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Should HR teams set OKRs?

Should your People team set OKRs?
June 17, 2022
Oyster Team
Objectives and Key Results spelled out on a board.

As an HR leader, you probably have many questions about objectives and key results (OKRs). At the top of that list are whether these metrics would be beneficial to your team and, if so, what they should be. We’ll walk you through the reasons why companies implement OKRs and where they tend to be the most useful for HR teams. Even if you’re not ready to go all-in on these metrics today, you’ll have a solid knowledge base when the time comes.

Why should HR teams use OKRs?

While it’s important to set OKRs based on your company’s unique circumstances, there are some widely applicable benefits:

  • Provide clear direction to individuals, teams, and departments 
  • Increase productivity by focusing on short- and long-term goals 
  • Track progress toward goals
  • Make more informed and effective decisions
  • Increase transparency across the company 
  • Improve resource allocation
  • Pinpoint and analyze reasons why objectives are not met

These benefits alone are often enough to convince teams to instate OKRs. But if you’re not there yet, this list should provide a clear idea of how uniform metrics can help your organization improve its workflow and clarify employee expectations. 

Examples of OKRs to set

OKRs need to be tailored to the specific team to be the most beneficial. As you may remember from a recent blog post:

Let’s say, for example, that your organization is growing quickly. You know your company will need to fill a percentage of strategic roles to meet its targets for the upcoming year. Accurate HR metrics can inform time-to-hire estimates, optimize onboarding, and help you stay on top of your diversity and inclusion goals.

Adaptability is important because it shows that your organization is always changing—and so will the OKRs you focus on. Neglecting to adapt can lead to lost time, lost money, and a negative impact on employees. 

These are the five categories where you’re likely to find performance metrics:

  • Hiring and onboarding: This includes overall headcount, time to hire, and time to productivity.
  • Diversity and inclusion: Look at the company’s overall composition across demographics, as well as that within departments and teams. Pay special attention to retention and turnover among underrepresented groups.
  • Performance and productivity: Examine the time from posting to hire, create distinct training programs for each department, and implement a continuous feedback system.
  • Employee engagement: Run culture improvement sessions and track engagement through company surveys. Increase employee referrals to give teams a stake in shaping the organization.
  • Employee retention: Use what you’ve learned in other areas to improve employee satisfaction with the goal of increasing retention. Implement an employee exit strategy to maintain a constructive relationship.

You may decide to pinpoint OKRs within all these categories or just focus on one or two top priorities based on your company’s current circumstances and goals. For example, if you’re trying to improve diversity and inclusion, you’ll want to spend more time on metrics within this category. You can experiment with others, but this should be your number one priority for the time being. 

These HR OKR examples can be molded to suit your specific organization. For instance, time to hire may be most important to your company, while another employer is more interested in time to productivity. Don’t set or select OKRs because you think you have to. Choose the metrics that will provide valuable information and help you make meaningful decisions.

What’s the best way to track HR metrics?

It’s not good enough to simply set OKRs for your HR team. You need a way to track these metrics so you can implement your findings. Check out our expert guide to tracking HR performance metrics to discover everything you need to take the next step and start measuring results in the context of your new benchmarks. 

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

About the Author

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, engage, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce.

About the Author

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