Objectives and Key Results (OKR) Examples (And Tips for Creating Your Own)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 8, 2022 | Published January 29, 2021

Updated February 8, 2022

Published January 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Organizations can thrive when everyone commits to the same objectives. With all team members working toward a common goal, you can improve morale, enliven company culture, streamline efforts and make better operational decisions. Creating the right set of goals is critical to experiencing these benefits. In this article, we discuss what objectives and key results (OKRs) are and provide examples of OKR use in several departments within an organization.

What are OKRs?

Objectives and key results, referred to as “OKRs,” are tools used by organizations to create goals and measurable ways to reach those goals. They are a framework for setting and charting progress toward ambitious strategic goals. OKRs have two components: simple, straightforward objectives in targeted areas and related key results that can be measured. These goals may be company-wide or specific to a department.

Peter Drucker, a well-known venture capitalist, introduced the idea of managing companies using these simple, pointed objectives in the 1950s as a way for companies to narrow their focus to a handful of significant goals. Andy Grove incorporated the element of key results in the 1970s to produce the modern OKR formula used today. 

Objectives

Objectives should be clear, engaging and simple. They typically answer a statement that begins with “we will …” They are generally qualitative, ambitious and align with the company's mission such as “Offer the best customer service in the banking business" or "Exceed employee expectations for positivity in the workplace."

Key results

Key results are the measurable, quantitative figures that define the objectives. They typically answer a statement that ends with “as measured by …” They must be comparably ambitious, motivating team members to reach challenging metrics. For instance, key results may include increasing sales by 15% in the first quarter or improving employee satisfaction ratings to 95%.

Companies may use OKRs to:

  • Identify key business objectives

  • Make sure that goals are related to overall organizational objectives

  • Set realistic targets

  • Determine timeframes for reaching those targets

Companies review OKRs frequently—often monthly or quarterly—to evaluate a company or departmental progress and set new OKRs. 

Read more: A Guide to OKRs: Definition, Tips and Examples

OKR examples

Here are several examples of OKRs for different departments:

Finance and accounting OKR examples

Objective: Eliminate accounting mistakes

Key results:

  • Conduct internal audit by March 17

  • Train all finance team members on new software

  • Implement second look strategy with team members by April 1

  • Achieve 99% accuracy in reporting

Objective: Increase cash flow

Key results:

  • Bring 35% of accounts receivable up to date

  • Implement new payment terms to change the payment period to 30 days from 60 days

  • Draft automatic letters for accounts receivable for 10, 14 and 30 days past payment date

  • Create incentive plan for electronic payments

Read more: Finance Manager Skills: Definition and Examples

Sales OKR examples

Objective: Increase net sales to $2 million from $1.75 million

Key results:

  • Revise sales quotas for the newest 30 salespersons to reflect 8% increase

  • Implement new bonus structure for top five performers each quarter

  • Increase sales by most experienced 25 salespeople by $40,000

  • Create first quarter client gift package for contracts over $5,000

Objective: Increase recurring revenue

Key results:

  • Increase monthly subscription revenue from $50,000 to $65,000

  • Increase sales regions by 10% for each sales team

  • Increase percentage of subscriptions versus one-time purchases to 40% from 30%

Marketing OKR examples

Objective: Create excitement about our brand in the digital space

Key results:

  • Revitalize website by hiring web development company and copywriters by December 1.

  • Schedule user testing with 15 clients on new site by January 31*

  • Contract with 10 social media influencers for six-month campaign

  • Launch social media targeted ad campaign

Objective: Increase contact with customers

Key results:

  • Increase to two newsletters a month from one

  • Increase newsletter click-throughs to 25% from 18%.

  • Send weekly brief emails

  • Participate in four vendor fairs this quarter

  • Host CEO walk-throughs in stores weekly for two months

Development OKR examples

Objective: Develop the most cost-effective operations

Key results:

  • Hire new operations manager by May 5

  • Schedule inspection and compliance training week of May 7

  • Reduce production costs by 15%

  • Reduce staff wages by 10%

  • Increase production output by 10%

Objective: Create the most convenient customer experience

Key results:

  • Launch mobile app on August 1

  • Add ordering capabilities to website by August 1

  • Install monitors for ordering in stores by October 1

  • Receive 90% positive ratings on convenience in customer surveys

Read more: 4 Steps for Setting Leadership Goals in the Workplace (With Examples)

Human resources OKR examples

Objective: Improve employee feedback

Key results:

  • Increase employee response rate to 85%

  • Choose top three personnel software programs for HR review by November 3

  • Select and purchase program by November 17

  • Send three-question bi-monthly employee surveys starting December 1

  • Create an incentive program for employee involvement by November 17

Objective: Improve onboarding process

Key results:

  • Design group orientation program to replace individual orientation by July 3.

  • Revise training manual by July 31

  • Receive 85% positive reviews about onboarding from new employees

  • Design first week appreciation packages by July 31

Company-wide OKR examples

Objective: Expand into more markets

Key results:

  • Lease new location in Park Heights by August 15

  • Develop marketing and outreach campaign for Park Heights ZIP codes.

  • Increase Park Heights customers by 50% in the first quarter

Objective: Increase revenue by 8%

Key results:

  • Increase total sales by 10%

  • Reduce quarterly expenses by 5%

  • Implement telecommute option by February 1

  • Open weekend availability on optional basis for first quarter.

Read more: What are Business Goals? Definition, How To Set Business Goals and Examples

Executive OKRs

Objective: Improve company culture

Key results:

  • Receive at least a 60% response rate on employee surveys

  • Implement two employee-focused initiatives in the next quarter

  • Compile employee priority data for top two priorities based on surveys

Objective: Exceed customer expectations

Key results:

  • Distribute 10,000 customer satisfaction surveys

  • Create customer referral program

  • Reach customer retention rate of 90%

Read more: Transformational Leadership: Definition and Examples

Individual OKR examples

Objective: Shock my boss with productivity

Key results:

  • Increase weekly production by 15%

  • Implement email organizational system

  • Delegate 50% of administrative tasks to administrative team

Objective: Contribute meaningfully to the company

Key results:

  • Respond to bi-monthly employee surveys

  • Launch charitable giving campaign

  • Host monthly lunch mixers for up to 15 new employees

Tips for creating OKRs

As you work on your OKRs, consider these tips:

  • Ask your team what are the three most important things for us to accomplish in the next period and why they are important.

  • Reserve OKRs for efforts that move the business forward. If the OKRs do not add value to your business, the process is a waste of your team’s time.

  • When drafting OKRs, follow best practices which include aligning, specifying, measuring, stretching and aspiring. Prioritize them in order of importance and urgency.

  • Set a timeframe like three months. Limit OKRs to no more than three or five objectives for that period. Each objective should have a limit of three to five key results. Key results should not be a restatement of the objective.

  • The OKR process works best when it draws on expertise at every level of the organization and each team sets its own. Brainstorm key results with your team and let them identify which they would like to take responsibility for.

  • Share team OKRs with the rest of the company. Awareness will help drive alignment. It is also important that your company be transparent about its goals to maintain focus, accountability and participation. 

  • Review or close OKRs at the end of the period. This will let you know if some should be carried over to the next framework. 

Related: How To Score OKRs (With Example Scorecard)

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