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OKRs—objectives and key results—are used by many organizations to help align individual, team, and business goals. 

Some of your most important OKRs belong to your human resources (HR) department around key responsibilities such as recruiting, development, and retention. 

When you establish OKR solutions in your HR department, it helps ensure that all members of the department have clear objectives and can measure their progress toward them.

In this article, we explain the what OKRs are, how you can use them at your company, and provide some examples of OKRs for HR.

What Are Objectives And Key Results (OKRs)? 

OKR is a goal-setting framework, pioneered by Intel then Google, that has been found to be effective at setting ambitious goals and tracking progress.

Normally set quarterly, but sometimes annually, each objective put forth must be broken down into measurable key results. The formula is this:

Objective (a personal, team, or business goal) measured by these key results (typically three or more).

An example human resources OKR for an HR manager

Objective: Reduce employee turnover from 20% to 10%. 

Key results:

  • Work with managers to have a development plan created for every employee
  • 100% of learning and development budget used by every employee
  • 100% of managers are having one-on-ones with their team
  • 100% of performance feedback complete
  • Managers trained up on certain concepts (I.e. radical candor, psychological safety, PIPs, etc).

How Are OKRs Used By Organizations? 

OKRs are used across all departments in an organization to help achieve goals like increasing revenue (executive level) and higher employee retention (Human resources).

Part of the appeal of OKRs is that they’re simple to understand and track.

When employees have clear goals to aim for, they’ll work hard to achieve them. Employee productivity and focus improve under the OKR framework. 

You can use OKRs to help you set goals and achieve a broad range of HR objectives. Below are some human resources OKR examples to get you started.

HR OKR Examples For HR Departments 

The human resources function in any organization is a busy one. They’re tasked with developing culture and acquiring, developing, and retaining top talent. 

As such, HR professionals establish OKRs to help them stay focused on achieving their goals and improving the business.

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HR OKR example to develop company culture

Objective: Improve company culture.

Key results:

  • Conduct a company culture survey
  • Using culture survey feedback, identify the top 2 areas for improvement
  • Suggest 5 changes the company should implement to improve our workplace culture.

Objective: Build a strong culture to improve employee engagement and motivation.

Key results:

  • Develop an executive communication plan to keep team members up to date with organizational developments and progress toward objectives
  • Launch an employee recognition program that recognizes team members for upholding our values
  • Organize 2 team building activities every quarter.

HR OKR example for employee engagement

Objective: Increase employee engagement.

Key results:

  • Collect monthly engagement surveys
  • Use data from surveys to reach 90% engagement score
  • Hold stay interviews with 10 team members.

HR OKR examples for recruitment

Objective: Improve employer brand.

Key results:

  • Run an employer evaluation project (EVP)
  • Increase eNPS by 15%
  • Sign off job description voice and tone guide
  • Implement a candidate feedback survey (most ATSs will have one)
  • Win a “Best Places to Work in X” award.

Objective: Improve candidate conversation rate by 10% end Q3

Key results:

Analyze and update all job descriptions to better reflect our revised employer brand Q2

HR OKR examples for employee retention

Objective: Retain staff for longer.

Key results: 

  • Increase employee satisfaction scores to 8 or above
  • Review benefits and compensation vs market rates
  • Hold stay interviews with 10 team members
  • Hold sessions to help employees build their own career roadmaps
  • Introduce flexible working options.

Objective: Improve the employee net promoter score (eNPS) from 55-70 end Q4

Key results:

  • Survey 100% employees to assess engagement levels and gather feedback on how we can improve the employee experience by end Q1
  • 100% employees to have created a professional development plan with their manager by the end of Q1
  • Create a formal employee recognition program to champion great work and help operationalize culture end Q1
  • Assess salaries and total compensation vs industry average end Q2.

HR OKR example for employee wellness

Objective: Increase employee health and wellbeing.

Key results:

  • Review office snacks and offer healthier alternatives
  • Introduce a 1-hour exercise allowance per day
  • Set up an initiative for employees to get access to a therapist 
  • Reduce sick days per employee from 2 to 1 day per month.

HR OKR examples for performance management

Objective: help standardize performance management across the business.

Key results: 

Objective: Switch to ongoing performance management over the new quarter.

Key results:

  • 7 out of the 10 managers must implement a bi-weekly check-in process
  • Migrate all employees to quarterly performance review process
  • Ensure 75% of the employees have a personal development plan (PDP) before the quarter ends
  • Achieve 100% completion rates for performance reviews before the quarter ends
  • Implement a new performance management tool to help streamline the new process

HR OKR examples for training and development

Objective: provide employees with the training they need to be more effective.

Key results:

  • Set aside a training and budget for each employee and ensure 100% usage
  • Assign 1 day personal development time per month and work to ensure 75%+ usage.

Objective: Improve employee training to upskill frontline staff.

Key results:

  • Increase average training feedback survey score to above 7
  • 100% completion rate of mandatory frontline employee training program by end of Q1
  • Introduce two third-party exams.

HR OKR example Develop an Efficient Employee Onboarding Program

Objective: Streamline and improve the employee onboarding process

Key results:

  • Create a content library in Slite with mandatory reading and checklist for all new starters
  • Improve employee onboarding satisfaction score from 70% to 80%
  • Reduce the 30-day failure rate among new hires from 12% to 4%
  • Conduct 15 interviews to identify improvements with the onboarding process

HR OKR example Improve Inclusion and Diversity

Objective: Building a culture where all employees feel included and comfortable contributing ideas or asking for support.

Key results:

  • Survey employees to assess levels of inclusion across the organization end of Q1
  • Require all managers to complete diversity and inclusion training by the end of Q1
  • Create personal development plans around inclusivity for all managers by end of Q2

HR OKR example to Improve Compensation and Benefits

Objectives: Improve compensation and benefits metrics to become a more attractive employer.

Key results:

  • Complete a salary benchmarking exercise to ensure total compensation meets the industry average by end Q2
  • Use employee feedback combined with HR metrics to assess the appropriateness of our total rewards package by the end of Q2
  • Improve employee satisfaction (ESAT) score in the annual compensation and benefits surveys from 60% to 80% by end of Q4

HR OKR example to Improve Managerial Effectiveness

Objective: Equip managers with the support they need to perform their roles effectively.

Key results:

  • Survey 100% managers to gather feedback on painpoints and how they can be better supported
  • Create a people partner program so HR can better support new managers across the organization.
  • Ensure 100% managers complete feedback training.

HR OKR for Ensuring HR Compliance

Objective: Improve HR compliance within the company.

Key results:

  • Implement a mandatory HR compliance test that each new employee must pass within 10 days of onboarding
  • Speed up 85% of HR compliance-related complaints in under three business days
  • Complete 75% of all HR compliance training before the end of the current quarter

HR OKR example for OKR adoption

Objective: Achieve the organization-wide adoption of OKR methodology. 

Key results:

  • 100% adoption of OKR methodology across all teams
  • Achieve 60% completion on the first cycle.

Develop HR OKRs To Grow And Strengthen Your Company 

Your HR department helps bring in new employees and team members and keeps them happy and productive. When your HR department has clear objectives and measurable goals it increases their focus and efficiency.

If you're finding yourself in need of some help to get things going the right way, here's an article you'll be glad you checked out: How To Become A Change Leader

By Finn Bartram

Finn is an editor at People Managing People. He's passionate about growing organizations where people are empowered to continuously improve and genuinely enjoy coming to work. If not at his desk, you can find him playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors.