OKR Software Tools: Best Solutions for 2020

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Results. Few things seem to matter more in the business world than the results you produce. But before you start focusing on results, you first need to know what you’re trying to accomplish and why, which lets you achieve proper alignment across teams, departments and your entire organization. That’s where OKR software comes in. Often included as a component of HR software, it enables you more effectively reach your goals while avoiding the time wasted on manually tracking team objectives and key results (OKRs). In this article, we’ll cover some OKR specifics to set you up for success, and then we’ll look at five leading OKR tools to help speed up your evaluation process.

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Best OKR Software Tools

What are OKRs?

OKRs, which stands for objectives and key results, are a method of goal setting and progress tracking that helps align the goals of businesses and employees alike. Objectives are the outcomes you’re shooting to achieve, while the key results are the measurable ways you know you’re on track to reach them.

An objective helps answer the question, “Where do I want to go?” A key result helps answer, “How will I know I’m getting there?”

Aligning objectives and key results for business and employee goals can get complicated, especially on large, dispersed teams that rely more heavily on unified processes to accomplish goals. OKR software brings organization to the process, enabling users to collaborate and automate some of the tasks involved. Sound useful? Many of today’s businesses think so.

Examples

To achieve your objectives, it’s important that your goals or intentions are followed by a concrete, timebound and measurable milestone. Here are a few examples:

Objective: Create awareness among youths of a new game app introduced in the market.

Key Results:

  • 500 downloads in the first week, achieved through running ads on the social media platforms where the target audience spends the most time.
  • 200 reviews that are 4+ stars.
  • Sales of $1,000 in the first week, generated by leveraging offers on e-commerce websites such as Amazon or Flipkart.

Objective: Successfully recover revenue losses that occurred due to lockdown.

Key Results:

  • Regaining the same percentage of market share.
  • 10 more verticals created that target specific geographic regions with respective local strategies.
  • Doubled manufacturing production for the quarter that offset lockdown delays.

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How to Set Up OKRs

OKRs that work depend on successful implementation. Setting up an OKR is not an easy task. Here are some steps to follow to ensure you get the most out of your OKRs.

  1. At a team level, you need to reflect where you are and what goals you want to achieve. Using that information, you can define your key objectives.
  2. Set a time period during which you’ll measure your OKRs. Monthly, quarterly and yearly goals are some of the common ways to segment your measurements.
  3. Next, you need to communicate those expectations. Depending on your role, this can happen within a team or across the organization. Making objectives transparent with employees and co-workers will encourage them to actively participate.
  4. Once you have your OKR structure in place, it’s time to evaluate progress regularly to see if employees are working in alignment with the defined objectives. Finally, it’s important to analyze and track the results.

Ways to Track OKRs

If you are a startup or have a smaller team, there are free ways to track OKRs. One common method is to use Google Docs or Sheets as simple tools to measure progress against your goals.

There’s also the tried-and-true handwritten method. You can put your OKRs down on paper or a whiteboard and manually update progress as you go. That’s probably the least effective option, but if you’re running a small enough operation or can’t afford online tools, it can work.

Lastly, a quick Google search can turn up plenty of OKR templates that might suit your needs well.

If your organization is larger, free tools likely aren’t the best options. Tracking OKRs can be difficult at scale, and the headaches that OKR software can prevent are well worth the investment.

How to Select the Right Software

Setting up your OKRs is only part of the process. If you’ve decided you’re best off purchasing a tool to manage, the most crucial step in starting with OKRs is to find the most suitable OKR software for your organization. There are multiple products out there – standalone solutions and tools integrated into larger HR software suites. Choosing the right one is the key to realizing all the benefits an OKR tool offer.

In order to get there, it’s important to ask a few questions.

  • Is the software affordable?
  • Can its capabilities engage users during the entire OKR cycle?
  • Is it easy to use, without unnecessary complexities or too many features.
  • Does it reinforce best practices that focus on outcomes?

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Top 5 OKR Software Tools

If you want to organize your company goals while reaching them quicker than ever, take a look at these five useful OKR tools:

15Five

15Five, a cloud-based performance management software, tracks individual, department and company-wide objectives, and aligns them according to priorities. You can remotely manage teams by maintaining collaboration and productivity. It offers features such as high-fives, which enable recognition and appreciation that increase engagement, along with self-reviews to help employees grow with relevant 360-degree feedback and forward-looking reviews. Weekly check-ins help you get a pulse on team morale and performance.

15Five is available via mobile app on iOS and Android devices. It’s suitable for all business sizes across many sectors including financial services, healthcare, retail and more.

15Five

15Five Objectives Dashboard (Caption: A visual view of objectives on 15Five’s dashboard screen.

Top Benefits

  • API Integrations: 15Five integrates with HRIS platforms like BambooHR and Namely, keeping relevant employee information updated. It also integrates with Slack, enabling seamless communication.
  • Native Mobile Apps: Mobile apps for iOS and Android devices enables work to happen from anywhere. You can complete questionnaires, create and add notes to 1-on-1 meetings, give and receive high fives, view and update the status of OKRs, and keep track of the dashboard metrics.
  • Psychological Questions: With strengths-based questions, you can inspire positive psychology and cultivate unique strengths for your employees. The solution provides a holistic picture of employee growth and development that enables support at every step.
  • Uniform Self-Review Dashboard: A single dashboard manages and tracks self-reviews for all employees. HR can view company-wide progress, send reminders and drill down into every performance review. Employees can see their progress and managers can send reminders to complete reviews on time.
  • Visibility: 15Five facilitates visibility by providing a feed display where all appreciation and recognition across the organization are captured. It shows who gave and received the most employee appreciation over a given period. This works well for remote teams who often lose out on recognition, helping keep them motivated, engaged and happy.

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Key Features

  • OKR Goals: This feature lets you set up individual, department and company-wide objectives, as well as structure performance management processes. You can share the status of the objective each week so everyone knows whether it’s on track, at risk or behind. Progress on key results is updated throughout the timeframe, keeping team members aware of each other’s progress.
  • Reporting and Analytics: 15Five allows collection of feedback and employee performance data, which gets viewed, responded and passed up to higher management, and then analyzed to gain strategic insights.
  • Feedback Management: Replace long reports, email threads and spreadsheets with a handful of feedback questions, and set up weekly communication between managers and employees.You need to spend just 15 minutes a week to answer questions and update the status of your OKRs.
  • 1-on-1s: This meeting agenda tool makes it easy to plan and execute effective 1-on-1s with every employee. You can add responses to individual meetings and record the most critical learnings all in one place.
  • Actionable Insights: 15Five allows you to filter, drill down and export insights on objectives, such as the initiative owner, the status, the timeframe for completion and manager feedback, all of which lead to informed decisions.

Limitations

  • 15Five does not integrate with MS Outlook calendar and has limited integration with other software.
  • There’s no statistical feature for goals.
  • The platform does not allow stocks to be deleted.
Price: N/A
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Company Size Suitability: S M L

Lattice

Another strong OKR tool is Lattice, a cloud-based performance management suite that caters to the needs of medium and large enterprises. It provides 360-degree performance review cycles, engagement surveys and tracking of OKR goals. You can praise each other to celebrate wins, gather real-time feedback and encourage 1-on-1 meetings.

With Lattice, you can set up objectives for individual employees and track results until completion. Built-in analytic tools let teams view all tasks in progress through graphs.

Lattice Goals

A view of company goal progress and associated owner(s) in Lattice.

Top Benefits

  • Native Mobile Apps: Lattice has a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. It allows feedback, praise of an employee, a view of employee objectives and 1-on-1 conversations with historical and directional context.
  • Security: The solution provides the highest standards of data privacy and security with regular penetration testing and security reviews. It is GDPR compliant and encrypts data at rest and in transit. Lattice uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) and gets monitored by 24/7 security, biometric scanning and video surveillance.
  • API Integration: Lattice integrates with different systems like HRIS, communication and calendar tools, and G Suite.
  • Real-Time Insights: The solution drives action and measures the impact of activities with a continuous, real-time display of employee engagement.
  • Support: You don’t have to worry about being left high and dry with a system you don’t understand. The vendor provides support throughout your journey, from onboarding to adoption of the software.

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Key Features

  • Performance Reviews: With 360-degree feedback, you can ensure every employee has the required inputs that drive individual and company growth. Lattice provides employee-centric performance reviews that concentrate on individual results and allow feedback from peers and managers.
  • Feedback Management: This feature builds a real-time talent management system. Employees can gain valuable and actionable information to improve performance and feel more engaged.
  • OKR Goals: The solution drives performance by setting objectives and tracking the key results. With reporting and analytics tools, you can visualize data and uncover insights to make decisions about employees and organizational performance.
  • Status Updates: This feature provides employees with a list of questions every week to see what they’re working on, how they’re feeling and where they require assistance. An employee can share their status publicly or privately. The public status allows everyone at the company to stay informed about what everyone is working on. In private updates, managers stay notified via 1-on-1 updates about their team members.
  • Employee Recognition: The solution helps employees acknowledge each other for their efforts and allows public praise through a praise wall that celebrates wins together.

Limitations

  • Users cannot give private feedback to multiple people. If multiple co-workers are selected then it will automatically make the feedback public.
  • The software doesn’t allow a bulk set up for 1-on-1s, requiring them to be set individually.
  • The autosave feature slows down when answering multiple-choice questions.
Price: $$$$$
Deployment:
Platform:

Company Size Suitability: S M L

7Geese

Next up, 7Geese, a cloud-based performance management suite that provides objectives and key results with continuous feedback, coaching and peer recognition to improve the performance of employees across the organization.

Designed for small, medium and large-sized businesses, it keeps employees aligned and engaged. With a clear picture of the progress of objectives, individual efforts are easily recognizable and visible, building a strong culture and organizational values. It caters to companies in IT, environmental services, telecommunications, consumer services, eLearning and more.

7Geese Recognition Center

A feed showing high performers in 7Geese.

Top Benefits

  • Goals Management: 7Geese provides real-time updates and tracking of OKRs. This provides transparency and keeps employees motivated and engaged in their roles. Managers can understand how employees are performing and take immediate action to ensure everyone is on track.
  • Succession Planning: The software assists in finding employees that are ready for new opportunities and helps managers actively support team development.
  • Native Mobile Apps: You can view and update OKRs on the go with Android and iOS apps. And if you’re an iOS user, you can also send peer recognition.
  • API Integrations: 7Geese integrates with different software like HRIS, communication apps, business apps and calendars, with single sign-on to simplify the login process.

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Key Features

  • OKRs: You can drive higher goal achievement by setting objectives with metric-driven key results at the employee, department and organizational level. Strategic objectives can be aligned from top to bottom or vice versa.
  • Feedback Management: The solution ensures employee growth through 360-degree feedback. Employees can provide direct feedback and understand their work from multiple perspectives to be sure of their strengths and weaknesses. Managers are equipped with tools to have conversations around the growth and performance of employees.
  • Analytics: With analytical capabilities, you can understand and make data-driven decisions. Dashboards provide quick, easy views of feedback, survey responses and other key metrics, letting you make proactive decisions and track the career progression of employees.
  • Customizable Templates: 7Geese provides customizable templates to launch feedback and engagement surveys. Each question in the template provides data-driven employee insights.
  • Performance Reviews: This feature allows performance reviews, which elevates performance across an organization. The tool populates employee performance data that enables performance conversations. The review process is always trackable to make sure everyone is on track throughout the review cycle. The compiled results can be analyzed with graphs and data tables.

Limitations

  • The software lacks integration with Asana.
  • Its 1-on-1 feature does not allow you to add or remove questions from a template on an upcoming date.
  • The system doesn’t support assigning multiple managers for one person.
Price: $$$$$
Deployment:
Platform:

Company Size Suitability: S M L

Ally

Ally’s OKR, a cloud-based software used for goal-setting and business performance management, serves all types of businesses. It enables the alignment of teams to work together for individual objectives towards common goals. Companies can create and update OKRs to understand the performance of employees at all levels of the organization. The software integrates with productivity tools like Slack to update and share the progress of OKRs.

Ally Company OKRs

A visual layout of company goals in Ally.

Top Benefits

  • OKR Training: Ally provides instructor-led and on-demand training for employees, team managers, senior management and OKR champions.
  • API Integrations: The system integrates with business applications, authentication providers and HRIS. It syncs data from different HRIS systems and provisions OKR access. You can update OKR progress automatically with existing workflows and tools.
  • Native Mobile Apps: Ally has native mobile apps for both iOS and Android users and is accessible on all popular web browsers. You can browse objectives, make check-ins and leave comments.
  • Program Management Support: With end-to-end process management, you can ensure your OKR rollout and ongoing program is a success.
  • Customer Support: Ally provides standard and premium support for its customers. With standard support you can get chat, phone, email, help center and online resources, whereas premium support includes consultations and technical assistance to implement custom integrations.

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Key Features

  • OKRs: Create OKRs for different levels of the organization and virtual teams. The feature supports workflow approval processes and multi-alignment for OKRs. Users can automatically update the progress of objectives by integrating with tools like Jira, Smartsheet or VSTS.
  • Alignment Visualization: A built-in dashboard visualizes alignment and tracks results by compiling information on how each employee contributes to goals. You can drill down at any time and see where employee work fits into company goals.
  • Performance Tracking: Track the performance of an employee, team or company with scores based on completed OKRs and compare to previous quarters or years. The software allows you to send updates via web, mobile or Slack. It also allows delegating OKR updates to others.
  • Feedback Management: Ally supports giving and receiving feedback in real time while improving communications among employees. Feedback is given by scoring on accomplishments for key results, based on the progress of the success metric or achievement of the key results.
  • Actionable Insights:An analytics platform strengthens transparency and accountability through flexible reporting and data-driven insights. It provides visual clarity to help you understand performance and progress against goals.

Limitations

  • The software does not provide a consolidated view of the status of all company OKRs.
  • The software does not allow bulk upload of a team’s quarterly OKRs.
  • The connection with Google Sheets is lost when cells change.
Price: $$$$$
Deployment:
Platform:

Company Size Suitability: S M L

Leapsome

Suitable for small, medium and large enterprises, Leapsome ensures employee engagement and the success of an organization with its cloud-based platform. It allows continuous performance management monitoring and personalized learning.

Leapsome combines tools for goals and OKRs management, performance reviews, employee engagement surveys, 1-on-1 meetings, team check-ins and more into one platform.

Leapsome Analytics

Analytics metrics in Leapsome.

Top Benefits

  • Automated Reviews: You can create review templates and timelines that can be reused across review cycles and set to recur on their own.
  • Actionable Insights: Track performance changes over time and compare teams, departments or individuals across specific skills. Succession planning and target training investments enable employee career development. Leapsome’s survey analytics also allows for tracking changes in engagement levels and indicators, such as the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), over time.
  • Anonymous Discussions: You can strike up an anonymous conversation with survey respondents on their specific answers to gain a detailed understanding of their needs.
  • Employee Onboarding: The solution creates company-wide learning paths for new hires to build the required functional skills and ensure employees are progressing without being overloaded. You can set a learning schedule for new hires with a fixed timeline and automatically drip release new learning content at specific times.
  • Security: The software follows industry-standard data security policies and is GDPR compliant. All communications are SSL-encrypted and all data is encrypted in Leapsome’s database with the AES-256 algorithm.

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Key Features

  • Team Alignment: You can design a goal tree and visualize it in a dashboard. It relates individual, team and company goals to one another and highlights ownerships and dependencies so you can meet objectives.
  • OKRs Management: Create alignment, accountability and transparency across your organization by promoting collaboration on goals at all levels. You can set up recurring goal cycles with fixed timelines and share feedback on goals. The software sends automatic progress updates and tracking reminders.
  • 1-on-1 Meetings: This feature assists in conducting 1-on-1 meetings to collaborate on shared agendas, and it allows access to goals and feedback at any time. A customizable meeting structure lets you add talking points ahead of the meeting. The meeting notes can be added under talking points to track discussions and decisions.
  • Surveys: You can measure the pulse of your company’s culture with Leapsome’s employee engagement surveys. The surveys can be set to anonymous or identifiable and get implemented across the company, for leadership only or for specific teams. The software lets you create custom questions and also has ready-to-use templates. Recorded responses can be analyzed to uncover insights and improve engagement drivers.
  • Employee Recognition: This feature allows peer recognition through a praise wall. Employees can praise their colleagues for their work by sending public praise, which is visible to the rest of the company.

Limitations

  • There are no native mobile apps.
Price: $$$$$
Deployment:
Platform:

Company Size Suitability: S M L

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Conclusion

All the products we’ve looked at – for the most part – allow you to create an easy-to-follow path towards achieving your goals. What it comes down to, then, are two main factors: how does the solution organize your OKRs, and what additional features does it offer you? In the end, an ORK software comparison should lead you to choose a system with tools that most effectively meet your business needs and support your employees.

What features are you trying to find in OKR software and why? Drop us comment on your business needs and we’ll answer all your questions.

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