How OKRs & goals ramp up employee motivation - Part 1

Aishwarya Sinha Ray
min read
How OKRs & goals ramp up employee motivation - Part 1

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. 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.

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

Goal setting and OKRs for Employee Motivation

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 evaluation. 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.

Employee motivation-objectives & Key Results (OKRs)
OKR cycle

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

A recent Forbes article argues that the term ‘performance motivation’ is much better than ‘performance management.’ Performance motivation more 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.


Ready or not, it’s time you start using OKRs for employee motivation in performance management, to boost employee motivation and in supporting your employees in the best possible way. You help them grow and they will help you grow your business. Only if they feel valued will they bring more value to your business – economical as well as (market) positional.

We hope you got some great insights from this blog. Its now time to apply it. Get started with peopleHum for free today. No credit card needed.

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Objectives and key results
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