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How OKRs & goals ramp up employee motivation
Employee Centricity

How OKRs & goals ramp up employee motivation

Aishwarya Sinha Ray
March 6, 2024

Objectives & key results are transforming the way we define and communicate success. It helps companies understand their employees better and aligns them with the growth of the organization.

For a very long time now we have been investing in performance management and digital evaluation to improve productivity, performance and boost employee motivation goals at workplace. However, the traditional methods have consistently been falling behind and the human touch is therefore, missing. Hence, OKRs for employee motivation ramps up in performance management will help companies to better connect with individuals and achieve stronger results. It’s a perfect combination of traditional and digital to boost employee motivation goals at workplace.

"Set your goals high and don’t stop before you achieve them. It may take a while but it will be worthwhile"

OKRs for Employee motivation goals at workplace

Performance management is great and it’s time to take the next step

New research from Gallup found that employees are almost 4 times more likely to be engaged if their manager involves them in goal setting for performance management purposes. You may think that It’s a brilliant idea and it’s definitely going to solve all performance-related problems. However, there’s a great deal of work that needs to be done before we can touch brilliance.

Some insightful statistics from the same Gallup study:

  1. Only 30% of employees strongly agree that their manager involves them in goal setting.
  2. 20% of employees strongly agree that their managers manage individual performance in a way that motivates them to do more.
  3. 21% of employees agree that they have performance metrics that are within their control.

Yes, the numbers are disappointing but it’s not the end of the world. It’s great to see that companies are investing time and effort in OKRs however, it would be a lot more motivating if employees are encouraged to participate. In the end, it’s their personal performance reviews. Why not make them a part of it? Why not take the next step that is by far one of the easiest ones to take. It would definitely make a big difference.

How OKRs & goals ramp up employee motivation - Part 1 | peopleHum

An evolution to the performance management methods

Traditional performance management is time-consuming, mostly ineffective, and can even be a risk to team morale. Still, we see that companies stick to it because they believe that it’s for the best of their employees. However, that’s not true at all. Companies must create a culture of performance development. Managers must evolve from being a boss to a coach. This calls for dedication, commitment in terms of time and resources, as well as a significant behavioural change from the management’s end.

One of the many examples being ‘Learnings & Education’. When you make a big switch by intelligently combining digital and traditional management methods, you do it for both – business leaders and their employees. Therefore, thorough coaching and team training on the subject is important and more of a necessity.

A boost to employee performance and motivation goals at workplace

A recent Forbes article argues that the term ‘performance motivation’ is much better than ‘performance management.’ Performance motivation goals at workplace closely links an individual’s responsibilities with their broader impact on the business. It’s the same way OKRs in performance management strategies relates with personal OKRs, and together they are set in relation to broader business OKRs.

This way each employee is able to clearly visualise their individual work contribution and what impact it is creating on business overall. Moreover, this is a great way in outlining everyday activities and responsibilities attached to individual roles. In fact, it helps in career development as employees will have an exact description of how their contribution is closely tied to business KPIs. It will further make it clear why their role exists and how it impacts the company’s overall performance.

It’s enough recognition that an employee can receive, they can measure their impact and feel empowered.

Hence, OKRs can become a big part of performance management strategies

You must implement top-level OKRs to track key business outcomes, and individual OKRs to set as contributing factors to reach those outcomes.

Let’s say, you have to close 10 deals (top-level OKR contributing to business outcome) in the month of May 2019. So, you reach out to a minimum of 50 prospects (individual OKR as a contribution) to ensure that you reach your target. This way, you can set individual OKR to the sales manager that their respective contribution would be 20%.

In fact, OKRs promote workplace collaboration so that managers and individual employees fully understand what they are working towards and strive towards realistic targets.

There are many ways in which you can set up goals at work but there’s nothing that beats the power of OKRs. We have talked about it in the previous article and you can read it here. OKRs are efficiently tailored to meet the needs of today’s fast-growing businesses and fast-paced work environments. The key is to keep making them better and more effective. Let’s take a look at the ways in which businesses can make better use of OKRs.

Keep your goal fixed and your journey flexible. It’s the only way it works.

Someone on the internet, again.

OKRs and Goal Setting at the workplace

More meaningful work alignment

Think about your company – What are the most important business priorities for you? It could be growing more business revenue or increasing your customer base to attract prospects and build a better strategy to create brand awareness. Or it could be anything, depending upon the current business situation and needs. What’s essential is to ensure that your business goals are perfectly in sync with the goals of individual employees. Wherever or whenever there is a mismatch, there will be problems.

Therefore, maintaining individual and company-wide OKRs solve these problems through proper work alignment. Everyone’s on the same page and are able to view the progress together. It could be on a half-yearly or quarterly basis, whichever way the business demands for it.

How OKRs & goals ramp up employee motivation - Part 1 | peopleHum

Goal setting theories to motivate employees in the individual and team level

OKRs clearly define work, based on the-

  • Department
  • Team, and
  • Individual level

This way, each person (or group of people) will be doing work through the entire duration of the given time period that supports the company’s common goal(s). So, managers, executives, employees, bosses, everyone collaborates to determine these goals together.

In fact, as an organisation you must encourage your employees to set some of their own individual goals and objectives. It will give the employees an opportunity to play an active role in the goal setting process. A higher kind of motivation goals at workplace, isn’t it?

More nurturing steps towards building better & stronger teams

Here’s something that matters the most in OKRs – you break down objectives into smaller steps. You do this to ensure that each and every detail is clear and understood by all.

  • Clearly define the objective and goal
  • Make it easier for employees to discuss them
  • Allow managers to track the progress on a regular basis

This will ensure that there is no break at any step in the progress. This will maximise individual contribution and automatically enhance teamwork.

A better and smarter way to tell your employees that they matter

Aligned OKRs naturally encourage employees to interact with each other on a regular basis. They double check with each other to make sure that all objectives are aligned with company level goals. If there’s a process break then they themselves take a break and fix the problem together.

It helps them keep track of what’s relevant and whether they’re going in the right direction or not. As a result, everyone stays active and realise the importance of an interactive work environment.


Set and track objectives to make the best use of OKRs for employee motivation goals at workplace. Align employee performance to business goals and keep a close look at who is responsible for which matter. It’s one thing to talk about employee engagement and performance and another, to work towards it. OKRs will ensure that you work towards it.

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