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Goals & OKRs

Free OKR template | Guide to Objectives & Key Results

Leapsome Team
Free OKR template | Guide to Objectives & Key Results
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Setting top-level goals may seem easy, but organizations often struggle to show employees how their work supports the company’s vision. In fact, recent research from Leapsome shows that 42% of employees feel goal setting is one of the worst implemented people enablement processes at their organization. At the same time, 43% of respondents reported that clear company goals help them feel engaged at work, and over half said great goal-setting and feedback processes are so important to them that it’s a key reason they’d choose to stay in their job.*

When done right, goal setting can not only drive retention and keep employees engaged, but also promote organizational alignment and improve overall performance.

The key is connecting high-level aims with ground-level action. The objectives and key results (OKRs) goal-setting system helps you break down objectives into bite-sized, digestible chunks, so all company levels and departments can contribute to achieving ambitious organizational goals.

Setting up OKRs can seem daunting — which is why we’ve created a customizable objective and key results template you can use to get started today. In this article, we’ll explain the model and show you how to use our OKR template to connect employees to your organizational vision.

*Leapsome State of People Enablement Report, 2023

⚡️ Want to roll out OKRs at lightning speed?

Use our objective and key results template to hit the ground running and set structured goals that motivate your entire team.

👉 Download now

What are OKRs?

OKR is a goal-setting system that stands for objectives and key results. The OKR method can help guide and focus your efforts, create more impact, build alignment, and bring all players behind the same vision.

“We must realize — and act on the realization — that if we try to focus on everything, we focus on nothing.” 

— John Doerr 

The essence of OKRs is simple: to break down ambitious objectives into clear, manageable, and measurable results. OKRs lay out a path to success that boosts employee engagement. And you should take employee engagement seriously: research shows that highly engaged employees deliver better results, attract more customers, keep customers more satisfied, and “are more likely to remain with the organization than those who are less engaged.”

Andy Grove, Intel’s third employee and former CEO, is the creator of the OKRs framework. In 1983, Grove laid out the term in the book “High Output Management.” Another Intel veteran, successful venture capitalist John Doerr gave OKRs visibility over decades — but it wasn’t until recent years that this framework gained traction. OKRs have now evolved as the leading goal-setting method used by companies of all shapes and sizes — from Google, Spotify, and Netflix to SMBs and startups with a handful of employees.

🚀 Manage your OKRs better & increase impact

Leapsome’s OKR software makes it easy to track and collaborate on all goals across your company

Find out more

The OKR formula

🎯 We’ll make progress in pursuit of [OBJECTIVE] by achieving [KEY RESULTS]
Infographic with essential facts about Objectives & Key Results by Leapsome

This is the basic structure to set OKRs. Now let’s dive into the components of this formula. 🔬

What are the components of an OKR?

1. Objectives

Objectives are goals that support your company’s overarching mission, building transparency and alignment as they spread the idea of working towards the same purpose across organizations.

Objectives are qualitative and have the power of uniting team members. They’re concise and straightforward. They’re also ambitious — but not unrealistic.

Keep in mind: Objectives shouldn’t be a simple expansion of something you’ve already mastered — they should be groundbreaking.

2. Key Results

Key results are the milestones you’ll pass along the way as you approach your objective: they represent how you’ll achieve your goal.

We can also think of key results as pieces of the bigger picture. They show us how to reach goals and allow us to track progress and measure success — so they must be measurable.

Keep in mind: Key results should be meaningful enough to be celebrated if achieved.

📥 Ready to bring OKRs into your organization?

👉 Download our best-practice OKR template to start your strategic planning and reach ambitious goals!
A screenshot of Leapsome’s OKR template
Use our free template to manage your OKRs — and empower your team with clear, ambitious goals

5 steps to get started with OKRs

🧘 There’s an art to writing OKRs, but once you’ve followed the steps below and used our free OKR template, their rollout will be smoother than you think! 

1. Define long-term business priorities

Start with the overall strategy and vision of your business. Where do you want to be three to five years from now? What are your long-term goals and business priorities?

Note: “Long-term” may mean different time frames for different industries.

⭐️ Pro tip: Here at Leapsome, our mission is to make work fulfilling for everyone, and our vision is to be the top market-leading solution for people enablement in Europe and North America by 2025.

This vision guides our goals and is sustained by our company’s values. If you haven’t figured out your company’s mission, vision, and values, spend some time on that — it will help you make the most of the OKR goal setting template.

2‍. Translate business priorities into annual OKRs (strategic goals)

Pick three or four business priorities that support your vision, then focus on these priorities to define your annual strategic OKRs. This will put you in the right direction!

3. Break down annual OKRs into quarterly OKRs (tactical goals)

When broken down into smaller bits, big goals seem less daunting. So now it’s time to break down your annual OKRs into quarterly objectives and key results.

Cycles with a quarterly cadence are easily divisible into 13 weeks. You can aim to progress by 10% each week, plus a 2–3 week grace period to get started or overcome setbacks.

4. Convert company OKRs into team & individual OKRs

Enable and guide teams/departments in formulating quarterly OKRs that support the company’s OKRs. 

Empower individuals to take ownership of specific key results or an entire OKR and to set their own performance goals. Focusing on goals should become part of daily work; this helps people prioritize and gives everyone the most value for their efforts.

5‍. Track — tweak — praise — repeat

Regularly tracking and tweaking OKRs will ensure that you move forward in the right direction and undertake relevant initiatives.

Celebrating success at work and giving constructive feedback helps teams learn and grow. The result is enhanced performance and engagement — the pillars of thriving organizations.

⭐️ Pro tip: Encourage all departments to run regular OKR check-in meetings to stay on top of key initiatives and achieve more. 
Infographic with five steps to creating your Objectives & Key Results by Leapsome
📘 “Leaders must get across the why as well as the what. Their people need more than milestones for motivation. They are thirsting for meaning, to understand how their goals relate to the mission.”

― John Doerr in “Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs”

How to use the free OKR template

Our free to use OKR template is the perfect way to test out the OKR methodology, before you make the step to invest in dedicated OKR software. Follow the steps below for a best-practice-led approach. Adapting our Google Sheets form will help you get the most value out of the OKR framework template.

  1. The basics
  2. Define strategy objectives
  3. Select key results to track success
  4. Decide how to measure key results
  5. Assign values to key results
  6. Assign a lead or owner
  7. Enter a deadline
📥 Download our free best-practice OKR template, then make a personal copy. Open the template and click on File > Make a Copy to create your copy. Easy!

Step 1: The basics

This step will guide all of your OKR cycles — you just need to adapt the cycle each time, and it will help you keep your company’s vision in mind at all times! 

  • Head over to the Company OKRs tab
  • Add your company’s name
  • Write down your company’s vision
  • Enter the current OKR cycle

Step 2: Define strategy objectives 

The OKR framework allows you to narrow down your strategy and focus on impactful initiatives. So don’t try to do too much at once. Three to five objectives is a realistic amount, per OKR period, to keep teams stimulated without feeling overwhelmed.

Your selection of core initiatives should be ambitious but carefully considered — make sure to meet with your leadership team to work on company objectives together. The same applies to department and team goals: To keep alignment, OKRs shouldn’t be a top-down decision. Involve your whole team and listen to their ideas!

  • Add 3–5 objectives  
  • The same goes for team objectives — only you’d be using the Team OKRs tab
  • Use aspirational, qualitative statements (e.g., “Become the #1 producer of gourmet marmalades)

Step 3: Select key results to track success

As with your objectives, you should focus on just a few key results. These key results should enable you to achieve the associated objectives.

Here, you should be specific and don’t fear numbers — this will help you track progress and know when to realign your strategy or aim for stretch goals.

  • Add 3–5 key results per objective
  • Remember that key results must be measurable

Step 4: Decide how to measure key results

What will be your metric for your measurable outcomes? Will it be a Yes/No measure for project completion (e.g., Relaunching Mars Marmalades brand)? A percentage (e.g., increasing sales by 27%)? A numeric measure (e.g., achieve 896 businesses in the distribution network)? Or would you prefer to set it in currency (e.g., reach USD 4,000 ARR per distributor)? 

  • Define how to measure each key result by selecting one of the options in column C

Step 5: Assign values to key results

Now that you know the best metric for each key result, it’s time to enter it into your OKR template.

Always consider that the ideal OKRs should be bold, yet not easy to reach — nor impossible. For example, achieving 80% is a good indicator of a high-impact key result, while quickly reaching 100% shows that a key result was unambitious.

  • For each key result: insert a start value (column D)
  • For each key result: add a target value (column E)
  • For each key result: include a current value (column F)

Step 6: Assign a lead or owner

Encouraging your people to take ownership isn’t just about ensuring things get done: it’s also about showing everyone that their work is valuable and helps push the company’s vision forward. When everyone feels involved, your company will accomplish so much more!

  • Assign a lead/owner per objective
  • If multiple people contribute to an objective, assign a lead/owner per key result

Step 7: Add a clear deadline

A defined time frame helps teams focus their efforts and resources. Make sure your deadline is well-communicated to all team members to boost motivation and accountability.

As mentioned, we recommend quarterly cycles for your OKRs. While your quarterly OKR deadlines should be ambitious, it’s also important to keep them realistic — impossible deadlines can be bad for morale.

⭐️ Pro tip: To dive deeper into goal-setting and create impactful OKRs, make sure to read these pieces:

💡 “What Are OKRs?” A Guide to Setting the Right Objectives and Key Results [with Infographic]

📖 People Ops Playbook: How to Implement OKRs (Objectives & Key Results)

Using an OKR scorecard template

Our template doesn’t include a specific scoring system, though there is a dedicated space to track your progress as a percentage of your overall key result goal. However, some teams choose to add a scorecard to their OKR format template.

With OKR scorecards, you assign a numeric value to each key result, providing a clear visual indicator of progress. Usually, you grade each key result on a scale of 0–1 (with 1 meaning it’s fully complete), using predefined criteria. For example, if your key result is “recruit 20 new clients”, getting 15 new clients might mean a score of .75.

Then, you calculate the average of all of your key result scores to get an overall grade for your objective. 

Scoring OKRs can reduce ambiguity and give you clear metrics to understand how things are going. 

The smartest way to set up & track OKRs

You can track, align, and collaborate on goals and OKRs at all levels (i.e., company-wide, department/team-specific, and individual goals) with the Leapsome platform.

💬 There is a smarter way to set up OKRs and reach more goals! Find out how to save time, build more alignment and engagement, and have all your data in one place by having a chat with one of our product experts.

Learn more about Leapsome’s Goals module below.

Create effortless, AI-powered OKRs

With Leapsome's AI-powered tools, you can build out a full OKR framework tailored to your goals in minutes. AI-generated suggestions help leaders to define (and adapt) ambitious yet achievable individual, team, and company goals.

Screenshot of AI generated OKRs from Leapsome’s Goals module

Measure goal progress with automated dashboards

Our automated dashboards give people at all levels of your organization a clear overview of progress and make it easier to spot roadblocks and know what needs to be adjusted — or which goals and initiatives may need an extra push.

A screenshot of Leapsome’s Goals module

Visualize goals across your organization

With Leapsome, understanding how goals relate to one another is simple — and easy to visualize! With our Goal Tree, you can see how team and individual goals support company-wide goals, boosting organizational alignment and purpose.

A screenshot of Leapsome’s Goals module

Make OKRs part of daily work

The Leapsome platform goes many steps further by connecting various processes (like meetings, performance reviews, learning, and instant feedback) in a continuous cycle of personalized development that boosts your company’s engagement and success. With Leapsome, you can seamlessly integrate OKRs into your everyday routine, so that you focus on what matters most every single day.

Motivate all stakeholders

Now you know that OKRs are crucial for company alignment and employee engagement. When someone knows that their work has a positive impact, they’re more likely to deliver outstanding results! And an essential part of it is having ownership of key initiatives. With Leapsome, your team can easily track and measure the goals they’re involved with, having a clear overview of results and staying motivated to accomplish even more.

A screenshot of Leapsome’s Goals module
🚀 Set goals that align and empower your teams

Motivate your employees and accelerate team performance with Leapsome’s goal management and people enablement tools.

👉 Try it now


How can an OKR template guide us in setting objectives and key results?

Starting out with OKRs can be confusing, and understanding how to set objectives and key results can take time and practice. An OKR template can organize the initial process by following specific guidelines and phrasings.

Can an OKR template be customized for different teams or departments?

An OKR template gives you the outline you need to set objectives and key results for all your teams and departments. That's why it can be used by anyone in your organization and will only need a few adjustments to fit different teams.

How often should OKRs be reviewed and updated?

OKRs can be made part of your daily work. Of course, it’s optional to update progress every day but OKR software such as Leapsome can help keep goals in mind by connecting them to your meeting agendas and reviews. Updating and tracking goal progression is simplified, as all you need to do is check your Leapsome dashboard.

Written By

Leapsome Team

Written by the team at Leapsome — the all-in-one people enablement platform for driving employee engagement, performance, and learning.
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