OKR Goals: Align Your Team to Meet Performance Targets

Studies show that setting company goals boost performance by motivating employees to boost their work efforts and set priorities. We’ve all heard of SMART goals, however, not many of us have heard of the OKR goal management framework. 

At StaffCircle, we offer a performance management platform that sets your team up to succeed. The tool allows you to create an easy, quick and consistent review process across the business using either web or mobile.

Everyone in the company will have their own objectives dashboard to give employees visibility and to promote departmental objectives. You can then launch a leader board that shows who is meeting their goals, plus much more.

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

Objectives and Key Results is a goal management framework that helps improve the transparency and focus of a workforce.

OKR is a tool that helps to create alignment and employee engagement around defined goals that are, most importantly, measurable. OKR rose in popularity as high profile companies such as Google, LinkedIn and Airbnb incorporated the performance management framework into their operations.

With each OKR, a target will be set with up to five key objectives to measure progress against. You can also set up a series of initiatives to help employees achieve measurable key results. Most importantly, your OKRs need to be measurable, flexible, transparent and sensibly ambitious.

As companies implement the OKR framework into their performance management toolkit, many savvy organisations are realising the benefits of envisioning performance.

This framework has the potential to revolutionise the way of working, by helping businesses move to an outcome-based system that aligns to the company’s needs. This is a particularly effective form of performance management within fast-paced industries, which are constantly innovating in response to changing demand..

The Four Superpowers of Objectives and Key Results

The Objectives and Key Results framework fosters four main measures, which are commonly referred to by the US venture capitalist John Doerr as the four superpowers of OKR. Understanding and maximising the superpowers of OKRs is the first step towards building a company at the top of its game.

Focus and commit to priorities: The first superpower of OKR is Focus. Setting OKRs ensures fluidity of ideas and solutions both across teams and up and down the hierarchy. You should focus on what is most important to you, and what can be achieved with the allocated resources and timing. 

Is your focus related to the overall strategy you have in place? While you have to focus on your objectives and key measurable results, committing to them is just as important.

It’s impossible to achieve a goal unless you are committed to every step. Ensuring management and employees are aware of their roles, personal goals and that they are committed to achieving them is essential.

Align and connect for teamwork: Aligning your objectives with your company priorities is essential in setting and achieving goals. This superpower also accounts for aligning your objectives with your team goals and individual goals. 

Once you’ve established your primary objectives, you’ll need to make sure that your teams are on the same page. Aligning employees to your end goal allows them to take ownership of their role and outline how they will achieve it.

Track for accountability: The only way of tracking progress is to establish regular check-points when progress can be monitored. Tracking your goals and outcomes with a performance management tool ensures that your OKRs are constantly evolving organisms rather than static. This drives engagement, improves visibility and encourages internal networking.

Setting up regular team meetings allows members to follow their progress and to offer feedback on their own goals. Your employees and members of management will want to know if they’re succeeding. Having regular check-points helps you to consider how achievable your goals are and if they need to be adjusted. 

Stretch for amazing: Stretching outside your comfort zone is a positive way of exceeding goals and excelling in team roles. A great OKR should push your company beyond its comfort zone, guaranteeing its place in the competitive business landscape by embedding it with a drive towards innovation. 

Setting ambitious stretch goals is the best way to keep this at the forefront of your action plan. Pushing boundaries by stretching can make you achieve things you didn’t think you could reach or couldn’t reach before. The most ambitious goals can encourage employees to excel in their roles and become more engaged and productive.

By maximising these superpowers, you’ll be one step ahead in magnifying your OKRs and boosting your company’s performance.


Company-Wide Goals / Goal Setting

As a company, you’ll have company-wide goals to achieve on a short and long-term basis. Company goals can be divided into team goals which allow your team to get involved in the project and collaborate. Here, we list some reasons for the importance of setting goals for teams and individuals.

Importance of Team Goals

Similar to company goal settling, team goals keep everyone aligned and working towards the same aims. Team goals create alignment between your employees and the organisation so that everyone is working towards the same outcome.

Allowing your team to collaborate in their roles can also boost employee productivity, engagement and retention while strengthening employee relationships. It’s also proven to make it easier to meet team deadlines. Involving all team members in a goal will allow them to be more committed to the end goal. Team goals mean that one person’s success will then become everyone’s success.

Importance of Individual Goals

Setting goals for individuals is equally as important, as it allows each employee to keep track of their own performance and succeed in their own objectives. Individual goals boost employees by fuelling their ambitions. To achieve a team goal, you’ll need to provide your employees with their own individual goals. This means that they can take accountability for the role they play in the overall team goal.

Individual goals allow you to identify the strengths of each of your employees and areas in need of improvement. This helps them to see how their work ties into the bigger picture. Team members with individual goals can also work on their own personal development to guide their focus. Setting goals is essential for self-leadership.

Objectives and Key Results vs SMART Goals

Some of the fastest-growing businesses of our time use the StaffCircle framework. This is because studies have shown that employees who use Objectives and Key Results are more effective in their work than those who don’t use it. 

Tying individual performance to the overall company’s performance makes a significant difference to employee engagement. Staff can see which tasks they are in charge of and understand the purpose of completing them. This makes employees feel more valuable to the company and strengthens the link between management and employees.

SMART goals are often used in measuring business objectives. OKR Goals, however, are more effective as they have the same elements, but in more depth. OKRs focus more on the end objective and use realistic metrics towards measuring progress.

SMART goals can have an overly ambitious approach and can cause you to ignore the fundamental key results of goal setting. Overly ambitious goals can stop you from achieving them. You need to choose sensible goals by focusing your priorities one step at a time. Setting ambitious long term goals is one of the keys to the success of any company. 

Failing to structure a clear path to accomplishing these goals can be fatal. It can leave your company overstretched and losing sight of the bigger picture.

Goal Tracking and Performance Management

Regularly tracking your goals is essential in staying on target and monitoring your progress for effective performance management. You need to monitor the performance of your employees and their progress towards the OKRs as often as quarterly. 

It’s recommended to hold check-ins more frequently to ensure employees understand their goals, stay on track and have the support to achieve them. A performance management review should be carried out on a regular basis to analyse how performance is allowing your team or company to achieve their goals.

Tracking your SMART goals can be tricky unless you find a useful and viable key performance management tool.

It’s vital to craft the targets to ensure time is more effectively spent on the things that matter the most.

When you’re setting performance management goals, there are several things you should and shouldn’t do. You should align goals with the company’s core values, link them to personal expectations and ensure goals are easily tracked (when appropriate). It’s also recommended to ensure that stretch goals are used rather than fixed targets.

StaffCircle: Performance Management Tools

At StaffCircle, we provide one of the most comprehensive and flexible OKR platforms on the market. It enables everyone to manage and update their own progress against pre-agreed objectives with a personal dashboard on any device. You can either update the objective yourself or let the third party or system do it. Managers can also see their team’s objectives in real-time and Leaders can see the entire picture.

Download our free e-book ‘OKR Objectives Quick Start Guide’. The e-book gives you advice on adopting OKR in your organisation and how to make it work to your benefit.

With step-by-step processes, you can easily follow the process for turning values into behaviours. Our templates allow you to create a values-driven action plan and monitor real-world insights with evidence showing the ROI of investing in your corporate culture.

Get in touch for a free demo today.