OKR vs. SMART goals: Key differences, Explained
Hey, it’s another goal-setting day, and we understand you’re again at a crossroads in terms of which goal-setting tool you should pick.
In this series, we have also compared:
Today, let’s have a look at how OKRs compare with SMART goals.
Both OKRs and SMART goals are two of the most widely used ways to create goals in organizations. We will check what they are, how they are similar, and how they’re different. Most importantly, this post will help you pick the right for your organization’s requirements.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is OKR?
- 2 What are SMART goals?
- 3 How SMART goals are utilized
- 4 OKR vs SMART goals (The Similarities)
- 5 OKR vs SMART goals (The Differences)
- 6 Which one should you pick?
- 7 How Keka will benefit your Goal Management ambitions
What is OKR?
OKRs stands for Objectives and Key Results. Invented by Andrew Grove, and later on, popularized by John Doerr at Google. It’s a framework where Objectives cater towards ‘What you want to achieve’ and the Key Results focus on ‘How effectively have you achieved those objectives.’ OKRs can be set for both the short and long term.
OKR example: For Customer Success, sample OKRs are given below.
Objective– Creating a great first impression
Key result 1- Decrease the time taken to answer a call by 25%
Key result 2- Increase efficiency when it comes to customer details by 35%
Objective- Helping customers resolve complaints
Key result 1- Increase troubleshooting chats by 10%
Key result 2- Increase the customer satisfaction score by 20%
If you want to check more OKR examples for Customer Success, please visit here.
Steps for Implementation of OKRs:
- Set: While documenting your OKRs, be specific and clear. Ideally, keep them neither too easy nor too difficult.
- Track: Tracking the progress of OKRs is as important as setting them in the first place. Make sure you regularly track and check everyone’s progress. Use One-on-One meetings to engage your employees.
- Review: Things in an organization can change quickly. Adaptability is the need of the hour, and therefore it’s advisable to review the OKRs regularly and make changes wherever needed. For example, COVID-19 forced organizations to change their long and short-term goals. The organizations that didn’t adapt and changed their goals on time perished or on the verge of it.
To learn more, please visit ‘How to implement OKR framework’.
What are SMART goals?
SMART criteria for goal setting is attributed to Peter Drucker’s framework ‘Management by Objectives.’
In 1981, George T. Doran used it for the first time and showed the world the advantages of using SMART goals. For starters, unlike other frameworks, SMART is a simple structure for creating and tracking the progress of goals.
SMART stands for:
A- Achievable or Attainable
T- Time-Bound or Time-limited
How SMART goals are utilized
Let’s have a look at how SMART goals are created using each element.
It all starts here. Writing a clear description of what needs to be achieved will make your SMART goals specific and understandable for everyone contributing to the process.
For example: Increase blog traffic.
This is a tough part. Why? To know if a goal is achieved, we need to measure it. Setting specific metrics and targets is the right way to go ahead.
For example: Increase blog traffic by 25%.
Given the resources, given the time, and given the possibilities, take your time to set goals that can be achieved in reality. You don’t have to keep easy goals, just attainable ones.
For example: Let’s say a 25% traffic increase is too much to ask for right now. How about, Increase blog traffic by 5%.
Setting achievable targets is likely to produce better results.
It is where the magic happens. The ultimate goal of every employee is to contribute to the growth of the organization. If your goal isn’t relevant to the mission, it makes no sense to have it.
For example: Increase blog traffic by 5% to reach our monthly sales target of X figure.
Goals work when they focus on the bigger picture.
The sole purpose of starting something is to get you to end it and end it with positive results. A time-Bound goal means having a start date and an end date.
For example: Increase blog traffic by 5% in 30 days to reach our monthly sales target of X figure.
The above goal is now a SMART one that has vision, scope, and deadline.
OKR vs SMART goals (The Similarities)
Before we start with the differences, let’s have a look at some of the similarities.
- Both focus on goals as the key element for the success of any organization or business. It is the reason why both have a goal-setting process that’s enabled by a plan to achieve results in stipulated time.
- Both focus on being specific rather than having vague goals or expectations.
- Both are measurable, time-bound, and achievable.
- Both are open-source and aren’t under a government body like the EFQM model.
OKR vs SMART goals (The Differences)
From far away, OKRs and SMART goals look similar. They both focus on goal-setting and tracking progress. However, look closer, and see you will see that there is a whole lot of difference. SMART goals work in isolation, whereas OKRs can work out of it on a company-wide level.
SMART goals have different interpretations depending upon the team or individual using the structure. For example, M as ‘Measurable’ can be replaced by Meaningful, Mission, Motivational, etc. Similarly, A as ‘Achievable’ can be replaced by ‘Attainable’ depending upon the need.
Replacing ‘Measurable’ with Motivational will have an impact on the focus of a SMART goal. It also takes away focus from measuring and tracking the process. Thus, we can see that SMART goals are better suited to individuals or small teams for setting minor goals.
OKRs, on the other hand, no matter the premise, always focuses on setting Objectives and achieving the Key Results for them. The focus of OKR remains constant on setting goals and measuring them effectively.
Which one should you pick?
SMART goals are easy to create, remember, and use. But it isn’t really a framework. More like a structure that’s suitable for creating goals in a closed setting. OKRs are better as they work for different hierarchical levels in an organization. With OKRs, the entire organization can align the three sets of goals (Individual, Team, and Organizational goals) towards a common purpose.
You can use both of them together in your organization. To make your OKRs smarter, focus on three things:
- Keep specific objectives.
- Keep the Key Results measurable.
- Development of plans to achieve those objectives.
How Keka will benefit your Goal Management ambitions
Whether you are adopting a goal-setting tool for the first time or the umpteenth time, it’s better to have something that will do all the work for you and save you time, resources, and money.
To learn more about the only platform that handles traditional goals and OKRs smartly, visit Keka.
Sign up for a FREE demo!
Join 3500 of your HR peers and stay relevant on latest trends
Don’t miss out on the latest tips, tools, and tactics at the forefront of HR and Employee