This article is part of a series where we have been discussing in length OKRs (objectives and key results), a goal system used by Google. So far in this series, we have discussed:
- The history of OKRs
- 8 reasons why you should adopt OKRs
- How to define your objectives in OKRs
- How to define your key results in OKRs
- How to Define Initiatives in OKRs
- How to be Realistic in Grading Yourself with OKRs
- Examples of OKRs
In this post, we’ll cover how to make the best OKR template for your organization and its goals. While the idea and structure of OKRs are becoming more popular within companies, we understand that sometimes it can be difficult to start this new initiative and adopt it into your own organization.
Here, we’re giving you our OKR tips and best practices for creating the best OKR goals template from which to start with. Learn how to get the most out of your OKR planning with the 10 tips below.
OKR Tip’s & Best Practices
Tip 1: Set up Your OKR Spreadsheet
If you’re just getting started with OKRs and your team is under 20 people we suggest beginning with a simple spreadsheet to track your OKRs, but then moving on to an OKR software once you’ve gotten your feet wet and your team grows.
An Excel file or Google Spreadsheet is also a good way to introduce OKRs into your organization on a smaller scale before buying into software that people in your organization might be reluctant to try. You can begin by finding some templates here.
Tip 2: Invest in OKR Software
Once your team reaches 25-30 people, we highly recommend switching to or trying an OKR software. The reason why is that OKR software is a lot more robust--it provides more transparency between departments and teams and has much better usability compared to the traditional spreadsheet.
If you’re looking at having more features and quick and easy collaboration across your organization, it’s a good idea to look into OKR software. With Heartpace, our OKR module offers many benefits such as:
- Keeps employees aligned with goals and more focused on OKRs while keeping them motivated.
- Makes the workflow transparent.
- Allows individuals to set OKRs all the way up to departments and the company as a whole.
- Helps you define measurable key results;
- and more.
Discover more about the OKRs module of our HR software here.
Tip 3: Include a goal status update feature
Make sure there is the capability in the software you choose to update your objectives and key results at each level, from the CEO to the individual team members. For example, for each key result, you could have different statuses for each:
- At risk
- Off track
- On track
- Complete: It’s done! :-)
Tip 4: Format goals properly
Formatting your OKRs doesn’t have to be complicated. Abide by the rule that if the format isn’t straightforward and easy to understand, then it isn’t formatted correctly. OKR templates should be organized in such a way that the participants and employees of the company should know exactly where they stand with their goals
Tip 5: Implement testing in the template
Before giving the ‘go ahead’ to use the template that’s been drafted for the company, give it a testing period so any kinks can be identified and fixed before it’s been decided that this will be what the company uses. Some things to look for when testing and OKRs template:
- Are updates being made as soon as any changes occur?
- Are communication lines open and clear in the templates?
- What are the most common complaints made?
- Do any particular teams/department have specific issues? What are they?
- Is the scoring element calculating items correctly?
Tip 6: Have team meetings and keep communication open
When creating the right OKR template that your whole organization will work from, communication is key. Just as testing must be implemented in the above tip, any problems or issues that come up must be communicated, and it’s especially great if your OKR software allows for this so that all communication remains within that environment.
Tip 7: Make long-term and quarterly goals visible to the team
Visibility is highly important in any OKR collaboration within a team. You want to be sure that your employees at all levels have access to the overarching department and company OKR goals. This is because individual employee OKRs should feed into and support long-term company OKRs.
Employees and department managers can more easily see if they are on-track or off-track both in keeping up with their own OKRs and helping the organization reach it’s bigger goals at the same time. If the company is off-track, this visibility is crucial because it opens up room for departments to reorganize their OKRs without delay.
Tip 8: Be able to set up automatic scoring and reevaluate
Having an OKR tracking template is important in knowing where you stand in relation to your OKR goals. The tool you use should enable scoring so you can monitor progress at different levels and have the insight to know if something needs to be reevaluated.
Automatic scoring is also an important part of any OKR template because it saves teams a lot of time from having to do tedious math work. At the same time automatic functions do not always follow the real life challenges and manual scoring should be possible.
Tip 9: Ensure there are collaboration capabilities
OKRs can’t be achieved in a vacuum, so your OKR template shouldn’t silo off teams. Rather an efficient OKR template should provide a clear picture and enable communication from employee to employee and department to department. If your current template methods feed confusion or cause problems in communication, it may be time to switch to a more efficient software or revise the OKR template.
Tip 10: Set quarterly OKRs
One last common best practice is setting up your OKRs within the template to be quarterly. Having 3-months periods of time allows enough time for substantial improvements and growth to happen, but it also isn’t too long so that employees don’t begin losing motivation.
Hopefully, the 10 tips will help you either in improving or starting out with making an OKR template within your company. If you’re thinking that going straight to OKR software might be a better option and want to see what we can offer for your organizations’ OKRs, click here to check out our pricing, or book a demo today. We can't wait to show you what your company is truly capable of.