How Does The OKR Framework Support Employee Development?

OKR Framework

OKR Framework

In 2012, Adobe, the world-famous computer software company, ended annual performance reviews. The managers spent long hours on the reviews and still could not retain talented people. Those reviews were ineffective in engaging employees and promoting their development.

Implementing the OKR framework was challenging, but the company decided to execute it because it aligned well with its values – exceptional, genuine, innovative, and involved. They adopted continuous performance management and ditched the old methods.

They focused on three main things at the start – quarterly OKRs, regular feedback, and career development. Leaders would be directly evaluating employees with one-to-one conversations and giving constructive feedback. Adobe used OKRs to establish clarity on organizational objectives and enable their people to align their work.

Let’s see how companies that successfully use OKRs support employee career development.

See how the OKR framework facilitates employee development

Facilitating employee development at work requires clearly defined goals first. If your people cannot see any meaning behind their work, they become disengaged, and their morale decreases.

Clearly defined goals

People in most organizations struggle to align their work with the business goals and values because companies don’t focus on communicating them well down the organization. If adapted well, the OKR framework does an excellent job of aligning the employees’ day-to-day work with the essential business goals.

People become engaged at work when they can clearly see how their work contributes to the business outcomes. OKRs are transparent, and everyone can see each other’s objectives anytime. Workers now understand the skills and resources required to achieve their objectives and key results. With OKR software, they can access tangible metrics of their and their team’s achievements.

Continuous conversations and feedback

OKRs facilitate ongoing conversations between team members by giving them shared objectives. Leaders must also participate in these conversations and help employees improve by providing timely feedback.

Not just that, people can request feedback directly from their leaders with OKR software. These ongoing fruitful conversations, combined with stretch goals, facilitate personal and professional growth.

Better teamwork

Shared interests and goals are an inherent part of successful teams. The OKR framework is an enhanced version of goal-setting for small and large groups.

Transparency in the system also fosters internal networking. People are more likely to help each other when they share responsibilities.

Aspirational nature of OKRs

Businesses need aspirational goals more than ever. This is the era where people have seen many companies grow by three digits. It is not doing everything that has helped them scale but doing a few things with profound focus.

OKRs are stretched goals that push the team to focus on business priorities and align their work with them. Motivated and engaged people must manage their BAU (Business as usual) with the OKRs. They are accountable for their goals and take multiple initiatives to learn and grow their skill set. They collaborate with other people, make time to learn new things, and achieve KRs (milestones).

Self-assessment and reflection with OKRs

The OKR framework is simple and objective, but it does not mean it cannot be used to evaluate individual performance subjectively. It’s not only about the numbers with KRs. You have to know the quality of your work too. Think about how successful your efforts turned out in achieving the KRs.

After each OKR cycle, you should reflect on your performance and evaluate what you did wrong, what you could do better, whether you did do what matters, etc. This kind of self-evaluation helps develop new skills and enhance existing ones while staying on the right track toward self-development.

OKR Champions or Shepherds

The adoption of any new management framework is never smooth. There is a varying level of individual capabilities and prejudices when a new system is implemented. The OKR framework is no exception. 

Top leaders need some managers to take the responsibility of implementing OKRs effectively throughout the organization. They will be convincing, coaching, and enabling people to execute their work effectively, aligning with the OKRs.

When you delegate this responsibility to some managers, they become better leaders and managers while adding more skills to their careers.

Transparency in the system

If you are using the OKR framework, you must make it transparent. An employee in a company must be able to see OKRs from a CEO down to the most junior workers.

The cloud-based software platform supports this transparency. When individuals start working with OKRs, they must align their work and priorities with the organizational objectives. That also means that individuals share some objectives in different departments.

The shared accountability towards common objectives facilitates cross-departmental collaboration and helps in strengthening internal networks. This collaboration trains individuals in soft and hard skills and makes them better team people.

Adopting the OKR framework takes some work. You must train your people, experiment, align the business strategy with goals, and more. If you want someone to guide you and provide an OKR management platform, then we’re right here. 

Reach out to us to discuss how you can support employee development through the OKR framework. 


1. What are some other practices that support employee development?

Organizations should support employee development to engage and enable them to enhance their performance.

Here are some ways to support employee growth and development:

  • Acknowledge the good work,

Bidirectional and ongoing feedback, and conversations

  • Give significant importance to soft skills as well
  • Give some autonomy at work
  • Provide flexibility in terms of working hours
  • Provide coaching and mentoring

2. What are the benefits of employee development for an organization?

It’s your team that makes or breaks your business. Let’s see how your business can benefit from people’s development.

  • Facilitates innovation
  • The team learns to work well together
  • Helps in engaging employees and retaining them
  • Helps employees find purpose at work
  • Gives you a competitive advantage
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Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

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