What are OKRs? Meanings of OKR

Rusq.org explains what OKR means

  • Welcome to Rusq.org, which aggregates all questions and answers what is the definition, discusses and answers what the abbreviation stands for among young people, today let’s learn a new concept, what is OKR? Meanings of OKRs. What are OKRs? Everything you need to know to get acquainted with Governance by Objectives and Key Results Kết
What are OKRs? Meanings of OKR - Website Rusq
What are OKRs? The meanings of OKR – Website Rusq

What is the definition of OKRs?

  • OKRs help align within the organization by linking company goals, departmental goals, and personal goals to specific results. The two main characteristics of this popular goal-setting method include:


OKRs are built around two different questions.

  • Objective: Where do I want to go?
  • Key Result: How do I get there?

Objective is the goal of the company, department or individual. Meanwhile, Key Result are the measurement steps necessary to achieve the goal. This system is maintained from the top of the organization to each individual, creating a link between layers of goals that affect each other and help everyone share a common goal.

Working principle

What distinguishes OKR from other management principles is that it is based on the following belief system:

  • Ambition: Objective is always set above the threshold of ability
  • Measurable: Key Result is tied to measurable milestones.
  • Transparency: All members from the CEO to the intern can monitor the organization’s OKRs.
  • Performance: OKRs are not used to measure employee performance

This unique approach was developed by Andy Grove at Intel Corporation, then John Doer continued to inherit and popularize this method at Google. Today, OKRs are used at thousands of organizations including Spotify and the US Navy.

Benefits of OKR

OKR will support corporate governance through 6 main benefits.

Helping businesses to closely link internally

  • OKRs connect individual and departmental performance with the company’s overall goals. From there, the management team can make sure everyone is on the same page.

Measure progress towards goals

  • Through indicators, OKRs will reflect how much individuals, departments and the whole company are completing the target percentage.

Outstanding results

  • OKRs allow managers to lead to their fullest potential at work, helping the company achieve impressive results.

Focus on the essentials

  • The OKR model will provide 3-5 goals for each level in the organization, helping the company and employees prioritize on the important goals of the company.

Increase transparency

  • OKR will build a transparent culture for the company, so employees can understand the work and plans of each individual and department.

Empower employees

  • Once the company has a clear understanding of the activities in the company, the leadership can make accurate decisions, and create opportunities for employees to monitor work results.

What do OKRs look like?

Departmental and individual goals are linked to the company’s high-level goals through measurable results. In other words, the goal of each level will be based on the Objective and Key result of the higher level.

  • Corporate-level OKRs are always the focus.
  • Department and department level OKRs will be the priority of that department (instead of the department just doing a series of individual OKRs)
  • Individual-level OKRs represent the work that individual will focus on getting done

Strict linking way

In this approach, we define Objectives at a lower level as Key results at a higher level in the organization.

For example:

At the Product Manager level:

  • – Goal: New product launch
  • – Key results:
    • Complete the app redesign before December
    • 4 product tests
    • Reached a rating of 4.5+ at the app store

At the Marketing Director level:

  • – Goal: Attract 10,000 new users
  • – Key results:
    • Increase conversion rate by 15%
    • Run a campaign to attract new customers
    • Reached a rating of 4.5+ at the app store

For this way of linking, the Objective of the lower level will become the Key Result of the higher level. With that in mind, it will be known that the Key Result of the CEO of this organization is “New Product Launch” and “Attract 10,000 New Users”. This process repeats itself for each department, from Production, Marketing, Engineering to Customer Care, and iterates on each level of that department.

How to link orientation

Objective and Key result’s strict stratification doesn’t always work. In some cases, businesses have the desire to set ambitious goals for the department, or ask employees to focus on personal development instead of following the company’s goal structure.

Same with the above example, although the CEO’s Key Result remains the same as “New Product Launch” and “Attract 10,000 New Users”; but the Objective and Key Result of the lower levels are subject to change. For example:

At the Product Manager level:

  • – Goal: Build a really compelling new product
  • – Key results:
    • Complete the app redesign before December
    • 4 product tests
    • Reached a rating of 4.5+ at the app store

At the Marketing Director level:

  • – Goal: Build a popular brand
  • – Key results:
    • Increase customer satisfaction index by 15%
    • Run a new campaign to promote the brand
    • Appeared in technology magazines

Objectives are oriented towards the higher level goal, but there is no strict link between Objective and Key result at different levels. For businesses wishing to set up a flexible goal system, we encourage managers to use this method.

How to build OKRs

In the process of building Objective and Key results, you should pay attention to a few things:

For Objective

  • – Each level in the organization (company, department and individual) should have 3 – 5 goals.
  • – Objectives need to have a clear destination (Ex: expanding business to the Chinese market) instead of being vague (Ex: aiming to expand business to international markets).
  • Objectives are often set beyond achievable, and must create a sense of challenge and difficulty. For example, Google considers achieving 70% of the goal to be considered successful; If 100% of the goal is completed, it is considered an excellent job.

For Key Result

There are 3 key outcomes for each goal.

  • – Key Result needs to be measurable (For example: “Contact 10 journalists” instead of “Develop media relations with journalists”).
  • – Key Result synthesizes the small steps to accomplish the goal, so achieving the key result is more valuable than achieving the goal.
  • – Key Result needs to specifically describe the output product instead of a simple action (For example: “Submit a conversion funnel report” instead of “Analysis of conversion funnel performance”.

How to get started with OKRs?

If this is your first time setting up a goal system, the preparation should last about 6 weeks before the start of a new quarter or new year.

The route could be as follows:

  • November: Brainstorm about company goals. Determining the OKR . management system
  • December: Communicate with department heads and departments to outline departmental goals. Disseminating OKRs to the entire business. Department heads work with members to outline personal goals.
  • January: Connecting, tiering and presenting the OKR . system
  • February: Monitor and manage personal OKRs

Step-by-step instructions are as follows:

Determine the Objective and Key Result of the business

  • The management team will set 3-5 core goals of the company in the next quarter or year. These goals should come from the mission or vision at the top of the company, but it can be flexible, going from specific business metrics “Increase sales metrics by 200%” to value propositions. company “Only use renewable energy for business activities”.
  • After finalizing the goals, the department will determine the specific results needed to achieve that goal. For example, if the department has a need to increase sales by 200%, they can take the key result as Hiring 5 Account Executives. The key results will help guide the next level of the organization.

Define a system for the organization to manage OKR

  • Every company has a different size that makes tracking OKRs a challenge.
  • Companies like Google have built their own tools in-house, some use familiar applications like Excel, or now have specialized software to track OKRs like Base OKR, Perdoo, Lattice … Whatever software you use, make sure you have a process ready before embarking on OKRs, otherwise the work will become messy and the business will not be able to optimize the values that OKRs bring.

Communicate with department heads and departments to jointly outline departmental goals

Schedule a meeting with middle management (heads of departments) to map out the company’s OKR plan. This meeting should discuss the following issues:

  • OKR overview: The concept and role of OKR? Why does management want to use this system?
  • OKR 101: How to apply OKR at work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the OKR method?
  • Discuss the company OKRs: You need to discuss with the department heads about the company OKRs that the management has agreed to for feedback.

At the end of this step, the heads of departments will have a clear understanding of the company’s OKRs, and plan for Objective and Key Result in their departments.

Disseminating OKRs to the whole business doanh

  • After the discussion with the heads of the departments, it was time to disseminate the OKR to the entire company during the meeting. Like the discussion above, make sure you give a reason for the need for OKRs and how we can apply it in the company, so that employees will have appropriate expectations about work based on OKR system.

Head of department works with members to outline personal goals

  • After the company-wide meeting, the managers will meet with each individual to brainstorm ideas for each person’s OKRs. It is also a two-way discussion – what employees want to do and what managers want employees to do.
  • At the end of the discussion, you will finalize employee expectations and company expectations with employees. By holding these discussions on a quarterly basis, employees will feel empowered to make decisions about their careers and day-to-day affairs.

Connect, stratify, and present OKR

  • After discussing with each employee in the company, the departmental leader and the board of directors sit down and review for a moment how the employee’s perspective can affect the OKR of the whole department or the company. . After agreeing on OKRs for a quarter or year, it’s time for you to present OKRs at the next general meeting and agree on the direction for the coming period.

Monitor and manage personal OKRs

  • Over the course of a quarter (or year), managers should continuously check the progress of their employees on OKR implementation to make sure the company is on track.

How to evaluate OKR

OKRs will be scored on a scale from 0.0 to 1.0. In which, 0 point is not able to achieve any part of the goal, from 0.6-0.7 is on the right track to complete the goal and 1 point is completed.

For each Key Result scored, the average score of the Key Result will be used as a scale for Objective. Here’s an example of how the marketing department’s OKRs should be evaluated:

When evaluating OKRs, always remember that…

There are two kinds of key results

  • Non-quantifiable activities such as launching a new website) will be scored on a binary scale (0-not complete and 1-complete); Measurable activities (such as contacting 10 journalists) are scored as a percentage of completion.
  • 0.6 – 0.7 is successful: a lower score means that the organization is not performing well, and a higher score means that the OKR is not set high enough. Adopting a high level of goals can be uncomfortable at first, but when applied correctly, it can help organizations achieve outstanding results.
  • Below 0.4 doesn’t mean failure: a low score may reflect goals that are too high or that employees are underperforming – either way, this is good data for employee grading and order to prioritize work for the department, as well as to improve work in the next quarter.

OKR scoring system is not a performance evaluation tool

  • OKRs can be a prism to evaluate individuals (or organizations), but this is not the optimal way to analyze job performance. If OKRs are consistent with performance appraisals, individuals will strive to set easy-to-achieve goals to be considered successful. This dynamic will limit the positive side of the OKR model.

The closing meeting on OKR is very necessary

  • At the beginning of each quarter, the company should sit down and discuss progress toward completing OKRs. Discussion can vary based on company size, but basically each department head will analyze the OKR score achieved and make recommendations for changes for the next quarter.
  • By reviewing the entire process, you’ll have the data you need on company performance, learn from challenges, and optimize for the future.


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