OKR vs KPI: Features, Benefits, and Applications

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Every business, small or big, must set goals to chart the path to progress. While establishing business goals is imperative for the growth of your business, it is equally important to choose the right methods for goal setting. When setting business goals and objectives, the two most common measurement tools that dominate a host of similar tools are Objective and Key Results (OKR) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). So let’s look into OKR vs KPI.

What Are OKRs

OKR is a framework for setting goals. It assists you in setting up goals specific to your business needs and environment. You can track the progress and the outcome. You can use this platform to establish long-term goals in days instead of months.

The OKR offers a flexible framework. But it can work more effectively for an organization when linked to OKRs of various divisions and teams. Many employees say they feel more driven at work if they know how their work contributes to the company’s goal. A driven team is likely to work harder and reach goals sooner, thus contributing to the organization’s overall growth.

What Are KPIs

KPIs are progress indicators that help track the journey toward a specific result. KPIs can be used to achieve operational and strategic progress. It can be used to create an analytical setup for making business decisions. You can focus on the key aspects that matter the most to your business.

KPIs offer many ways to use them. Just ensure the metrics you choose for each KPI are unique and relevant to the goal you are working to achieve. Example: Using the same KPI to track a marketing campaign and an HR project is definitely not the right move. You must research every relevant metric for various initiatives. This will help you measure pertinent targets and match to business goals.

OKR vs KPI: The Differences

The net outcome of measuring objectives using the OKR vs. the KPI method is generally similar. But in many cases, the intent behind them can be unique.

OKRs and KPIs are both performance management methods. Both assist businesses achieve what they want to achieve in different ways. OKRs offer a goal-setting structure, while KPIs can help track the performance related to those goals.

OKRs are constantly changing as the old ones are scrapped, updated, or renewed to sync with the current findings and needs of a business. As they are reviewed regularly, they remain aligned with the priorities of a business. KPIs, on the other hand, are static performance indicators. However, for organizations looking for more flexibility and dynamic goal-setting approaches, there are Culture Amp alternatives that offer customizable OKR frameworks to suit their specific needs and adapt to evolving business requirements.

According to industry experts, KPIs help in setting up reasonable goals. OKR projects are aggressive and ambitious.

The key difference between OKR vs KPI is in the following aspects


OKRs are associated with aggressive and ambitious goal-setting, alignment, and transparency. KPIs are used for evaluating the success of business activities related to specific projects, programs, etc.


While using OKRs, organizations can take a multi-layered approach to goal setting and serve as a comprehensive management tool. It covers a broader scope compared to KPIs, which generally find use in combination with other methodologies


OKRs and KPIs involve various timeframes, but their cycles differ. OKRs generally have quarterly cycles, while KPIs are used to track business performance metrics over a larger timeframe.


OKRs have a buildable feature with hierarchies linking various supportive OKRs. KPIs are mostly established at the same level, and all the metrics are viewed as equals in terms of importance.


OKRs are constantly changing as the old ones are scrapped, updated, or renewed to sync with the current findings and needs of a business. As they are reviewed regularly, they remain aligned with the priorities of a business. KPIs, on the other hand, are static performance indicators.



  • Ideal for achieving actionable goals using measurable components.
  • Based on the aspiration and long-term mission of the organization.
  • Measures broader, bolder, and more aggressive business goals.
  • Used for quarterly or yearly business goal analysis.
  • The goals can keep changing every cycle depending on the company’s plans and progress.



  • Provides data for tracking intended business goals.
  • Based on past performances and existing projects.
  • Measures stability and benchmarks.
  • Variable use completed at any point.
  • Metrics remain the same in most cases for months and even years.

A key differentiating factor finds that OKR performs as a motivational tool aimed at driving up performance levels among individual employees and team members. KPI, on the other hand, is purely a performance evaluation tool.

Is It A Smart Business Move to Combine OKRs and KPIs?

Yes, businesses can combine OKRs and KPIs, but there are a few things to remember while you are at it.

  • Align OKRs and KPIs to your organizational goals
  • Limit their numbers
  • Review them on a regular basis
  • Keep teams updated on OKR and KPI progress
  • Align your OKRs and KPIs to organizational goals


It is easy to overlook their compatibility while comparing OKRs and KPIs as they have different scopes, purposes, duration, and flexibility. However, it’s these very differences that make them compatible as well. You can address the operational issues of your business better by combining OKRs and KPIs. By applying best practices, it is possible to effectively manage your OKRs and KPIs and achieve strategic success.