"How do I set up goals (OKRs)?" by Hero Academy training

What are objectives and key results (OKRs)?

OKRs is a goal-planning framework that works by connecting the top-down vision of an organisation with the bottom-up business activities performed by individuals and teams to help ensure everyone is moving in the organisation in the same direction.

Your entire workforce will have visibility of the company goals with OKRs. You will then take goal-planning a step further by mapping out the initiatives and key results individuals and teams need to achieve in order to move the organisation toward achieving the company goals. 


How can we use Goals (OKRs)?


WATCH: The training video



READ: Step-by-step guides

  1. Creating goals using the Goals (OKR) feature (Platinum subscriptions only)
  2. Updating goals periodically (Mobile/Desktop)
  3. Reporting on Goals


An OKR setup example 

Let’s look at an example of what an employee engagement OKR could look like for an HR/People and Culture Manager:

Objective: What do we hope to achieve as an organisation? (Top-down)?

Improve Employee Engagement

Key Results: How will we measure success? (Top-down)?

Increase employee participation by 10% in the quarterly engagement survey.
Increase employee satisfaction by 5% as reflected in the quarterly engagement survey.

Initiatives: What actions will push us towards success? (Bottom-up)?

Take the second Key Result, Increase employee satisfaction by 5% as reflected in the quarterly engagement survey. Our people and culture team members will now work together to create initiatives alongside goal owners to push the Key Result in the right direction. So the first initiative toward this key result may be:

Brainstorm with key culture influencers what they want to see improved or introduced.

Helpful Hint

Make sure you give yourself a timeframe to achieve your OKRs and schedule time to review and iterate upon your goals.




Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantitative metrics that may be owned by individuals (like an employee’s sales target) and feed into a team or company goal (like a monthly company sales target). Most organisations have KPIs for individuals and groups to help gage productivity or profitability in a business as usual context.


Objectives + Key Results are about where your organisation is now vs where you want it to go. Objectives famously lack metrics, whereas Key Results look a lot like KPIs at first glance. So what’s the difference? It’s all about context. Using our employee engagement OKR above, we set the following key result:

Increase employee participation by 10% in the quarterly engagement survey.

Assume your organisation always sends a quarterly engagement survey and your people & culture team has a KPI goal of 10% participation. We have our KPI, but do we know why? We’re still left not knowing if that is a suitable target, why we have set it at 10% specifically, or what achieving or not achieving that target means for the business.

So how do we put that target into an overall story that gives the metric meaning?

  1. Start with the company objective first to build your why statement.
  2. Align your key result (your 10% goal) to that objective. Now you’re stating that you’ve defined achieving that 10% target means you’re moving towards meeting your objective
  3. Your people and culture team then outline the initiatives they will take to align the team and achieve that key result

Suddenly our KPI now has context and purpose and fits within a more robust and meaningful goals framework.


Communicating OKRs to staff

Getting your entire organisation to adopt OKRs requires understanding and support at every level of the organisation. Your staff will need to understand:

  • What OKRs are as a concept
  • Why they are important
  • How they will achieve tangible results

But before you think about the roll-out, we recommend your leadership team start the journey by asking one simple question.

As an organisation, where are we now and where do we want to go?

Most organisations achieve successful adoption of OKRs by starting simple. Choose 1-2 goals and start at the executive level. Once you have flexed your goal-setting muscle and you are comfortable with your goal-setting and goal-updating cadence, bring in more teams and more staff.



Who can view goals?

Transparency and alignment are key to successful adoption of OKRs. That is why anyone in an organisation can view all goals across an organisation by default. However, you can limit the visibility of each goal to be visible to:

  • Everyone
  • A team
  • Participants only


What does it mean when I see an aligned goal?

All Key Results should point to a company objective. Otherwise, how could your organisation justify spending resources trying to achieve the key result? When you have connected key results to objectives, the HR platform reports them as aligned in the OKR report.

What is the Set up metric in the Goals report?

The number shows the percentage of your employees that have created goals which helps you understand the level of Goals adoption amongst staff members.

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