Last updated 6 May 2022 ·
OKR stands for objectives and key results. It refers to a framework that helps set manageable and measurable goals that cascade throughout a business. The ultimate purpose of OKRs is to ensure success by setting organisational goals and executing strategies effectively at pace.
You can use OKRs, objectives and key results to continually monitor how well you are doing and how fast you are moving towards completing goals, signifying how productive you are in a given time frame. OKRs can also strengthen communication and internal business performance.
The idea is that by completing your key results, you will meet your objectives and ultimately achieve your vision.
When creating an OKR framework, you must answer two questions:
What is your objective? This is usually qualitative and will require actionable strategies. An example objective is “To increase my annual business revenue by 20%”.
What are your key results? Key results are quantitative and easily measured. They serve as metrics to track your progress in achieving goals. You usually evaluate a key result after a set period. An example is “selling 50 T-shirts every week”.
For more examples of OKRs, check out this blog focusing specifically on OKR examples to help you get started.
If you like the idea of implementing OKRs, objectives and key results in your business but aren’t sure where to start, I’ve done some independent research into OKR software tools currently on offer to help you make an informed decision about which may be best for you.
Industry experts recommend using OKR software if your main focus is performance management. Here are my research findings detailing six of the best OKR tools for effective goal-setting and performance management:
OKR tools for effective goal setting
If you want to test OKR software for the first time, Profit.co is one of the recommended software providers. A version of this tool is free for up to 5 users so that you can start your OKR journey with minor risks.
Profit.co focuses on OKRs by adopting the Plan-Execute-Engage-Learn cycle, which runs every quarter of the year. At the start of each quarter, you can plan company goals and align key results.
Key features include:
- Tracks execution of quarterly OKR through weekly check-ins and reviews
- Shows reports on performances at different levels (departmental, team, and individual)
- Facilitates a review system that checks employee performance, progress, and engagement.
- Promotes engagement and collaboration among team members through its “Action Center” platform.
- Allows managers to recognise and reward members for their outstanding work.
- Integrates with popular business applications like Slack, Jira, Salesforce, HubSpot, and Microsoft.
This tool is very customisable and can cater to various organisation set-ups and sizes.
ClickUp is a high-rated OKR tool used by small and large enterprises due to its advanced features. This software allows you to set targets for business-specific operations. These targets can be aligned with your long-term company goals.
ClickUp can do the following:
Create goals and track progress efficiently through the tool’s interface. The goal you set on ClickUp is equivalent to the objective in OKR. You can name your goal and its due date and then connect it to a responsible person. You may include a breakdown of each goal and manage access permissions for team members. You can also organise the goals into different folders.
Set up measurable targets, which are the equivalent to key results in OKR. With this software, you may establish more than one target for each goal. You can name each target and assign a person responsible for it. You can also specify the type of target - number, true/false, currency, and task.
Track targets. You can monitor how well you are accomplishing your targets and related goals. For example, if your target is to sell 20 T-shirts every week, ClickUp will let you know how many you have sold so far.
Like other OKR software, Weekdone allows you to set up objectives with measurable key results. However, what makes Weekdone stand out is its upvote scheme. Members of the team can upvote each other on the designated Leaderboard. This method acknowledges high-performing members and encourages them to keep up their excellent work. Thus, Weekdone’s feedback and recognition scheme are great for boosting team morale.
As the name suggests, Weekdone specialises in tracking activities through weekly check-ins. This strategy aims to build robust connectivity and visibility among team members.
Other features of Weekdone include:
- Goal tracking can be shared with team members.
- Facilitates one-on-one meetings to evaluate and improve individual performance.
If you are looking for an OKR management system that is simple and easy to learn, then Koan is a great choice. Koan allows you to set fixed goals and align them with daily operations. Koan’s strength is its simple interface where teams can set clear and measurable goals. These goals are visible to all team members.
To achieve success, Koan aims to integrate goals with constant reflection. The software promotes developing the habit of reflecting on the work being done. Teams can learn from the status quo, make adjustments, and build better working habits.
Here are the features that Koan is known for:
- Using an API to automate tracking and updating goal metrics like sales revenue and profit margin.
- Its built-in presentation mode letting managers show the latest updates on goals and tasks.
- Customising OKR data and exporting that for assessment purposes.
Engagedly offers what they call a ‘Goal Alignment’ platform. The platform focuses on assessing performance and aligning them to particular goals, or OKRs.
This tool has the ability to:
- Create goals at different levels - organisational, departmental, team, or individual.
- Align organisational or departmental goals to personal or group goals.
- Add multiple contributors to team goals and track their performance and progress in real-time.
Engagedly’s focus on goal alignment lets employees see how they contribute to achieving the goals and vision of the organisation. After setting goals, you can track their status, progress, and effectiveness. This OKR software also comes with an advanced dashboard and customisable analytics.
Engagedly markets its technology and services to businesses with 100 to 10,000 employees. With a minimum monthly price of between $100 and $200, it does not seem to cater to smaller operations.
The Reclaro OKR software centres around the 1-3-5® business planning methodology, starting with setting 1 “Vision”- a statement of what you want to achieve written affirmatively. One example of a “Vision” is “I have a great business that generates a net profit of £10 million per year”. The next step of the plan is determining 3 mission-critical Objectives that are specific and tightly focused. An example of this is “Our marketing strategies help us achieve the year-target of 30% growth in revenue.” The last section of the plan is about setting 5 measurable and action-oriented Key Results for each Objective.
The Reclaro 1-3-5® software offers a robust framework designed to encourage high performance and align teams to achieve the business Vision faster. It provides a clear focus and means of communication to relevant teams. The software displays team performance and progress data in the form of real-time percentage dials through a one-page dashboard. This dashboard is accessible on mobile, tablet, and desktop. A high level of visibility and transparency means leaders can see exactly which teams are performing best and any areas for development. Such capability enables management to quickly assess at a glance whether the business is performing on target and whether the predefined objectives and key results are being achieved or not.
Key features include:
- Uses the award-winning 1-3-5® framework for planning and execution.
- Ability to delegate Key Results to others in your business.
- 1-3-5® plans can be structured into Teams with specific visibility settings.
- Ability to create accountability groups within your company and across other businesses.
- Performance dashboard showing real-time progress, performance and achievements across the business as a series of percentage dials.
Many larger OKR software providers out there offer more extensive services; however, if you are just starting with OKRs, some of them can seem overwhelming.
Setting up OKRs takes careful consideration and effort from all team members and management. Employees alone may not be able to identify objectives that will align with a company’s overall vision.
The OKR tools mentioned will help you create specific goals and corresponding actionable strategies. Make sure to focus on challenging yet clear and attainable objectives. Connect them with measurable key results. Track your progress and keep your eye on the prize!
It’s also very important to recognise small milestones and reward your team. Using positive reinforcement with employees during the process can boost morale and encourage best practices. Here are some other pointers to help you implement OKRs effectively in your business.