Adjusting OKRs and KPIs for the next new normal

Blog, Paycheck Protection Program & Coronavirus Resources

In every business, metrics and analytics are claiming center stage. Sales, marketing, performance and productivity are all measured through your Objectives and Key Results and your Key Performance Indicators. Keep in mind that OKRs and KPIs are not the same thing.

  • OKRs are a framework for setting measurable goals for performance.
  • KPIs are used to assess performance for ongoing activities or processes.

In a sense, OKRs lay out what your company wants to achieve, and KPIs measure how close it is to its goals.

But when was the last time you thought about your OKRs and KPIs? If it was before COVID-19, it is time to revisit and adjust these key performance measures so they reflect the journey to a new normal. For example, before COVID-19, businesses operated on a 9-to-5 timetable. Few, if any, employees worked from home on a regular basis. Most business relationships were nurtured at in-person meetings and events. Employees were expected to adhere to dress codes. Then the pandemic happened and everything was turned upside down.

It is becoming clear that pre-COVID-19 business norms are not coming back. Here are some changes businesses are facing: For service businesses, this means a hybrid work week. For retail, it means maintaining a robust online presence. For manufacturers, it means finding new ways of sourcing materials, warehousing and distribution. No business has been left totally untouched.

So what does this mean for your company’s new OKRs and KPIs? It means they need to be focused and realistic. Consider these examples:


  • OKR: Improve antivirus coverage throughout the company.
  • KPI: Companywide, ensure all systems and devices have the latest version of antivirus software installed.
  • KPI: Provide training for what to do if a virus warning appears.

Sales and marketing

  • OKR: Increase the number of your Gen Z shoppers by 10% by 2023.
  • KPI: Develop relationships with three TikTok influencers by Q4 2022.
  • KPI: Increase the number of unique website visits by 1,500 per month.

Remote work or the transition back to the office

  • OKR: Provide a better employee experience.
  • KPI: Speak with one employee from each team per quarter to discuss the challenges their team is facing.
  • KPI: Develop and implement employee recognition program.
  • OKR: Judge performance on engagement and results, not hours at the office.
  • KPI: Enhance communications to remote staff to let them know their contributions are valued.
  • KPI: Train team leaders in how to provide feedback.

Accounting and finance

  • OKR: Create more transparent reporting systems.
  • KPI: Complete an internal audit by Q4 2021.
  • KPI: Build policies into systems so that employees understand the whys and the hows.

Your company’s strategic goals may not have changed, but the methods for achieving those goals need to be adjusted to reflect the uncertainties of the current business environment. Setting clear and achievable OKRs and KPIs and communicating them to everyone at the company is an excellent way of focusing on getting ready for the next new normal.


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