OKRs Examples (Definition, Tips, and Steps You Can Use)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 9, 2022

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 use OKRs, or objectives and key results, as a framework to set goals and measure progress. You can use OKRs to develop and enhance employee engagement in attaining specific goals. Learning more about OKRs can help you set and work toward goals and be more effective in your role. In this article, we outline the importance of OKRs, review elements to consider, share steps to help you develop them, provide tips for using OKRs, and discuss OKR examples.

Why is it important to review OKRs examples?

It's important to review OKRs examples to help develop ideas about potential goals to set, to gain insight into the OKRs of competitors, or to learn common OKRs that you can use in your own strategies. OKR is an acronym of objectives and key results, and it considers which goals you want to accomplish and which measures you can use to fulfill those goals. Using OKRs can help you track progress, establish milestones, and increase team engagement.

For example, you can implement an objective to increase sales and your key result can be to improve customer retention by 80%. The OKR for this example might state, I plan to increase sales by improving customer retention by 80%. When you obtain a retention increase of 80%, you know you're closer to accomplishing an increase in sales because more consumers remain loyal to the company and purchase its products.

Elements to consider in OKRs

Objectives can be quantitative, which focuses on numbers and percentages, or qualitative, which refers to a quality that you want to change. Here's a list of information you may want to consider when developing effective OKRs:

Metrics

When establishing your objectives and key results, it's beneficial to identify the metrics you want to track. These metrics provide you with valuable information about the target audience and help you oversee the success of OKRs. For example, if you want to increase the number of visitors to the website, you may want to track metrics like the number of clicks per page. This metric indicates the pages that most interest your target audience. You can then optimize the pages to attract more of the target audience.

Initiatives

Initiatives refer to the tasks that require completion to help you progress in your OKRs. You can determine your initiatives by reviewing your objectives and considering which tasks to prioritize to help the company succeed. For example, if you want to increase the company's sales, you may want to implement initiatives like cold calling in the sales department.

How to develop OKRs

Here's a list of steps that you can take to develop OKRs on your own:

1. Consider the size of objectives and key results

When establishing your goals, objectives, and key results, you may also want to consider the overall size of your goals. It's beneficial to establish challenging goals that encourage creativity among teams while confirming that these goals are realistic. To do this, you can review the company's existing resources, like budgets and available employees, to determine whether the team can successfully accomplish goals within the desired time frame.

Related: SMART Goals: Objectives for Your Career

2. Use binary key results

Binary key results provide you with insight into two different key results, which differ depending on the company's goals and objectives. For example, some companies introduce new measures and outcome predictions, which are binary key results. You can also combine binary key results with counter-metrics, which are criteria that can help you determine when you over-optimize objectives. These metrics often determine whether the accomplishment of company goals has a negative impact on other aspects of the company. For example, you can use counter metrics to determine whether an expansion of particular projects might negatively impact the company's finances.

3. Use tracking systems

When using key results, it's beneficial to use different methods to track progress, such as dashboards, which visualize data in easy-to-understand graphs and charts. Some companies use spreadsheets to track this progress. You can also use forecasted or predicted numbers when calculating and managing metrics related to company operations.

Tips for using OKRs

Here are several tips you can review to implement successful OKRs:

Develop your objectives

You can obtain valuable insight into the company by choosing appropriate OKRs that support organizational goals. When developing objectives, you can also use this as an opportunity to communicate with team members and upper management to discuss company goals. Collaborating with others also helps you assess and prepare for potential obstacles because you can ask team members to create risk assessments or if they predict any foreseeable issues.

Obtain feedback from employees at all levels

Company leaders benefit from obtaining feedback from managers within the company and the team members assigned directly to projects. Team members can provide feedback about the feasibility of accomplishing initiatives or suggest different ways to reach key results from their individual experiences. By receiving feedback from all employees, leaders can adjust initiatives and projects depending on the needs and goals of those employees.

Related: How to Give Feedback Constructively in the Workplace

Adjust quickly and appropriately

Using OKRs can help you evaluate your performance and adjust your methods quickly. When errors or obstacles occur, you can adapt the OKRs to fulfill new goals. To do this, you can assess the reason for obstacles occurring and implement strategies and practices that prevent these issues from occurring again.

Develop company-wide support

It may be helpful to encourage everyone in the organization to support the OKR model. To do this, you can discuss the importance of engagement and how this can help both them and the company achieve success. It may also be helpful to meet with all team members to obtain their feedback about the company and identify areas for improvement.

Related: Complete Guide to Objectives for Managers (With Examples)

Frequently asked questions about OKRs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about OKRs:

What if a company doesn't reach its OKRs?

You can usually refer to your goal as a success when you reach 80% completion. If the team exceeds this goal, it indicates success in existing operations. If they don't, you may want to reevaluate the OKRs to determine how you can create more realistic goals and objectives.

What if a company surpasses its OKRs by a significant amount?

If the company surpasses its OKRs significantly, this shows that your team excelled during the quarter or year. You may want to discuss the OKRs with the team to determine whether the goals were too easy or evaluate the operations and strategies that helped create this success. Depending on the feedback, you can create more challenging objectives.

Are OKRs only for upper-level management?

OKRs are for all employees. One of the primary purposes of OKRs is to have simple, clearly defined goals that teams can share company-wide. OKRs can provide all team members with the same objectives to work toward, which creates a cohesive and goal-oriented environment.

What makes a good OKR?

Good OKRs can provide companies with opportunities for meaningful change, significant growth, and improvement. You typically develop strategies for 30 to 90 days to help the team fulfill these objectives. Effective key results often have realistic expectations and deadlines.

Examples of OKRs

Here are a few examples of using OKRs:

Example of OKRs for increasing sales

Below is an example of how a flooring store might use OKRs:

Howard Flooring sells and installs flooring, including carpet, tile, and hardwood. The company sets the objective to boost the sales of all flooring types in quarter one. To meet this objective, the company sets the following key results:

  • Increase carpet sales by 10%.

  • Increase tile sales by 10%.

  • Increase hardwood sales by 10%.

Each flooring department creates initiatives to reach these key results. They include:

  • Increasing the marketing budget by 15% to purchase a premium ad space in the local newspaper

  • Sponsoring a charity 5k race and setting up a booth at the event

  • Canvassing the neighbourhood with 2,000 flyers

After the first quarter, the company compares its sales figures and determines carpet sales increased by 8%, tile sales by 6%, and hardwood sales by 11%. After analysis, the company maintains its objective and key results for quarter two.

Example of OKRs for increasing leads

Below is an example of how a local boutique might use OKRs:

Mia's Boutique is a specialty clothing and gifts store in a busy downtown neighbourhood. The company sets its monthly objective to increase foot traffic by 20%. To meet this objective, the company outlines the following key results:

  • Increase marketing spending by 10% to purchase a new lighted outdoor sign.

  • Place coupons in at least 50% of the businesses within half a mile of the boutique.

  • Hire a sign holder for 18 hours per week.

After one month, the company evaluates its key results and determines foot traffic increased by 8%. The company adjusts its objective to increase foot traffic by 15% for the following month.

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