Your Complete Guide to HR OKRs

Boost your HR strategy with OKRs.

As organizations recognize the importance of a motivated team and sustained success, HR departments have embarked on a transformational journey, assuming strategic roles in shaping company culture, talent management, and overall business performance. Long gone are the days when HR primarily handled administrative tasks.

This paradigm shift requires a methodology to set clear objectives, measure progress, and demonstrate HR's impact on the organization's growth. HR OKRs, adapted from the widely acclaimed OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework, have swiftly become a driving force behind this evolution.

This article will explore the benefits of implementing HR OKRs,  best practices to ensure successful adoption within HR departments, and tips to track HR OKRs effortlessly. 

What are HR OKRs?

HR OKRs are a goal-setting methodology designed to help HR teams bring clarity, focus, and measurable outcomes to their initiatives. Derived from the larger OKR framework, HR OKRs offer a structured approach to define ambitious goals and track progress transparently and accountable. By aligning HR OKRs with the overall business objectives, HR teams can effectively demonstrate their contribution to the company's success.

At its core, HR OKRs consist of two main components:

Objectives: Objectives represent the qualitative, ambitious, and measurable goals that HR teams aim to achieve within a specific timeframe. These objectives should be clear, inspiring, and directly linked to the organization's strategic vision.

Key Results: Key Results are quantifiable and time-bound metrics indicating progress toward achieving the objectives. They serve as the yardstick to evaluate the success of HR initiatives and allow teams to gauge their performance objectively.

Usually, organizations set a long-term goal based on the company's strategy and then break it into quarterly OKRs, aligning them with departmental or team goals. Regardless of your company's structure, HR OKRs should not be overlooked as they contribute to business success.

OKR components

Why should companies set HR OKRs?

The strength of HR OKRs lies in their ability to promote transparency, collaboration, and accountability across the HR function and the wider organization. Here are some key reasons why companies should consider implementing HR OKRs:

Strategic alignment

HR OKRs ensure that HR goals are aligned with the broader strategic objectives of the company. This alignment helps create a cohesive vision where every department, including HR, works together to achieve the company's mission.

Clear direction 

Setting HR OKRs provides a clear direction for HR teams. The HR department usually wants to achieve too much and can get lost in a sea of tasks, which can sometimes be unrealistic. HR OKRs help prioritize these efforts, ensuring that the team prioritizes what is most important.

Accountability and transparency

HR OKRs introduce a level of accountability and transparency across the HR department. OKRs define clearly who is in charge of what, and progress is constantly shared with the entire company. This transparency promotes collaboration and shared responsibility.

Monitor and measure results

By establishing clear objectives and key results, you can define priorities for resource allocation, monitor performance, and increase the quantifiability of HR's contribution to the bottom line. The quantifiable key results offer insights into what's working and need improvement, facilitating data-driven decision-making for HR strategies.

Continuous improvement

The cyclical nature of OKRs encourages continuous improvement. After each OKR cycle, there's a review and reflection on what was achieved and what wasn't. This leads to iterative refinement and better alignment over time.

HR OKR best practices

Implementing HR OKRs requires a thoughtful approach to ensure their effectiveness and impact. Here are some best practices that companies can adopt to maximize the benefits of HR OKRs:

1. Align HR OKRs with business objectives

As previously mentioned, OKRs should integrate with the company's mission, vision, and strategic initiatives. So, make sure to align HR OKRs with the long-term organizational goal.

Then, pass these objectives along to sub-departments (such as Talent Acquisition, HR Operations, Learning & Development, etc.). Some goals can only be achieved through collaboration amongst departments. Smaller teams or individuals can be given the tasks necessary to complete the KRs.

2. Cascade effect

Top-down, bottom-up, and cross-functional alignment should be present when setting up OKRs. Use the cascade approach to link HR OKRs from the top-level company objectives to individual team and employee goals. This ensures that everyone is aligned and working toward a shared purpose.

3. Make sure your OKRs are clear and balanced

Craft HR OKRs that are clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid complex jargon or complicated language. Clarity helps everyone in the organization understand the HR department's priorities.

Strive for a balance between aspirational objectives and attainable key results. While objectives should be ambitious, key results should be measurable and realistic. This balance prevents demotivation due to unrealistic expectations. Set one to five objectives per quarter and no more than five key results per objective.

4. Have regular check-ins to track progress

Regularly check in on the progress of HR OKRs. Conduct reviews to assess if objectives are being met and whether key results are on track. These check-ins facilitate timely adjustments and keep teams accountable.

5. Celebrate achievements and learn from failures

Not all HR OKRs will be met as planned, and that's okay. Encourage a culture that embraces failures as learning opportunities. Analyze why certain objectives weren't achieved and use those insights to refine future OKRs.

On the other hand, it’s equally important to acknowledge and celebrate what was achieved. Publicly recognizing successes boosts morale, reinforces the value of the HR department's efforts, and encourages a culture of accomplishment.

How to track HR OKRs

Tracking HR OKRs is essential to determine if everything is going according to the plan. While manual tracking methods can work, harnessing the power of technology can significantly enhance the efficiency and accuracy of the OKR process. 

Mirro is a powerful OKR software that provides the framework for setting goals, tracking progress, and providing employee feedback.

Because out of sight often means out of sync, Mirro helps you keep track of your work and stay on top of your game. You can record your progress and highlight any new developments with just one click. Seeing the impact of your work has never been easier. Or more eye candy, for that matter.

Plus, if your HR OKRs change or need adjusting, you can always go back and edit everything.

HR OKRs in Mirro

Mirro's seamless process for setting up and tracking OKRs lets you focus on what truly matters, stay in sync with everyone in the company, and see what needs adjusting as soon as situations change. These are all crucial elements in designing a better team journey, so use Mirro and its features to reach new performance peaks. Schedule a demo today and empower your HR team!

Plus, if you want to boost your HR strategy, we have prepared a complete HR OKRs checklist containing everything you need to start with this framework. Download our free checklist and take your HR team's goals to the next level!

HR OKRs checklist



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