As a versatile project manager and HR content writer, Michelle develops successful organizational development programs and shares insights with the world at large to facilitate healthy workplace cultures of diversity, inclusivity, and advancement. She has written about manager development, remote work, project & time management, employee well-being, and other relevant topics to help people excel in the modern workplace.
Pub: October 26 2020
Upd: November 11 2022
In this article, we walk you through the North Star methodology of planning goals and provide a free OKR template to help you determine what your company needs to hit its growth goals, and how to move forward on those steps.
Table of Contents:
- Breakdown of How Goals Cascade from North Star
- How do I set Objectives and Key Results
- How to Set and Track Your OKRs in Hirebook
Goals are important. But which goal is most important to your company’s growth and success? Whatever it is, think of this goal as your company’s North Star - its guiding light, so to speak. A North Star goal, just like Polaris, is the brightest star in the sky, a well-defined marker to help you navigate through darkness and uncertainty.
When people set goals, they’re often not doing it the right way. Their goals are scattered, or not grounded in reality, or too ambitious to the point where there’s no chance they will achieve that.
The North Star goal-setting methodology encourages you to think big, but also roots that ambition in reality. Since this goal needs to motivate and uplift your employees and inspire them to achieve greatness, think big about what you want to achieve or be known for within the upcoming years.
It can be difficult to put aspirational goals into measurable goals. The North Star goal-setting methodology helps to facilitate this by establishing one overarching goal, which guides the direction of the company which you can then break down into OKRs (objectives and key results).
One thing to note about North Star goals: they’re on a much longer timeline than OKRs. When setting a North Star goal, your leadership team should think about what goals they want to achieve over the next few years - not just the next few quarters.
North Star goals + OKRs are a winning strategy to develop and grow your company’s strategy and to put you on the pathway to success.
Here’s a breakdown of how your goals might cascade from your North Star:
North Star goal
Leadership team & upper management
Manager & team
Manager & employee
How Do I Set Objectives and Key Results?
Keep in mind that your North Star goal is only as useful as it is visible, which is why it should be integrated into your company’s OKRs.
Employees need insight into the ‘why’ of what they are doing. When your team shares your vision, your performance and engagement increase.
Follow these steps when converting your North Star goal into Objectives and Key Results:
1. Think about the actionable steps you need to achieve your North Star goal. How can you break this into smaller goals? These will be your company objectives.
For example, if your North Star goal is to become the most trusted software to track and analyze business expenses, your objectives might be:
- Become a thought leader in our industry
- Deliver new vertical solutions to our customer base
- Keep employee churn below 5%
2. Break these steps down even further into measurements of success for your objectives.
For example: if your objective is to become a thought leader in your industry, your Key Results might be:
- Gain more media coverage on future initiatives
- Speak at 3 conferences each quarter
- Create an article for HBR
3. Determine the period of time for each OKR. Will they be measured on a monthly, weekly, or quarterly basis? This helps you set expectations and course-correct as necessary. From here, you can set up meetings on a cadence to review OKRS to understand if they are on track, behind, or at risk.
Remember that OKRs, by nature, are aspirational. This means that a completion rate between 70-100% means that you’re doing a great job! In fact, if you’re consistently reaching between 90-100% completion for your OKRs, you might want to consider setting more aspirational OKRs.
This free OKR template is designed to help you narrow down your North Star goal and set OKRs in an easy to understand way.
How to Set and Track Your OKRs in Hirebook
Now that you’ve identified your North Star goal and have identified company Objectives and Key Results, it’s time to start tracking them. Hirebook makes the process of setting OKRs relatively simple and painless with a three-tier approach to setting OKRs.
By following the North Star methodology, you are taking a top-down approach to OKR setting. This means you can break your North Star into company OKRs which cascade into team and individual OKRs.
Alternatively, you can take a bottom-up approach to OKR setting, where you set individual OKRs while keeping the North Star goal in mind. Most of your objectives, whether they are top-down or bottom-up, should track back to the North Star to ensure maximum alignment.
When you input your Objectives and Key Results into Hirebook, reflect back on the OKR goal template that you created or think about the following: What have you identified as the most important items to work on in the next 3-4 months? Input your objective and set the owner to ‘organization’ and enter the target due date. You can label this as the parent goal, which allows other OKRs to track back to this one.
Then it’s time to enter your key results for this objective. What are the three to five most important indicators for your objective? These measurements reflect whether or not you are on track to achieve your goal.
Everyone in the organization can view the objectives and key results, as well as the progress being made. This transparency helps increase motivation and engagement throughout the company.
Team OKRs follow the same process for setting company OKRs, only with different viewing permissions. Team OKRs are team-specific and clarify how each team will work towards achieving the company’s goals. Managers are able to edit these as needed, while employees can update their progress on key results.
Individual OKRs are the last piece of the puzzle. These explain how an individual’s day to day work connects to team OKRs, company OKRs, and finally, the North Star goal. Both managers and employees can view and edit these as needed. Managers can view progress on their dashboard to identify which projects are on track and which might be at risk.
This combination of North Star goals and OKRs is a valuable framework to set and achieve company goals, and it’s even more powerful when combined with Hirebook’s OKR function. Hirebook’s easy to use interface combined with powerful reporting makes it easier to stay on top of goals that lead to strategic company growth.
By defining clear goals that push you and hold you accountable, you can stay focused on the things that matter most.
We sincerely hope that our OKR goal template makes it easy for you to assign and cascade objectives and key results. When setting your North Star goal and company OKRs, try Hirebook for free to see how our dynamic software can lead your team towards growth.
Photo credit - tirachardz
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