Objectives and Key Results (OKR) Examples (And Tips for Creating Your Own)
Updated June 24, 2022
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 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 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.
Here are several examples of OKRs for different departments:
Finance and accounting OKR examples
Objective: Eliminate accounting mistakes
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
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
Sales OKR examples
Objective: Increase net sales to $2 million from $1.75 million
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
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
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
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
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
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
Human resources OKR examples
Objective: Improve employee feedback
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
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
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%
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.
Objective: Improve company culture
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
Distribute 10,000 customer satisfaction surveys
Create customer referral program
Reach customer retention rate of 90%
Individual OKR examples
Objective: Shock my boss with productivity
Increase weekly production by 15%
Implement email organizational system
Delegate 50% of administrative tasks to administrative team
Objective: Contribute meaningfully to the company
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.
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