The concept of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is widely known, but have you heard of the goal-setting method called OKRs?
OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a collaborative method to set and streamline goals throughout a company.
It is especially useful to help remote companies align their goals and work as a unified body.
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What are OKRs?
Some of the world’s biggest names use OKRs, such as Google, Twitter, IBM, LinkedIn, and Netflix to achieve ambitious goals.
OKRs can be used at various levels — company, teams, or individuals.
The OKR method has two elements:
They define ‘what’ you want to achieve.
They should be challenging, action-oriented, and concrete.
It is not unusual for objectives to be rolled over from quarter to quarter.
They should express ‘how’ the objectives will be achieved.
Key results should be quantitative, measurable, time-bound, and difficult yet realistic.
Be careful that your key results describe outcomes, not activities. This means that the words ‘help,’ ‘participate,’ ‘analyze,’ and ‘consult’ shouldn’t appear in key results.
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How are OKRs different from KPIs?
KPIs are the metrics used to assess performance for ongoing activities or processes.
OKRs help set measurable goals for performance and achieve them.
Objective – Create a better customer experience
Key Result – Achieve an NPS score of >40
KPI – NPS score
How are OKRs useful for remote teams?
Despite so much talk around transparency and communication, it’s strange how very few people can list their company’s top priorities.
A London Business School survey of 11,000 senior executives, managers, and leaders from more than 400 organizations threw up some dismal statistics:
- Even after an average of five attempts, only around 50% of the participants could arrive at the same priority.
- Only one-third of the participants knew their company’s top three priorities.
OKRs can remedy this situation by communicating company strategy in a clear and measurable way.
OKRs help remote teams be more transparent, communicate more effectively, and be more aligned across teams.
To be successful, OKRs should be reviewed weekly or biweekly to track progress, discuss challenges, and make adjustments where necessary.
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According to Linda Hill, Professor of Business Studies at Harvard Business School, employee goals should connect to company goals to motivate employees to work towards them. OKRs help you do just that.
9 Examples of OKRs for Remote Teams
The OKR method works well when objectives and key results are defined correctly.
We share a few real-life examples of OKRs for remote teams at three levels — company, team, and personal — to help you frame your own goals.
1Company OKR Examples
Organizational OKRs are high-level, inspirational goals that define what the top priorities of the company are currently.
Managers and team members set their own goals to align with those of the company.
Objective: Achieve greater scale by getting more monthly subscriptions
KR1 – Gain 50,000 visitors per month to the website using SEO techniques
KR2 – Create a better funnel to achieve 3,000 subscriptions per month
KR3 – Streamline product and processes to support 3,000 subscriptions per month
KR4 – Achieve a Net Promoter Score > 50
Suppose a hotel wants to improve its customer experience by the next quarter to boost revenue. It may set the following OKR:
Objective: Improve the hotel’s customer experience by the end of Q3 2020
KR1 – Achieve a Net Promoter Score >40
KR2 – Settle critical customer issues within 2 hours
KR3 – Achieve 20% faster data processing on the hotel’s website booking form
Objective: Launch an excellent minimum viable product
KR1 – Get 20% users to return to the product page in a week
KR2 – Achieve 10% conversion to a paid subscription
KR3 – Achieve a rating of 8.5
2Team OKR Examples
Team OKRs are collaboratively set by managers and team members so that everyone agrees on the outcomes for a particular objective.
Usually, a process called cascading or laddering is followed where remote teams choose a particular company-level key result and turn it into their own OKR such that it aligns with the company’s goals.
Ideally, 3-5 key results should be created for each objective.
Suppose a remote team has chosen KR1 from Example 1 and made it their own OKR. This is what it would look like:
Objective: Gain 50,000 visitors per month to the website using SEO techniques
KR1 – Rank on the first page on Google for certain keywords
KR2 – Achieve an average page speed of 2 seconds
KR3 – Create 15 pieces of content per month
KR4 – Gain 5X followers on LinkedIn
For a remote marketing team, OKRs may look like this:
Objective: Increase customer engagement by creating a better weekly email series
KR1 – Increase CTR to 30%
KR2 – Develop 5 split tests
KR3 – Launch the new weekly email series by next month
Say, the content marketing team wanted to improve the company’s social media reach. Its OKRs for remote teams may be:
Objective: Broaden social media reach
KR1 – Increase the number of Facebook followers by 10,000
KR2 – Get >2,000 views on LinkedIn videos
KR3 – Increase social media conversion rate by 2X
An HR team OKR for remote teams could look like this:
Objective: Provide a better employee experience for employees
KR1 – Achieve a monthly employee NPS score >50
KR2 – Conduct interviews of 2 employees each month to understand the challenges
KR3 – Organize 2-3 employee engagement activities per month
3Individual OKR Examples
A particular advantage of setting and tracking individual OKRs is that managers can check progress without having to micromanage their reports.
With the following examples of OKRs for remote teams, you can see how it would help employees stay abreast of the happenings in the team and across the company.
Often, companies encourage teams and team members to post their OKRs in a public space so that everyone can access it and be informed about it.
A sales personnel’s OKRs, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, could look like this:
Objective: Increase the number of dishwashers sold
KR1 – Speak to 20 potential customers per month
KR2 – Successfully close 10 or more sales per month
Finally, we have an example of an administrative/operations executive OKR:
Objective: Take secretarial courses to upskill
KR1 – Attend at least 2 webinars
KR2 – Read 1 article daily about secretarial duties
KR3 – Create a questionnaire for colleagues to evaluate weaknesses
From these examples of OKRs for remote teams, it is clear that this goal-setting method helps remote teams find a balance between supervision and performance.
Clear goals and guidance motivate employees to take accountability and own up to tasks.
Communication has always been important at the workplace, more so in remote teams, and OKRs can help such teams stay focused and work in a coordinated manner towards the company’s goals.