Understanding and Implementing Stretch Goals for Employees

According to research, setting specific, challenging, and ambitious goals (high-effort, high-risk) has been found to yield better performance outcomes in 9 out of 10 cases, compared to setting easier objectives. Clearly defining and striving for demanding goals tends to drive stronger performance.

Curious about the stretch goal meaning  and how to effectively implement it for your team? We’ll dive into the details on how you can integrate stretch goals into your employee development strategy, helping you unlock their full potential and drive growth.

Read next: Understanding and Implementing Quarterly Goals

What are stretch goals?

A stretch goal is an ambitious objective that requires high effort and carries a level of risk. It is intentionally set above normal standards to drive growth, see new opportunities, and gain valuable experience. By setting stretch goals, employers can help their employees break free from complacency and strive for high performance.

While it’s true that stretch goals are not expected to be fully achieved; their purpose is to inspire growth and push employees and teams beyond their comfort zones. 

When a stretch goal is met, it’s rewarded as high performance. Conversely, missing a stretch goal should not be viewed as low performance, but rather as an opportunity to learn and improve.

Relevant reading: Performance Review SMART Goals: 18 Examples to Drive Results

What are the benefits of stretch goals?

stretch goals meaning

Now that you know what stretch goals are, what do your employees stand to gain from setting these goals: 

Enhanced innovation and growth

One of the main reasons for setting a stretch goal is to motivate your teams and employees to think creatively and unconventionally.

For example, if your marketing team sets a stretch goal to grow your social media engagement by 40% within 3 months, the goal can push them to come up with creative campaign ideas and proven strategies to help drive social media engagement for the brand. 

Increased employee motivation and engagement

Having a stretch goal can also inspire employees to strive for excellence, which can improve employee engagement

A perfect example can be your sales team setting a stretch goal to exceed monthly targets by 30%, this gives them a sense of unity and motivation as the team works together to achieve the objective. 

Improved performance and results

To have improved performance and better results, you can set a stretch goal to help employees work more efficiently. 

Take for example, if you have a SaaS company and your software development team sets a stretch goal to develop a new feature on the app within 3 months, this goal can help create a clear target for the team which leads to increased efficiency and performance and can give you an edge to continuously improve your product.

What are the characteristics of an effective stretch goal?

Knowing what defines an effective stretch goal is an important step in implementing it. Here are some of the characteristics to look out for: 

Ambitious but achievable

Creating ambitious goals is not bad as a stretch goal should be challenging but is still possible to meet in a set time. 

See an example of this context, if you own a startup with no social media presence and your social media marketing team wants to target reaching your first 1000 followers in 3 days, that’s an ambitious goal, the question is “Can it be achieved?” Depending on the type of content and approach, yes. 

Specific and measurable

Your stretch goal should be clear and well-defined, with a specific target to aim for, much like a SMART goal. Specificity is needed as it increases the likelihood of measuring employee or team progress, providing a clear direction and focus. 

Having a specific and measurable goal ensures potential roadblocks are avoided, and the team’s progress can be tracked and celebrated. This enables the team to stay motivated and engaged, while they work towards a common goal.

Time-bound

A stretch goal must also have a clear deadline or timeframe for completion, this gives the employee or team a sense of urgency and focus. Without deadlines, goals can become vague and unachievable.

For instance, if your product development team aims to launch a new product, having a clear timeline such as 7 months or making it into a quarterly goal can lead to more effective planning and execution. At the end of the deadline, the goal can be evaluated, and improvements can be made as needed.

Aligned with overall objectives

A goal that doesn’t align with your company’s overall objective is meaningless. Every stretch goal should be an integral part of the plan to drive business growth and fit into company values

A common business objective is customer retention, let’s take for instance your customer service team sets a goal to reduce customer complaints by 35% within the next year. This is aligned with your overall objectives, making it a good example of stretch goals.

Here’s a good example of how your stretch goals should look like: 

The marketing team wants to increase website traffic by 100,000 visitors in the next 6 months (specific and measurable, time-bound), this will be done by using a new social media and content marketing strategy (ambitious but achievable), which is expected to help drive sales revenue (aligns with overall objective).

What are the differences between SMART and stretch goals?

The main difference between SMART goals and stretch goals is how realistic they are and their completion status. 

SMART goals, which stand for 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant, and 
  • Time-bound, 

are designed to be attainable and focused on completion. 

Setting SMART goals gives you a clear target and an expected end. On the other hand, stretch goals are visionary, serving as a guiding ‘north star’ to inspire and motivate teams towards high performance.

When it comes to stretch goals, they are meant to challenge employees and teams pushing them beyond their comfort zone. It takes creative thinking and problem-solving to achieve a stretch goal. You can break it down into a series of smaller, achievable SMART goals that contribute to the progress of the larger end goal. 

How to implement effective stretch goals?

There’s the stretch goal paradox where setting effective stretch goals is challenging

If they’re too difficult, employees can start to become unmotivated and burned out. And if they are not ambitious enough, they won’t push them or drive growth. Stretch goals are best used when employees or teams are on a high-performance streak with sufficient resources, not when morale is low or current goals aren’t being met. 

This brings us to tips on how to implement effective stretch goals: 

  1. Involve your team when setting goals

We believe that stretch goals should be a collective effort, not just an instructed directive. Involving your employees and team in the goal-setting process will make them motivated and invested in achieving the goal. It’s also an opportunity to ask for their perspectives, knowledge, creativity, and ideas and use them.

You can have a team workshop or brainstorming session to discuss and define the stretch goal. Open-ended questions like “What’s the most ambitious outcome we could achieve?” or “What would make the biggest impact on our business? can also prompt them to think deeply and share their ideas.

  1. Break down large goals

It can be overwhelming if stretch goals are too broad or vague. The right thing is to break them down into smaller, manageable objectives that are challenging but achievable. Doing this will give your team or employee a clear roadmap for achieving the goal and keep them focused.

For example, if your team’s stretch goal is to “improve customer experience by 50% in 3 months,” break it down into smaller chunks like:

  • Conduct customer surveys and feedback sessions within the next 4 weeks
  • Develop a new customer relationship management system within 3 weeks 
  • Launch a pilot program for personalized customer engagement within 5 weeks

These smaller objectives are still challenging but can still provide a clear direction for your team and help in monitoring your key performance indicators (KPIs).

  1. Provide resources and support needed

Stretch goals sometimes require new skills, knowledge, or tools. Providing your team with access to the necessary resources and support to succeed is needed for the effectiveness of the goal. 

The resources and support can be: 

  • Financial resources like extensive budgets
  • Human resources
  • Leadership support
  • Mentorship
  • Informational resources such as training and workshops
  • Feedback and guidance
  • Recognition and rewards
  • Technological needs like relevant software or hardware

For a more practical example, assume that your marketing team sets a stretch goal to increase social media engagement by 500% within the next 6 months. To provide resources and support needed, you can choose to:

  • Allocate $10,000 for social media advertising and content creation tools
  • Hire a social media specialist to join the team
  • Provide training on social media analytics and content creation
  • Offer regular feedback and guidance from the VP of marketing or Head of Marketing
  • Celebrate milestones, such as reaching 10,000 followers or achieving a 20% engagement rate
  1. Embrace failure as learning

As we’ve discussed, a stretch goal is not created as a mandatory achievement, failure is a natural part of the process. You should teach your employees and teams to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than a discouragement.

If your customer support team’s goal for personalized customer engagement doesn’t yield the expected results, you can use it as a chance to:

  • Analyze what went wrong and areas for improvement
  • Refine the approach and try again
  • Celebrate the effort and progress made, and recognize the team’s willingness to take risks

This will help keep your team motivated rather than just sulking over not achieving the set goal or objective and key results (OKRs)

Unlocking Peak Performance with Omni

stretch goals

Setting stretch goals serve as a powerful framework for obtaining organizational objectives, offering a structured approach to measuring progress and achieving goals. 

In today’s dynamic work environment, the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) has become indispensable in effectively managing and aligning these goals. 

Omni’s all-in-one employee management software empowers managers and People leaders to leverage automation, digitizing the people management process. Set and track employee stretch goals, performance review cycles, and gain real-time, actionable insights on employee performance in one, easy-to-use platform.

Book a demo with our team today to learn more about how Omni can help you transform your business and help your teams achieve their stretch goals.

OKRs for HR: Samples and Guide

Effective goal-setting (and goal follow through) are foundational for the success of every organization. That’s where Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) come in—they’re a relatively new tactic to set and achieve goals, with transparency and effective measurement. 

But they’re not just useful for Sales and creative departments. OKRs for HR professionals can help transform your Human Resources team from a purely administrative department into a serious strategic partner.

Here’s what you need to know about OKRs, how to implement them for your HR team, and the impact they can have on your organization: 

What are OKRs for HR?

We’ve written about OKRs a few times before, and for good reason. Originally popularized by Intel and later adopted by companies like Google, OKRs provide one of the most effective frameworks for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes.

For HR professionals, OKRs offer a structured approach to aligning day-to-day HR initiatives with top-down organizational goals so that they ultimately work together towards strategic success. Unlike older styles of performance metrics, OKRs put extra emphasis on transparency, alignment, and accountability, helping you and your HR team focus on short and long term priorities while accurately measuring their impact on business success.

OKRs can encompass a wide range of HR objectives, from talent acquisition and employee engagement to diversity and inclusion initiatives. They provide HR professionals with a clear roadmap for improving key areas of the employee lifecycle and driving organizational growth. By setting ambitious yet achievable objectives and tracking progress with measurable key results, your team can drive continuous improvement and show just how valuable HR can be as a strategic partner to leadership.

How are OKRs for HR Used By Organizations?

OKRs for HR serve as a powerful tool for aligning human resources initiatives with broader business objectives and driving strategic outcomes. Here’s how they are typically used:

Alignment with organizational goals: OKRs for HR should be aligned with the overall strategic objectives of your organization. By setting HR goals that directly contribute to the company’s mission, vision, and company values, your HR team can ensure that their efforts are focused on activities that drive business success—and that this contribution can be measured.

Setting priorities: OKRs help HR teams prioritize their initiatives and allocate resources effectively. By identifying key areas of focus and setting clear objectives, you can ensure that your efforts are directed towards the activities that have the greatest positive impact.

Measuring performance: OKRs provide a framework for measuring the success of HR initiatives and tracking progress over time. By defining specific key results that clearly indicate your progress towards the strategic goals you’ve set, your team can monitor its performance and make data-driven decisions to update and modify its strategy as needed.

Driving accountability: With OKRs for HR, you can create a culture of accountability within your team. By assigning ownership of specific objectives and key results to individuals or smaller teams, you can make sure that everyone is responsible for contributing to the achievement of the main goals at your organization.

Continuous improvement: OKRs promote a culture of continuous improvement within the HR function. By regularly reviewing progress against objectives and key results, HR teams can identify areas for optimization and adjust their strategies accordingly to drive better outcomes.

By leveraging OKRs effectively, your HR department can optimize their efforts and work in the most effective, efficient, and transparent way to high-level organizational goals.

Benefits of Setting OKRs

Setting OKRs for HR allows you to enhance the effectiveness of your projects, advance day-to-day priorities all while driving meaningful impact within your organization. Here are some key benefits:

OKRs for HR

HR Professionals

Strategic alignment: As mentioned above, OKRs align HR initiatives with broader organizational goals and strategic objectives. By setting HR-specific objectives that directly contribute to your company’s mission and vision, you and your HR team can ensure that your efforts are perfectly in step with the overall direction of the business. Not only that, demonstrating this alignment and transparently working towards holistic goals gives your HR team an important seat at the strategy-making table.

Improved focus and clarity: OKRs for HR provide you with clear priorities and objectives, helping you focus your efforts on activities that have the greatest impact. By defining specific objectives and key results, your HR team can gain clarity on what needs to be achieved first and foremost, and can direct their resources towards achieving those goals before adding additional tasks or priorities onto their plate.

Data-driven decision making: OKRs promote data-driven decision-making within the HR function. By setting measurable key results that indicate progress towards objectives, HR professionals can track performance, analyze trends, and make informed decisions based on objective data rather than subjective opinions.

Enhanced communication and collaboration: You can facilitate better communication and collaboration among your team and across departments with OKRs for HR. By aligning objectives with teams from across your organization and sharing key results transparently, you can create a culture of collaboration, making sure everyone is working towards common goals and objectives.

Increased motivation and engagement: Setting OKRs can increase employee motivation and engagement for you and your team by offering clear goals and objectives to work towards. When people understand how their work contributes to the organization’s success and see their progress towards achieving their goals, they are more motivated and engaged in their work.

The Organization

OKRs for HR aren’t just good for human resources—effectively implemented, their downstream effects will be a boost to any organization’s bottom line. This includes:

Improved employee performance: By setting clear objectives and key results aligned with organizational goals, OKRs for HR help improve employee performance. When your HR team understands what is expected of them and how their work contributes to overall success, they are more motivated to perform at their best.

Learn more: A Guide to Mastering Performance Management

Enhanced talent acquisition: Organizations with well-defined OKRs and foster a culture of goal-setting are more attractive to top talent. A defined vision and purpose make it easier to attract and hire the best candidates.

Reduced talent costs: Effective OKRs for HR can lead to reduced turnover in the department and increased employee retention. When employees are engaged, motivated, and aligned with organizational goals, they are less likely to leave the company, reducing cost of recruitment, onboarding process, and training new employees, and maintaining an unbroken chain of organizational and personnel knowledge in your HR department.

Stronger employer brand: Organizations that set and achieve meaningful OKRs are seen as more successful and desirable places to work. A strong track record of goal achievement can enhance your organization’s reputation as an employer of choice, leading to increased interest from potential candidates and improved employer branding.

Increased profitability: Ultimately, the successful implementation of OKRs should drive increased profitability for your organization. By aligning HR efforts with strategic objectives, your organization can improve efficiency, productivity, and performance, leading to higher revenues and a better bottom line.

HR OKR Examples

Now that we’ve made it clear what OKRs for HR means and why they’re important for HR professionals and the organization, it’s time to dive into exactly what those OKRs might look like. Here are a few examples of what how an OKR might look at your organization:

For company culture

Objective: Foster a positive and inclusive company culture.

Key Results:

  • Increase employee satisfaction scores by 10% in the annual engagement survey.
  • Launch three company-wide culture initiatives focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Achieve a Glassdoor rating of 4.5 stars or higher based on employee reviews.

For employee engagement

Objective: Improve employee engagement and morale.

Key Results:

  • Increase employee participation in company-sponsored events by 20%.
  • Implement regular pulse surveys to measure employee satisfaction and engagement, with a target score of 80%.
  • Reduce employee turnover rate by 15% compared to the previous year.

For recruitment

Objective: Attract and hire top talent efficiently.

Key Results:

  • Decrease time-to-hire for key positions by 20%.
  • Increase the diversity of the candidate pool by implementing targeted recruitment strategies.
  • Achieve a candidate satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5 based on post-interview feedback.

For employee retention

Objective: Improve employee retention rates.

Key Results:

  • Reduce voluntary turnover rate by 10% within the next six months.
  • Implement retention initiatives such as career development programs and mentorship opportunities.
  • Conduct exit interviews with departing employees to identify trends and areas for improvement.

For employee wellness

Objective: Promote employee health and well-being.

Key Results:

  • Increase participation in wellness programs by 25%.
  • Reduce absenteeism rates by 15% through wellness initiatives and incentives.
  • Implement flexible work arrangements to support work-life balance.

For performance management

Objective: Enhance performance management processes.

Key Results:

  • Implement a new performance management system and train managers on its use.
  • Increase the frequency of performance feedback sessions to bi-monthly for all employees.
  • Improve the completion rate of performance evaluations to 100%.

For training and development

Objective: Invest in employee growth and development.

Key Results:

  • Increase participation in training programs by 30%.
  • Develop individualized development plans for all employees based on their career goals and aspirations.
  • Achieve a 90% satisfaction rate among employees who participate in training and development activities.

For ensuring compliance

Objective: Ensure compliance with relevant labor laws and regulations.

Key Results:

  • Conduct regular audits to ensure HR policies and practices align with legal requirements.
  • Provide ongoing training to HR staff and managers on compliance-related topics.
  • Achieve a 100% compliance rate with all labor laws and regulations.

Grow Your HR Team with Omni

OKRs for HR

OKRs offer a powerful framework for HR to align employee goals with organizational objectives, increasing employee performance and engagement. OKR software can streamline the process, making it easier for HR to set, track, and manage objectives, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability. 

Omni’s performance management system powers your business with access to reports and analytics that provide valuable insights for measuring key results. Easily set, track, and measure OKRs across your teams within one, intuitive dashboard. 

To learn more about how Omni can help you unlock your business’ potential, schedule a demo with our team today.

Read next: OKR Software Comparison Guide 2024

OKR Software Comparison Guide 2024

Fortune Business Insights forecasts that “the global OKR software market size is projected to grow from $1.15 billion in 2023 to $2.98 billion by 2030, at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 14.6% during the forecast period.” 

The Asia Pacific region is expected to experience the fastest growth in the global market, surpassing America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This growth is attributed to the increase in startups within the region. The increasing adoption of technology, including OKR management tools, enables companies to collect data and monitor performance effectively.

Companies of all sizes in countries like India, China, and Japan are also investing more in OKR software to enhance strategic operations. If you’re seeking the best OKR management tools for your business, this OKR software comparison guide will assist you in making an informed decision.

What is an OKR Management Tool?

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. Objectives are the goals you have for the company, and key results are the strategies you employ to reach these objectives. You can use the key results to measure your success level for your company goals.

While you can manage OKR via regular collaboration tools, OKR management tools facilitate this by giving you a time-tested framework. Plus, they go beyond goal setting to boost communication, teamwork, and organization.

You can use OKR tools instead of or alongside regular collaboration tools to support your organization. This way, your team members will be focused on company goals.

Read next: Modern Companies Need Performance Management System Software, Here’s What to Look For

Criteria for a Good OKR Management Tool

OKR management tools

Understanding the criteria for OKR management tools helps you understand how we’ve created this OKR software comparison and even create your own based on what you value most. 

Goal and Objective Management

Do the OKR management tools you’re considering help you manage your business goals? Which features support that? Think of aspects like key result tracking, goal setting and alignment with OKRs, scorecards, and monthly or quarterly reviews of your OKRs.

Furthermore, high-level OKR tools should be able to spot bumps from a mile away, enabling you to provide your team with the needed resources and support. They should also align organizational goals with individual or team goals so that everyone understands how they fit into the bigger picture.

Add to that regular nudges to keep employees focused on your company goals, and you’ll enjoy the improved goal visibility and urgency of OKR management tools.

Usability and Collaboration

You can run an OKR software comparison by seeing how well OKR tools support usability and collaboration. Make sure the software’s collaborative features support your business needs and goals.

Features to look for in OKR tools include integrated boards, collaborating on meeting agendas, sharing items and notes, and shareable dashboards to track progress. Not to mention, OKR management tools should support integrations with collaborative software tools.

Overall, one of the key requirements for OKR tools is to give your workers a positive, hassle-free user experience, regardless of the user device and degree of digital literacy. So, are the OKR management tools you’re considering easy to use with engaging interfaces?

Data and Analytics

A key to goal management is real-time progress tracking. You need up-to-date data and analytics on progress and relevant variables from OKR management tools.

With such data, you can see how well you’re doing, remain aligned with the objectives, and adapt to changes via timely insights. On top of that, the visual displays on dashboards make the data easy to digest.

Consider whether the OKR management tools in your OKR software comparison harnesses automation and supports streamlined data collection, meeting-ready reports, frequent reviews, and easy data exportation. Of course, you also want OKR management tools that keep your company data confidential and comply with data protection laws.

Additional Considerations

With that said, there are some less obvious considerations that’ll help you invest in the right OKR management tools and put together a balanced OKR software comparison.

Pricing

Making an OKR software comparison with the necessary functions for your business can help you stay within budget when you pick OKR management tools. Also, look for OKR tools with transparent pricing and no hidden charges.

Implementation and Support

An OKR comparison tool should show how easy OKR tools are to set up and add new users to these platforms. OKR management tools should have a clear layout and instructions and a solid, responsive customer support team by developers. They should understand the OKR software and strategy building; after all, it’s the people who design strategies (not the tools).

Customer Reviews

Naturally, user feedback in the form of customer reviews and ratings is informative and helpful in an OKR software comparison. It might inform you of any blindspots, how usable the OKR tools are, and how responsive the support teams are.

5 OKR Management Tools For 2024

OKR management tools

Based on the criteria mentioned above, we have created an OKR software comparison guide for your reference and determine which OKR management tools accommodate your business needs the best. 

Omni HR

Omni HR is an all-in-one HRIS platform that frees HR teams from administrative cycles by automating the entire end-to-end employee lifecycle—from recruitment and onboarding to employee engagement and payroll—allowing you to redirect your time to strategic work that drives business growth.

As one of the best OKR management tools, Omni’s intuitive performance management module provides advanced analytics, real-time insights, and streamlined processes. With Omni, set and track employee goals, performance review cycles, and access real-time actionable insights on employee performance in one, easy-to-use platform. 

Features: 

  • OKR customization for your unique business needs
  • Setting and tracking employee goals in real-time
  • Run performance review cycles on autopilot
  • Flexible performance cycles setup
  • Built-in templates and best practices
  • Customized OKR review forms
  • Real-time actionable insights and analytics
  • Seamless integrations with your team’s favorite tools and softwares
  • Dedicated customer support with quick turnaround

Suitable for: 

Omni HR is suitable for modern and growing businesses looking to automate OKR management with seamless integrations with existing workflows, real-time actionable insights and customization. With our dedicated customer support with quick turnaround time, your business is in good hands. 

Profit.co

Profit.co is a user-friendly OKR management tool. It combines OKR defining, tracking, and alignment with performance management, task management, and team engagement. In that sense, the platform supports organizational growth.

This OKR tool guides you through a Plan-Execute-Engage-Learn cycle. You can set customized OKRs, track them easily, use collaborative features to boost engagement levels, and use the tool’s generated data to learn and fine-tune the process.

Not to mention, Profit.co has integrations with Slack, HubSpot, Jira, Salesforce, and Microsoft Teams. If that isn’t enough, it allows you to customize integrations. The one drawback is that this software can be too complex for small teams.

Features:

  • Real-time progress tracking for organizational and individual goal alignment
  • Weekly informed check-ins to keep company goals at the forefront
  • Consistent performance monitoring for team workflow management
  • Skills and talent evaluation to streamline project execution
  • Collaborative features for higher engagement levels
  • Integrated with Slack, HubSpot, Jira, Salesforce, and Microsoft Teams

Suitable For:

Profit.co is one of the OKR management tools designed for not-so-small teams with employees who aren’t tech-savvy.

Weekdone

Weekdone is one of the notable OKR management tools in our OKR software comparison for weekly performance management. With its help, you can set and customize your structured goals and track them with constant pulse insights.

You can define, oversee, and align tasks and objectives and improve company-wide communication. We should also mention the platform’s support of quarterly OKR management and team collaboration on goals.

However, you can’t use Weekdone to establish mission or vision statements, and you can’t put together a competitive analysis. KPI tracking and OKR management are somewhat limited here compared to the others.

Features:

  • Visual dashboard to facilitate data consumption, share progress, and enable collaboration
  • Employee feedback support to enhance employee satisfaction
  • One-on-one sessions and OKR customization for effective OKR defining and tracking
  • Weekly plan tracking and quarterly OKR refresh tool to monitor real-time progress
  • Team planning support
  • Webinar resources and OKR training courses
  • OKR experts for assistance with the onboarding process

Suitable For:

Weekdone supports small and mid-sized businesses. It enables you to put together well-structured OKRs and oversee performance weekly.

ClickUp

Next on our OKR software comparison guide is ClickUp – a OKR management tool for businesses of varying sizes.

Its OKR framework template helps with goal setting, real-time tracking, goal alignment, and identifying potential obstacles. Accordingly, you can set and achieve SMART goals conveniently. Additionally, ClickUp comes with three different plans, accommodating your budget.

Its main drawback in our OKR software comparison is that, unlike some other OKR tools, ClickUp doesn’t support data exportation. It also isn’t the best for project feedback collection.

Features:

  • Weekly scorecards to divide big goals into smaller objectives for each week
  • Folders collecting weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for easy access
  • Real-time progress tracking and comparison to overall objectives for easy performance management.
  • Setting priorities so that employees know which tasks to start with
  • Numerous project use
  • Unlimited users allowed with the free version for all company sizes

Suitable For:

ClickUp works for everything from a startup to a big enterprise. It’s handy if you’re struggling to set, break up, assign, or manage tasks that serve organizational goals.

Viva Goals(Ally.io)

Microsoft contributes to OKR tools with its software solution, Viva Goals. Like other tools in our OKR software comparison, it aligns team and employee goals with organizational objectives, helping you identify complications in real time, notify teams automatically, and meet your business goals.

This solution is one of the OKR management tools that feature integrations with numerous tools, including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Asana, and Salesforce.

Not to mention, the dedicated support, training for managers and employees of all levels, and program and implementation support management. All of these features facilitate incorporating the tool into your daily processes without undermining productivity.

However, unlike other tools in this OKR software comparison, Viva Goals is not easy to set up, and its user interface takes some getting used to.

Features:

  • Goal alignment with organizational goals
  • Real-time problem identification
  • Automatic team notifications
  • Integrations with other platforms, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Asana, Salesforce, and Bamboo HR
  • Company-wide training
  • Dedicated and responsive support team

Suitable For:

Viva Goals is the OKR management tool for you if you run a big enterprise or a smaller but fast-growing business. It’s also perfect if your team isn’t very tech-savvy and needs detailed instructions for using OKR tools.

Read next: Your Guide to Successfully Pitching HR Software to Leadership

Achieve Strategic Growth with Seamless OKR Management

OKRs are one of the most effective frameworks for establishing business goals, and developing a sustainable tracking system will help your organization efficiently implement and sustain OKR goal setting for your entire business. 

Integrating OKR management tools with HRIS can further enhance their effectiveness. Omni’s performance management system powers your business with access to reports and analytics that provide valuable insights for measuring key results. Easily set, track, and measure OKRs across your teams within one, intuitive dashboard. 

To learn more about how Omni can help significantly improve organizational goal-setting and performance management processes, ultimately leading to better outcomes and success for your business, schedule a demo with our team today!

How OKRs Can Revolutionize Your Workplace Culture

Workplace culture has become a buzzword in recent years, and for good reason.

The data makes it clear — companies with strong cultures have lower turnover rates, higher productivity, and increased profitability. A positive work environment will lead to happier employees who are more engaged and motivated to do their best work.

But what exactly makes up a strong workplace culture? At its core, a strong culture is defined by employees who feel connected to the work they do and the organization they work for.

There’s many routes you can take to achieve this sense of connection. Some classic approaches include clear communication, strong leadership, and a sense of purpose. But as workplace culture evolves, new techniques and strategies are arising to enhance this culture. Nowadays, leadership teams are turning to goal setting to engage their employees and foster a sense of connection between role responsibilities and greater purpose.

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), are a goal-setting framework touted by some of the biggest companies (notably in tech), including Google. OKRs are a simple and effective way to get an entire organization on the same page, and work towards achieving a common set of objectives.

Here, we’ll take a look at what OKRs are, how they compare to other goal-setting frameworks, the potential benefits OKRs could offer your company culture, and how to implement them.

What are OKRs and How Do They Compare to Other Goal-setting Methods?

As we mentioned above, OKRs are a framework for setting and tracking goals. But OKRs are specifically designed to focus efforts, and generate collective goal achievements so organizations can effectively advance to their most important objectives. There are two parts to the OKR structure: Objectives and Key Results.

OKRs explained

Objectives are specific and measurable goals that are set by an individual or team. When we say measurable, it has to be something that can be tracked, iterated and improved on — something not always easy to establish. These objectives are meant to be ambitious and should ladder up to the overall goals of the organization.

Key Results are the measurable outcomes that need to be achieved to accomplish your objectives. Like the objectives, key results should be specific, measurable, and achievable. Achievable being key here — ambition is welcome in the OKR framework, but shouldn’t prevent establishing realistic objectives and key results.

The fundamentals of OKRs might sound pretty basic, but they differ from other goal-setting methods in several ways.

OKRs vs. KPIs

okrs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), are metrics that track the performance of a business or a specific process. While KPIs are useful for monitoring progress, they don’t always help entire organizations set goals or define their strategy. Instead, KPIs tend to focus on very specific metrics and targets within a particular area (be it a team or an individual contributor), and can’t capture the full breadth of goals and strategic alignment required for your entire organization.

Contrast that with OKRs, which are designed to help organizations set clear and measurable goals that are aligned with their overall strategy. KPIs don’t have the “big picture” impact OKRs offer.

OKRs vs. SMART goals

okrs

SMART goals are another popular goal-setting framework. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

We’ve written about SMART goals before, and it’s clear they’re useful for setting specific and achievable goals, but don’t necessarily help organizations align their goals with their overall strategy (this is a recurring theme among other goal-setting frameworks). Similar to KPIs, SMART goals lack the comprehensive alignment and strategic focus of OKRs. SMART goals focus on individual or departmental objectives, lacking the cascading and alignment across teams and the whole organization.

Benefits of OKRs on Company Culture

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If your organization decides to leverage OKR goal setting, you stand to realize a significant positive impact on your company culture. Let’s take a look at some examples of the benefits of using OKRs.

Increased engagement

When employees understand their role in achieving your organization’s objectives, they become more engaged and motivated to contribute. It snaps employees out of the “assembly line worker” mindset, where they’re only focused on the minutiae of their daily tasks, and provides a sense of the greater goal of the company, and how their work contributes to achieving that goal.

OKRs also provide a clear roadmap for employees to follow, which helps them stay focused on the most important tasks without distraction.

Increased alignment

OKRs help organizations align their goals and objectives across different departments and teams. When everyone is working towards a shared objective, there’s much less confusion and conflict, which leads to a more cohesive and productive work environment.

Another benefit of this approach is improved camaraderie across departments, something that also has a major impact on employee morale and the perception of your company culture.

Increased transparency

Having a clear view of the work you’re doing and the results you’re aiming for means you can make decisions that accurately advance towards your organization’s goals.

OKRs offer this transparency, and when everyone is aware of the organization’s priorities, it becomes easier to make decisions that are aligned with the overall strategy holistically, not simply at the individual level.

Increased accountability

OKRs create a sense of accountability among employees. When everyone is working towards a common set of objectives, there’s a greater sense of responsibility and ownership over their work.

This facilitates a culture of “self management” — employees will proactively work towards the most important goals without the need for managerial intervention. Less micromanagement boosts employee morale and frees up leadership’s valuable time.

Continuous improvement

One of the most unique parts of OKRs is that they’re specifically designed to be dynamic and flexible. This means that they can be updated and adjusted as your organization’s priorities change, which allows for continuous improvement and ensures that everyone is always working towards the objectives which offer the best outcome for your organization.

How to Implement OKRs to Transform Your Company Culture

Implementing OKRs can lead to significant improvements in company culture and performance, which is why so many major companies have adopted the framework. Follow these steps to introduce OKRs to your management strategy.

Define your organization’s objectives

The first step in implementing OKRs is to define your organization’s objectives. These objectives need to be clear, measurable, and aligned with a broad, holistic strategy and vision. Once you’ve defined your overarching objectives, you can begin to break them down into individual team or department goals. Sharing in this clear vision makes every team member feel the satisfaction of working towards a common goal — a huge boon to your culture.

Set team or department objectives

To realize this cultural growth, you also need to get tactical at a smaller scale. Goals at the team and individual level are approached the same way they are at higher levels, just with a more laser-focused approach, tailored to the team or person setting out to achieve them.

Like all parts of the OKR strategy, these objectives should be aligned with the organization’s overall objectives and should be specific, measurable, and achievable.

Define key results

For each team or department objective, define the key results that need to be achieved to accomplish the objective. Remember — specificity is incredibly important here. Any vaguery can lead to confusion and cause teams to work in the wrong direction, which can derail goals across the company. By facilitating focus, you’ll give your employees a better chance at achieving their goals, and the positive feelings that come with it.

Assign ownership

OKRs rely on defined owners for objectives. Assign ownership of each objective and key result to a specific individual or team, so that they can take clear responsibility for driving results.

This ensures that everyone knows who is responsible for achieving each objective and key result, and if pivots are required it can be dealt with at a granular level.

Review and adjust

As we mentioned above, OKRs aren’t set in stone — and that’s on purpose. This flexibility encourages regular reviews and adjustments as needed. Regular reviews ensure that your organization is staying on track and all teams are making progress towards its main objectives.

Aligning OKRs to Your Business Strategy

One of the keys to successfully implementing OKRs is to ensure that they are aligned with your business strategy. This comes down to a matter of prioritization — consider what the most important, time sensitive and impactful goals are for your company, and prioritize defining your OKRs around those objectives first.

When aligning your OKRs to your business strategy, consider the following:

Define your long-term vision

Your long-term vision should be the guiding force behind your OKRs, the North Star that your organization is working towards. By keeping your vision long term, rather than solely focusing on quarterly goals, you’ll set your organization up for long-term success.

Identify your most important priorities

After defining your long-term vision, identify the most important priorities that will help you achieve that vision. These priorities should be the core focus of your OKRs.

Break down your objectives

Break down your main objectives into smaller, more specific goals that are aligned with your most important priorities. All smaller goals should ladder up directly to supporting the greater strategy.

Define your key results

For each objective, define the key results that need to be achieved to accomplish the objective. Again — as we’ve said before, these key results should be specific, measurable, and achievable. That’s the crux of OKR effectiveness.

Assign ownership

Assign ownership of each objective and key result to a specific individual or team. This ensures that everyone knows who is responsible for achieving each objective and key result.

FAQ: How Many OKRs Should I Set?

One of the most common questions about OKRs is how many objectives should be set. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, it’s generally recommended that organizations set no more than 5-7 objectives per quarter. This ensures that your organization is focused on its most important priorities and that employees aren’t being asked to go in too many directions at once.

5 Team-Specific OKR Examples

Different departments will approach OKRs in different ways that best support their unique goals and responsibilities.

From Sales and Marketing to Operations, Customer Success, and IT, we’ll take a look at how these teams can define Key Results to drive growth, engagement, and efficiency. This way, you’ll get a clear picture of how OKRs can be tailored to suit different teams and contribute to overall success.

Sales

Objective: Increase revenue by 20% in Q2.

Key Results:

  • Sign 10 new clients in Q2.
  • Increase average deal size by 15% in Q2.
  • Increase conversion rate by 10% in Q2.

Marketing

Objective: Increase website traffic by 30% in Q2.

Key Results:

  • Publish 10 new blog posts in Q2.
  • Increase social media engagement by 20% in Q2.
  • Run 3 successful email marketing campaigns in Q2.

Operations

Objective: Improve product quality in Q2.

Key Results:

  • Reduce product defects by 15% in Q2.
  • Implement a new quality control process by the end of Q2.
  • Conduct customer satisfaction surveys and achieve a score of at least 9 out of 10 in Q2.

Customer Success

Objective: Increase customer retention by 10% in Q2.

Key Results:

  • Conduct customer satisfaction surveys and achieve a score of at least 8 out of 10 in Q2.
  • Implement a new customer feedback system by the end of Q2.
  • Reduce customer churn rate by 5% in Q2.

IT

Objective: Improve system uptime in Q2.

Key Results:

  • Implement a new monitoring system by the end of Q2.
  • Reduce mean time to resolution for system issues by 50% in Q2.
  • Achieve system uptime of at least 99.9% in Q2.

Unlock a Culture of Excellence With OKRs

In a world where workplace culture can make or break an organization’s success, OKRs represent a powerful tool to revolutionize your company’s trajectory. By embracing this dynamic goal-setting framework and aligning it with your business strategy, you open the door to a culture of excellence, collaboration, and continuous growth.

Omni allows managers and People leaders to leverage the power of automation to digitize the people management process. Set and track employee goals, performance review cycles, and access real-time actionable insights on employee performance in one, easy-to-use platform.

Book a demo with our team today to learn more about how Omni can help you transform your company culture and help your teams achieve their performance goals.

OKR Goal Setting: The Easy-to-Follow Guide to OKRs

Setting clear goals and measuring progress is crucial for any business to engage employees and reach desirable outcomes. OKRs allow managers to provide a framework for setting goals, aligning teams, and driving focus and accountability. Used by some of the world’s biggest companies, (we’re looking at you Google and Netflix) OKRs have proven to be a powerful tool for achieving business success. Here, we dive into everything you need to know to implement and manage OKRs for your business.

What Are OKRs?

OKRs (objectives and key results) are a goal setting framework that helps organizations to define measurable goals — or objectives —  and track their outcomes. The framework is designed to help businesses establish ambitious goals in a short period of time.

The formula for OKR goal setting is made up of 2 parts: objectives and key results.

  • Objectives are what you want to achieve. These should be motivating and inspiring goals, think big when setting your objectives!
  • Key results are how you will reach your achievement. More specifically, key results are the ways in which you will measure if you’ve achieved your objective.

Each objective should have 2-5 key results, and each key result should include a number (something to measure).

OKR goal setting

OKRs vs SMART Goals

OKRs and SMART goals are both systems used to track and measure progress and are useful tools in helping drive business outcomes. But the two methods have some key differences that set them apart.

OKR goal setting encourages people to aim for the best possible outcome when setting team goals and objectives. The purpose of this approach isn’t actually to achieve a 100% completion rate — reaching 60-80% is the sweet spot.

SMART goals, on the other hand, help you set specific goals that are far more realistic.

Some additional key differences between OKRs and SMART goals are:

  • OKRs are best for achieving long-term goals, whereas SMART goals are more suitable for short-term and smaller projects. That’s because OKRs are set up to help you achieve bigger-picture objectives, while SMART goals are built to reach targets that are achievable within shorter timeframes.
  • OKRs are meant to be flexible, which means they can adjust with your priorities, while SMART goals are more fixed because of their short-term nature.
  • OKRs are effective for achieving multi-metric goals because you can use your key results to focus on multiple initiatives at once. SMART goals, however, are more suitable for single-metric targets.

Here’s an example of an OKR vs a SMART goal:

  • OKR:
    • Objective: Create the best customer experience
    • Key Results: 
      • Key Result 1: Reduce average customer response time to less than 24 hours to improve customer satisfaction
      • Key Result 2: Achieve a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 80, which increases the likelihood of referrals and brand loyalty
      • Key Result 3: Conduct regular check-ins with at least 90% of customers per quarter to identify and address issues and provide proactive support
  • SMART Goal: Improve customer satisfaction by 20% over the next 6 months by reducing the average customer response time to less than 24 hours by the end of Q3.

Benefits of OKR Goal Setting for Businesses

Structureless goal setting usually takes place at the beginning of the year, when companies set high-level organizational goals and then forget about them a month or so later. This is why applying a framework to goal setting is so important.

OKR goal setting creates a structure for goals to be identified, measured, and worked towards. Here are the top 4 benefits of OKR goal setting for business.

Aligns employees with broader company goals

Once OKRs are set, managers and employees tie their day-to-day activities to the organization’s company-wide vision, creating alignment that boosts performance, and increases employee engagement.

Boosts productivity

OKRs provide a clear direction for the team and individuals to work towards as well as a framework for accountability. This clarity helps individuals prioritize their work and stay focused on the goals they’ve set. In fact, research has found teams that consistently use OKRs experience an increase in overall employee performance by 15.5%.

Provides clear direction

By setting specific, measurable key results, individuals and teams have a clear understanding of what success looks like and can track their progress toward achieving the objective. This clarity helps prevent individuals from getting distracted by less important tasks and ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals.

Increases insight and transparency

Every employee has access to your organization’s OKRs, which brings about transparency that makes employees understand what they are working towards – and how their daily efforts are making a difference. And once you have clear directives, management is more equipped to assess their team’s effectiveness.

How to Set and Track OKRs

The process of OKR goal setting should be thought of in 2 parts, identifying objectives and then setting key results.

Let’s take a look at best practices for identifying objectives to start:

  • First, you want to encourage your team to think big when establishing OKRs. Remember, OKRs should be aspirational so don’t shy away from ambitious targets.
  • Next, hold a brainstorming session where your team can establish which goals will have the most impact in the next quarter. Consider posing a question like, “what are the most important impacts we need to make in the coming quarter?” to get the conversation started.
  • Ensure your objectives are tied to larger company goals
  • Explain what you’re looking to improve in brief, descriptive language that identifies the qualities you want to achieve
  • Remember to keep it simple, don’t set too many objectives or key results, so your team doesn’t lose focus or get overwhelmed.

Now, let’s talk about how to go about setting your key results:

  • Avoid turning your key results into a to-do list, instead focus on the outcomes related to business priorities. In other words, explain how certain tasks will produce desired results.
  • Create an objective way to assess success by assigning a measurable  component to your key result
  • Aim to set 2-5 key results per objective, no more than that
  • Each key result should also have an owner on the team — that person is responsible for tracking progress and finding ways to achieve the desired outcome.

Finally, let’s look at how to effectively track OKRs

  • For starters, you should always store and document your OKRs to monitor goal progress, increase transparency and accountability, and keep your objectives top of mind
  • Assign percentage benchmarks for each key result and use weighted measurements to increase progress tracking accuracy
calculate OKR goal setting progress

Calculating progress is easy when you have measurable key results.

  • Hold regular meetings to discuss progress with OKR stakeholders, this can be a weekly, monthly, or quarterly meeting depending on the scope of the goal
  • Discuss key learnings along the way to what worked best, or why a goal wasn’t achieved and take that into consideration for future work
  • Lastly, remember to celebrate wins both big and small to keep everyone motivated and engaged

5 Examples of OKR Goal Setting

1. Objective: Build a top ranking website
Key Results:
– Improve website loading speed to less than 2 seconds to improve UX
– Increase organic search traffic by 15% through SEO optimization to improve ranking

2. Objective: Deliver a world-class customer support experience
Key Results:
– Decrease first response time from 1 hour to 45 minutes or less
– Resolve 95% of tier-2 support tickets in under 24 hours to reduce customer pain points

3. Objective: Create a flawless product
Key Results:
– Reduce product defects by 20%, minimizing product returns and negative reviews
– Increase the number of positive product reviews by 15% improving brand image and increasing customer satisfaction
– Implement a product testing program by Q3 to ensure product quality before launch

4. Objective: Build an award winning culture
Key Results:
– Maintain an average employee satisfaction score of 8 or higher, increasing retention
– Create & launch new mentorship program by the end of Q3 to nurture talent and strengthen employee buy-in

5. Objective: Deliver a conversion-driving trial experience
Key Results:
– Collect feedback from 75% of users who trial to assess pain points
– Reach a 30% referral rate from trial users, increasing SQLs

Enhance Business Outcomes with Omni

OKRs are one of the most effective frameworks for establishing business goals, and developing a sustainable tracking system will help your organization efficiently implement and sustain OKR goal setting for your entire business.

Omni’s performance management system powers your business with access to reports and analytics that provide valuable insights for measuring key results. Easily set, track, and measure OKRs across your teams within one, intuitive dashboard. To learn more about how Omni can help you unlock your business’ potential, schedule a demo with our team today.

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