10 Mar 2023

What are OKRs and how to get started in 5 steps

Take OKRs to the next level ensuring your business is able to achieve your objectives on time, with flawless communication, and with ease.

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Every business, small, medium, and large, has objectives. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results, which is an effective means of goal setting and leadership. It’s meant to enhance communication regarding what you want to achieve and the milestones between you and accomplishing these objectives.

You’re also supporting employees in their effort to do their job well by letting them know what outcomes they’re working towards.

So, let’s start trying to understand the benefits of OKRs and how a people platform such as Zelt can help you implement this.

Let’s ask why OKRs are not to be overlooked by companies of any age.

What are the benefits of OKRs?

Most small businesses and startups might still need to establish this aspect of their business. But what are the benefits of OKRs, and how will they benefit your business? Let’s take a look:

  • Focus: when you’ve got OKRs in place, you’re allowing your team to coalesce behind priorities which you’ve carefully chosen to ensure desired results.
  • Alignment: By having OKRs, you’re aligning goals among your employees, so you’re all on the same page. Every level of your organization knows what’s going on and is working towards a shared goal.
  • Commitment: Setting OKRs means your employees across your organization commit to shared goals and their individual involvement in achieving them.
  • Tracking: With OKRs, you can better track and manage progress to ensure you’re not running out of time to achieve your goals.
  • Stretching: OKRs means that employees have drive. They are stretching themselves beyond the ‘business as usual’ approach. It gives purpose and makes significant changes that produce meaningful results.

If you’re a business looking to succeed, OKRs are something to seriously consider. And with Zelt, it’s never been easier to get started with OKRs.

Steps to using OKRs with Zelt

Getting started with OKRs is easier than you think. Let’s take a look at what it takes to get on board

Step 1: Work out your businesses priorities

Before creating objectives, you need to consider your business and your voice as a leader. You’ll be embarking on an effort to guide your team(s) to achieve objectives, but how will you approach that task?

This moment allows everyone to understand where things are heading and consider how they’ll contribute to the overall success of your OKRs. You mustn’t rush any steps in the process. You want this to work, and throwing everyone in the deep end isn’t going to help you or your business.

Instead, communicate effectively, and test it level by level, starting with leadership. We recommend going at least two quarters with just the leadership level before introducing it to the rest of your business.

Step 2: Set company-level OKRs

Now that you’ve completed step one, it’s time to start setting OKRs. The first thing you will want to do is tackle company-level OKRs. This means objectives everyone is striving to achieve. Consider whether you want to improve office morale, engagement, or happiness. There are multiple ways of going about this.

First, of course, you’ll want to find ways to improve the culture in the workplace, make your business a better place to work and conduct surveys to see where everyone stands. But by engaging, you’re changing how things are done, hopefully for the better.

Another example is tackling an objective like increasing productivity and efficiency. It’s a great objective, but how are you planning on achieving it? Now, it’s a team effort, so everyone has to do their part, but to track progress, you’ll need to have individual or team OKRs.

Step 3: Set team and individual OKRs

Some objectives aren’t for everyone to meet. For example, let’s say you’ve got an important project with its own objectives. Still, it’s only related to a handful of employees.

In that case, you’re creating OKRs for that team. This is the same if the task is related to an individual. With individual or team OKRs, you can better track who’s doing what, how they’re doing, and if they’re meeting their own objectives.

In both cases, team and individual OKRs should always be directly connected to a company-level OKR so that everyone knows how they are contributing to the overall success of the company. Forbes gives a good overview of the benefits and drawbacks of individual OKRs.

By having an overview of the operations in your business, you’re more informed, more hands-on, and better equipped to run a tighter ship. OKRs are also an important aspect for employee experience which is essential for the well-being of your employees and overall company culture.

Step 4: Review & Score

This is an ongoing process of reviewing the OKRs you and your employees have set and seeing how they’re doing. You want to see the results in action, and that’s what OKRs are partly there to do. They are to create a sense of urgency, raise productivity, and improve operations overall.

With the ability to accurately review and score, you can see where there are pressure points or problem areas and better manage them. The point is to improve and ensure the issues aren’t problems that repeat. It’s common for performance reviews to happen every quarter, but they could also be done monthly or semi-annually, depending on your needs. Reviewing OKRs more means real-time insights but this introduces additional overhead to your team. You need to find the right balance.

Step 5: Go back to Step 1 and reassess

Once you’ve made it through the process of setting up, implementing, and utilizing OKRs, it’s time to start all over again. You want to take everything you’ve done, reassess, and fine-tune your OKR approach to a new set of objectives for you and your team.

Learn how you can manage OKRs with minimal overhad in Zelt

How to approach using OKRs

OKRs aren’t complicated. They just require a few things to ensure their success. Let’s take a look at some of the things to consider if you’re going to be using OKRs:

Lead by example

OKRs only work if everyone is doing them. So you have to lead by example and engage in OKRs regularly by setting personal goals, showcasing a sense of accountability, and being transparent in what you’re doing.

Everyone needs to get involved

Similar to how leadership needs to be involved, everyone must showcase they can be engaged in OKRs meaningfully. Employees have set objectives, and they can set their own as well while making them transparent for everyone to see and understand.

It’s okay if you don’t hit all your objectives

It’s important not to get hung up on failure. You’re not always going to hit every objective you set. That’s just how business works. The point isn’t to be perfect. It’s to find ways in which you can improve. Generally, you should be achieving at least 70% of your objectives. This shows you’re pushing yourself. Hitting every goal means your goals are broad or too easy.

Go with the flow

While you’re working hard to achieve objectives, be sure to consider where you can tweak, update, and even scrap entire objectives. This isn’t meant as a means to make it easier or quit. Instead, it’s to assess what is feasible and how best to achieve it, which can be an evolving process.


Successfully implementing OKRs can have tremendous benefits for you and your organization. With OKRs, you allow people to feel autonomous and part of a bigger picture. You’re driving up productivity, creating a healthy environment with effective communication, and fostering a workplace where people work together.

It’s time to get your OKRs set up and enact meaningful changes in your workplace to improve the day-to-day. Using a modern platform for it means reduced overhead implementing and monitoring your OKR process.

So, what are you waiting for… get started today