The secret to long-term business success is knowing what you want to achieve and why. OKRs serve as an excellent goal-setting tool to communicate your goals and lay out milestones to accomplish them with your team.
Business leaders traditionally use OKR templates to pair their objectives with key results, as well as set and enact strategies. The only catch? Creating a reliable template for your team can be a tedious task, especially if you don’t know where to begin.
This guide will go into the basics of creating an effective OKR template for your business and list pre-made templates you can use if you want to skip the hard work.
What Is an OKR?
Initially pioneered by John Doerr, the concept of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a proven goal-setting and leadership framework that individuals, team leaders, and organizations use to set ambitious goals and track outcomes.
It pairs the objectives you want to achieve with the key results you’ll use to measure progress, effectively tying your goals to your team’s daily workflows and activities.
What are OKR Templates?
OKR templates are pre-made performance management frameworks to simplify setting team objectives and tracking results. It clearly lays out the objective you want to achieve along with key results to measure your progress.
Think of it as filling in the following blanks:
I will achieve (objective) as measured by (key result).
Your objective is the goal(s) you want to achieve. Ideally, it should be clear, short, defined, organized, and actionable which leads to significant positive changes in your organization. Examples include increasing brand awareness, driving employee engagement and impact, and creating delightful customer experiences.
The key result is the metric you’ll use to measure your progress toward achieving the objective. Examples include optimizing 50 articles each month, getting an order rating of 4.6/5 or better, and driving 1 million web visitors this year.
Often, an objective is followed by 3 to 5 key results (rather than just one) that are measurable, specific, verifiable, and time-bound to help in its accomplishment.
Suppose your objective is to increase recurring revenue. Your key results to achieve this can include the following:
- Reach $300,000 in MRR
- Reduce customer churn by 15%
- Increase subscription renewal by 20%
If you think about it, completing the three set key results will ultimately help you increase your recurring revenue.
The 5 Benefits of Using an OKR Template
When running a business, it’s easy to get distracted by things that are not important or fruitful for your company’s big-picture goals.
OKRs help keep this wandering attitude in check, ensuring you focus your energy on areas that have a direct impact on your business rather than wasting time and resources and something that won’t take you forward.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the benefits of using OKRs templates:
The whole point of OKRs is improved performance.
With an OKR template in place, everyone on your team knows your company’s key objectives and results. They know what needs to be done, removing any ambiguity, which is also likely to make them work harder.
You can also use the template to track progress and identify areas for improvement, as well as align your team’s effort with your company goals to ensure better outcomes.
Faster, More Agile Operations
Typically, OKRs are set quarterly. This makes the template a live and active document that not only outlines fresh plans but also keeps everyone accountable for the set goals.
Coming up with OKRs multiple times each year also keeps your team at par with industry disruptions, innovations, and shifts to keep you ahead in the game.
Increased Employee Engagement
Making OKR templates can be a collaborative team-building exercise where everyone shares inputs. It also sets individual objectives and tracking systems and makes employees accountable for their responsibilities.
All of this together helps to increase engagement within the organization.
Adopting an OKR framework makes employees more in tune with organizational goals and helps them take an active interest in promoting profitability. Another significant advantage is that an engaged workforce also reduces employee turnover.
Improves Transparency and Accountability
Implementing an effective OKR template creates a proper framework that not only assists teammates in understanding their roles of responsibilities but also holds everyone accountable for their actions.
This helps improve transparency and accountability by breaking down any silos and allowing you to share the organization’s key objectives with everybody.
OKRs also facilitate faster decision-making by allowing your team to make the right decisions without sacrificing quality, keeping your organization agile and responsive to market changes.
Despite 90% of organizations having detailed plans for growth, 7 out of 8 companies don’t attain profitable growth. This is mostly due to the misalignment between organizations and employees with regard to goal-setting.
If you have a growth plan for the long term, you need OKRs to align team efforts in a way that focuses on the most important goals of the organization. Your OKR template can include objectives for the entire organization or have separate objectives and key results that are broken down for individuals for departments and individuals, whatever works better, to avoid any hindrance or obstacles.
How To Create an Effective OKR Template
If you want to create a custom OKR template for your team, we’ve got you.
To start, you need to understand exactly what your organization wants to achieve and how to measure success. Keep in mind that each team involved will need its own objectives and key results. From there, creating an OKR becomes fairly straightforward and can be applied to all types of teams.
Here’s how to proceed:
Define Business Objectives
Lay down your company’s high-level goals that will guide your product strategy and specific areas of investment. Your objectives can be broad (for example, increasing revenue) or more focused (for example, reducing churn by a certain amount).
Set Product Goals
Every product goal should link back to a business objective. For example, if you want to increase revenue by $500,000 over the next quarter, you need a corresponding company goal to increase annual recurring revenue (ARR) by a specific percentage.
Establish Success Metrics
As a company leader, you and your product development team should agree on how to best quantify success.
If you’re a SaaS business owner, the key results for your organization can include getting a specific number of subscriptions each month or reducing user churn by a certain percentage each month.
The idea is to determine metrics that help you measure and prioritize the value each piece of work will deliver.
Set Product Initiatives
At this stage, you know your product objectives and key results. Next, you’ll clarify the steps to achieve them.
Product initiatives are the broad themes or areas of work your team will pursue to achieve each goal. This can include enhancing user experience or launching product features to improve product capability.
Map Out Corresponding Releases and Features
Another aspect of a good OKR template is having a roadmap that links each epic, release, and feature to company objectives, product goals, and product initiatives. This ensures all involved parties stay focused on aspects that are most important to the business.
Monitor and Track Metrics
Creating and implementing OKR templates isn’t a one-time exercise. It requires regular review and revision to ensure your team is attaining the results you want.
We recommend discussing objectives and key results in weekly or biweekly meetings. Alternatively, you can also track progress on a monthly or quarterly basis to keep things on track.
3 Free OKR Templates to Get Started
If you’re short on time but want to get started with OKRs right away, here are some proven and free templates worth your time:
Google Sheets is the simplest way to create an OKR template and start organizing key results for business objectives.
Simply enter your objectives and a few key results into the appropriate columns. You can also visualize the status of each key result by color-coding cells and identifying areas that need improvement.
This is another example of a simple and clear OKR template, and considering it’s inspired by John Doerr’s teachings, the OKR pioneer himself, you know it’s worth your while.
While the basic structure remains the same, this template has OKRs for departments/teams and individuals. Add the owner for each task, so everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.
This PowerPoint OKR template allows you to visualize team progress over time.
Enter your objectives and key results into the appropriate slides, and then track progress by highlighting the cells achieved. In addition to tracking progress and growth, you can also visually see which areas need optimization so you can attain the objectives faster.
OKR Template Examples by Industry
If you’re looking for more help on how to use an OKR template, here are a few OKR examples to get you started:
Marketing OKR Example
Increase brand awareness
- Double following on all social media channels
- Recruit and onboard 500 new community members by the first quarter
- Drive 5x web visitors
FinTech OKR Example
Make the budget more transparent
- Hold quarterly meetings to improve financial understanding
- Reduce rejected expense reports by 10%
- Hire a CFO to communicate budget requirements and changes
HR OKR Example
Drive employee engagement and impact
- Improve positive manager feedback
- Implement tactics to increase employee satisfaction by 10%
- Get 50% more employee participation in surveys
Product OKR Example
Launch new product initiative by the end of the year
- Increase signup to conversion rate by 10%
- Ensure 40% of monthly active users (MAU) use the new feature/product
- Get a recommendation score of 7.5 or above
Biotechnology OKR Example
Received FDA approval for user testing
- Cross-check FDA requirements
- Consult with two biotech-specific lawyers
- Submit all necessary paperwork by [Date]
Final Thoughts About OKR Templates
Writing OKRs is a skill that takes time and lots of practice to develop. Be sure to incorporate feedback from within the organization, including superiors and juniors, for each set of OKRs and have them undergo multiple checks and drafts to ensure successful execution.
Ultimately, you’ll have a proven OKR template to build a reliable objective and key results framework for measuring and assessing your results with respect to your company objectives.