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People Management

15 Human Resources (HR) OKR Examples for People-First Organizations

January 6, 2022
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5 mins

Experts weigh in on human resource (HR) OKR examples that you can personalize to track and measure your organization’s goals.

Sarah Archer
Experts weigh in on human resource (HR) OKR examples that you can personalize to track and measure your organization’s goals.

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When it comes to setting goals as a human resources department, it’s critical to approach them with your organization’s values and culture as the North Star. 

That’s where objectives and key results (OKRs) come in.

OKR planning is a goal-setting framework that companies use to set and measure goals that support their mission. Once a company’s high-level OKRs are identified, departments are tasked with creating OKRs that align and support the overall mission. 

How to write solid HR OKRs

There’s a reason why high-performing HR teams set SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound—goals. That way, they can track and measure how much progress they’ve made towards goals at any time throughout the quarter, iterating on them if need be.

We spoke with Nicole Kahansky, Content Marketing Manager at Hypercontext, who’s an expert in OKR-setting. She said, “There are a lot of jobs HR teams do that are traditionally more difficult to measure but incredibly important. For example, improving company culture or increasing engagement. The beauty of OKRs is that they help break down those loftier goals into incremental, digestible objectives with roadmaps to help you get there.”

Nicole’s biggest piece of advice? 

OKRs shouldn’t be top-down. “Developing OKRs together leads to buy-in and a sense of ownership across the team,” she explained. 

With that in mind, we break down HR OKR examples by functional areas that you can tweak to make your own.

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Recruiting OKR examples

HR teams are tasked with coordinating the recruiting needs of an organization. In order to keep up with growth, set OKRs to guide team members through a successful recruiting process. 

: Launch a long-term candidate sourcing strategy. 
Key results

  • Compile employee engagement survey data into 3 data points for the careers page
  • Vet sources in Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and invest in 2 strongest sources
  • Decrease source time by 30%
  • Reduce cost to hire by 10%

: Reduce cost-per-hire. 
Key results

  • Increase employee referral program to a $2,500 bonus
  • Recruit 10 engineers from 3 remote college career fairs
  • Get 40% of applicants through free posts in talent communities

Compensation and benefits OKR examples

The compensation and benefits package that an organization offers is what sets them apart from competitors during hiring, as well as is a motivating factor for staff. Hypercontext shared one of their recommendations for a compensation and benefits OKR:

Objective: Improve compensation and benefits metrics while staying within budget.
Key results

  • Increase Salary Competitiveness Ratio to 8% over the closest competitors
  • Collect 5 positive and 5 negative pieces of feedback on the compensation strategy from the top performers in every department
  • Review and improve 2 underperforming programs aimed at improving employee productivity rate
  • Evaluate 3 top-performing companies on benefit programs and finalize the best fit

In addition, here are other helpful compensation and benefit OKRs you can personalize: 

: Align paid time off (PTO) policy with industry standard. 
Key results

  • Make comparative study of 2 industry benchmarking reports
  • Invest in PTO tracking and reporting system and onboard 100% of staff
  • Add PTO chapter to managerial training and get 70% completion rate

: Help employees to take advantage of their benefits. 
Key results

  • Send biweekly reminders of how employees can use benefits in Slack
  • Increase 401K contribution sign up rate by 15%
  • Get a 75% response rate from employee benefit survey through incentives

Hiring and onboarding OKR examples

Your team’s onboarding process sets the tone for what your new hire can expect from their new company. 

HRDive reported that 28% of employees leave their company within 90 days for poor onboarding practices. Therefore, it’s crucial that HR teams to focus on a solid employee experience for long-term success. 

: Hire and onboard top talent. 
Key results

  • Interview 8 employees about their onboarding experience
  • Launch 6 new training programs; 1 per department
  • Hire 6 new employees (3 engineers, 2 marketers, 1 designer)

: Improve onboarding experience. 
Key results

  • Decrease onboarding process from 12 days to one week
  • Onboard 40% of staff to new mentor-mentee program
  • Improve employee onboarding satisfaction rate by 10%
  • Improve internal training program by 35%

Culture OKRs

Honing in on a company culture supports employee happiness, retention rate, productivity, and much more. 

For Oyster, a platform that helps companies hire, pay, and care for their people, they don’t just advocate for hiring talent anywhere in the world. They live by it.

Oyster’s team is made up of 300+ employees spread across the world. Their Workplace team is hard at work to enable employees to do their best work. That’s why they have OKRs focused on employees’ connection with Oyster and with one another. Here’s just one of their culture-related objectives and key results: 

: Make working at Oyster the best job ever.
Key results

  • Improve average score in workload and stress from 3.2 to 4
  • Create new connection, impact and/or delight for Oysters
  • Host a virtual retreat where Oysters can connect with the company and each other

Rhys Black, Head of Remote at Oyster, relies on his team’s OKRs as way to grow quickly and strategically. 

“Growing from a 17 to 300+ people team and experiencing exponential revenue growth in a span of one year isn’t easy. However, we’ve set these OKRs to ensure the entire Oyster team feels as supported as possible, while also helping them feel connected to one another, as it is easy to feel alone in a globally distributed, fast-growing team.”

Rhys and his team are setting the bar with culture-related OKRs that push their business forward. Some other culture-related OKR examples include: 

: Establish an impactful employee wellness program
Key results

  • Offer 5 employee wellbeing activities per quarter
  • Onboard mental health partner and enroll 60% of staff
  • Increase participation in quarterly fitness challenge by 15%

: Improve team building through a virtual event
Key result

  • Survey 3 team members per department on concepts for the virtual event
  • Achieve a 85% attendance rate
  • Earn a 90% approval rate in post-event survey results

Training and development OKRs

Company training and development programs can benefit retention, culture, and workplace engagement. According to the LinkedIn Learning 2020 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. That data alone should guide your team towards setting training and development OKRs. 

Objective: Create a training and development program.
Key results

  • Get sign off for program from directors of each department. 
  • Get a 70% attendance rate for each training and development program. 
  • Get a 65% satisfaction rate from for each training and development program. 

: Improve manager effectiveness. 
Key results

  • Hire managerial training consultancy and get 75% participation rate
  • Send monthly employee surveys to get feedback on managers
  • Improve managerial performance from review process by 40%

Employee engagement and satisfaction OKRs

Employee engagement and satisfaction directly impacts productivity and performance. It’s important to create a positive work environment and give employees a sense of purpose and belonging in your organization. 

is highly aware of how employee engagement impacts their organization. That’s why they set this OKR: 

: Increase employee engagement across the organization.
Key results

  • Conduct quarterly surveys on employee engagement and encourage over 80% participation to find effective ways to boost organizational performance
  • Encourage 100% transparent communication by conversing one-on-one with your employees to get high-quality feedback on their experiences
  • Achieve an eNPS score of 50+ by the end of the year
  • Invest in at least 3 social activities per quarter to make employees feel included

Other employee engagement and satisfaction OKR examples include: 

: Improve employee morale and happiness.
Key results

  • Reduce the number of complaints from 10 to 3
  • Achieve a satisfaction score of 8 or above
  • Interview 20 employees on how to improve happiness across their team.

: Improve employee retention.
Key results

  • Achieve a 90% retention rate across all departments
  • Create career road maps for 100% of employees
  • Increase Employee Net Promotor Score (eNPS) by 15%

Setting OKRs are a great method for HR departments to track and measure their performance. But keep in mind that iterations are welcome as circumstances change. 

Take the COVID-19 pandemic for example. A human resources main OKR could have been to scale their organization by 25% before March 2020, but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could have triggered the organization to instead scale back the budget and put more resources towards mental health instead. 

Reevaluate when need be; no OKR should be set and forget.  

Meet the Author

Sarah Archer

Sarah is Head of Content Strategy at Kona and MBA candidate at Boston University. She helps leaders prevent burnout and build culture in remote organizations.

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