While nobody likes a work acronym, some are actually pretty darn useful. Take OKRs—or "Objectives and Key Results": when used properly, they can superpower company growth, health and happiness. OKRs represent essential metrics for outlining what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there. But how do you go about setting them? And what tools can you use to make the whole process of communicating and tracking them painless?
What are OKRs?
OKRs are not simply more business jargon. Not to be confused with KPIs (Employee performance KPIs), they help organizations and teams set out strategies and goals in managable chunks. They provide a reference to help you evaluate how well you did against what you set out to do, and can be used for anything from performance to productivity. Essentially, OKRs boil down to two simple parts:
Objectives – A qualitative, far-reaching statement of what you're trying to achieve. E.g. increasing company revenue by 10%
Key results – A quantitative, measurable outcome (often within a set timeframe) showing objectives have been met. E.g. acquiring 100 new customers by Q3
The benefits of OKRs
Ever been asked by management to set big, exciting goals at the beginning of the year, only for them to be completely forgotten about a few months later? OKRs are a direct response to that. They break down the hugeness of traditional company goal-setting, helping you benchmark progress and keep everyone aligned within more manageable time frames. They also help keep your wider company vision front-of-mind, so everyone can work with purpose—people can see how their efforts fit into the bigger picture. Ultimately, OKRs can help you:
- Be effective and clear in setting goals
- Boost employee engagement and empowerment through goal-setting
- Define and measure team performance against clear objectives
- Increase transparency between management and teams
- Create a greater sense of shared accountability and purpose
Helpful OKR tools
This all sounds great, but you shouldn’t have to expend extra effort and resource to measure how you’re actually doing against your goals. The whole idea of OKRs is to keep things simple. To make the whole thing effortless—so everyone is clear on what’s expected of them and how they’re doing against those expectations—enlist the help of an intuitive OKR tool. Since you can set OKRs for almost any part of your performance, there are a lot of different niches these tools cover.
1. Kanbanize for measurable OKRs/Outcomes
Kanban & OKRs join forces to help you bridge the strategy-to-execution gap and align goals to daily work. Embrace the OKR goal-setting framework with high-level objectives and “measurable outcomes” in Kanbanize. Keep track of your key results and daily work progress and see how they contribute to achieving your goals on your Kanban boards. With the real-life automatic projections of every update, you can tell when you’re likely to reach your targets.
2. CultureAmp – for identifying goals
CultureAmp helps you uncover crucial relationships between performance and engagement, turning insights into high-impact actions to create an ideal employee experience. It breaks down what high performing individuals have in common and pulls actionable insights throughout an employee’s time with the business. This then helps you set up common goals for all your team to work towards.
3. Koan – for keeping OKRs transparent
Koan is all about building purposeful teams through clear-cut OKRs. The tool connects every employee to a company’s mission, vision and priorities, where they’re able to track progress in a dashboard, as well as share and receive direct feedback. Each week, Koan prompts you to reflect on the progress of your goals, making tracking objectives an active part of your routine.
4. Weekdone – for staying in-sync
Weekdone simplifies OKR altogether, making goals visible and increasing transparency using interactive reporting. It replaces the need for weekly stand-up meetings with quick and simple online check-ins, while allowing workers to plan their day and week with the company vision in mind.
5. Timely – for measuring team performance
By analyzing how long it takes teams take to do specific tasks, Timely helps you build OKRs and create new temporal goals—such as trying to build and QA a new webpage in two days, or limiting the time you spend on daily email to 10 minutes. You can also easily measure team utilization to try and adjust your billable-to-non-billable ratio on projects. All project progress and employee performance can all be reviewed in real-time dashboards—from time on tasks and work against capacity, to project budget spend.
6. Perdoo – for setting OKRs
Perdoo takes you through your OKR process step-by-step using its internal AI, helping you to create meaningful, coherent objectives every time. Using a map structure to clearly navigate through them, Perdoo helps your objectives and results come to life with a visual hierarchy, allowing you to align your team to goals and update and edit in real-time.
7. Engagedly – for OKR inspiration
Engagedly is a powerful tool to help create and track objectives, enabling you to lay out and benchmark them using a customizable check-in feature. Engagedly also offers template-based performance management, suggesting which goal is right for your team, which is helpful if you’re not quite sure what to set out. You can also track the progress of every single goal in a matter of seconds with its progress indicators.
8. SimpleOKR – for feedback and reviews
SimpleOKR deep-dives into goal-setting structures, allowing you to set between three and five high-level objectives. Through this, you engage every member of your team and inspire them to deliver their needed contributions to make those goals possible. From $5 per user per month, you can not only set OKR targets, you can also incorporate alignment training for each team member and provide 360-degree performance reviews.
9. Peoplegoal – for scoring OKRs
This is a tool that enhances OKR accountability and traceability across your team, setting business objectives by making use of a balanced scorecard approach. From there, employees align their individual goals with the company’s goals to visualize their contributions week on week. Peoplegoal also lets you schedule 1:1s and set up specific discussion points - but these can also be auto-generated based on goal performance.
10. ClickUp – for managing your OKRs efficiently
Through its Goals feature, ClickUp allows you to manage your team's OKRs alongside your projects, tasks, and other work. Objectives are added to ClickUp as Goals, and key results are visualized as measurable numerical, monetary, or task-based Targets, which live within their respective Goals. You can assign Goals to yourself or include multiple people in a single objective. As you complete individual Targets, your progress towards the overall objective is displayed as a percentage, making it easy to track individual and team updates on OKRs. These Goals can also be organized into folders, perfect for grouping and tracking OKR progress by department, team, time period, and more, all at a glance.