OKRs and human values

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a goal-setting tool used by individuals and teams to set ambitious goals that have measurable results. They are an effective strategy to keep individuals and teams on target to achieve aims and ambitions set out at the beginning of a project. 

A target with a heart as an arrow

Since OKRs are strategic, they are the ideal place to embed human values to ensure that goals are truly human-centered. The nature of writing objectives that have been informed by human values means they will be central to conversations when aligning on vision, tracking progress, and establishing measurable goals. They can help to bring value-driven decisions into the conversation.

How do I embed human values into my OKRs?

Human values can be written within an OKR specifically for a team, for individuals, or for self-development purposes. 

Example of a human-values driven objective

Step 1. Set an objective/s and timeframe (e.g. 3,6,12 months). To be most effective, objectives must be concrete, inspirational and action-oriented. The objective is the long(er) term ambition, as in the example below.

Objective: “Create a new digital feature which enables people to express their identity” 

This objective is aiming to fulfil the human value ‘Expressing myself’’

Step 2. Identify the stepping stones needed to achieve the objective, these are your key results. Effective key results are SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time bound). Most importantly, there should be no room for doubt. However, don’t worry about being too rigid with the key results as they can evolve over time as the work progresses. For example: 

Key Result 1 – Conduct qualitative research to understand what self expression means for the audience

Key Result 2 – Translate key findings from the qualitative research into a proposition for developing a prototype feature that helps audience members to express their identity. Write a proposition to increase confidence in self expression on our product

Key Result 3 – Build a prototype to test the new self expression feature

As you may note, the key results above create a plan of work that ensures the audience needs are at the core of the project. At the end of the specified period, evaluate the key results, and adapt if necessary in order to achieve the overall objective. Perhaps an unexpected finding in the research stage requires that further research is needed, or more time is required to create a prototype. In addition to ensuring the key results were achieved, it is also important to to assess the quality of the work.

Next steps

Why not use our human values self assessment tool ?