward to helping your business grow!