Beginner's guide to OKR: Everything you need to know

10x your organization's growth like Google with the right OKRs. This guide covers the best practices of setting, implementing and reviewing OKRs as well as general FAQs


min read

Larry Page, the former CEO of Alphabet  and co-founder of Google, publicly claimed in John Doerr’s book “Measure What Matters” that — 

OKRs have helped lead us to 10x growth, many times over. They’ve helped make our crazily bold mission of 'organizing the world’s information' perhaps even achievable. They've kept me and the rest of the company on time and on track when it mattered the most.

To learn how to use OKRs for 10x growth in your company too, keep reading!

What is an OKR?

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results (OKR), a popular leadership tool for setting, distributing, and monitoring short and long term goals and results that align organizational purpose with individual targets across all levels. OKRs are frequently set, regularly tracked, and modified periodically. There are several aspects of OKRs that organizations need to understand to facilitate impact. This guide will help you navigate through several resources on the entire OKR lifecycle. 

Components of OKRs

Before we move on to the different considerations of OKRs, let’s quickly understand the 3 key components of any OKR which you must refer to when writing OKRs for your organization. John Doerr, one of the most prominent venture capitalists, who introduced Google to OKRs, uses a simple formula for setting Objectives and Key Results— 

okr framework

Typically, an OKR framework must have 3 parts to be effective — an objective, 3-4 key results, and key initiatives (optional).

1. Objectives (where do I want to go?)

The objectives constitute the qualitative goals to be achieved on organizational, team, and/or individual levels. Objectives must be aspirational, time-bound, easily understood, actionable, and qualitative.

2. Key Results (how to ensure I am getting there?)

Each key objective must be complemented with 3-4 clearly defined measurable results that are aspirational but achievable and quantifiable. Key results determine whether an objective has been achieved or not. Key results can be characterized by their levels of difficulty, thus acting as a milestone.

For example, 

Key result 1: Quantifiable target that can be achieved with 90% certainty.

Key result 2: Quantifiable target that can be achieved with 50% certainty.

Key result 3: Quantifiable target that can be achieved with 25% certainty.

Former Yahoo CEO Merissa Mayer defines key results by their quantifiability —  “It’s not a Key Result unless it has a number.”

3. Initiatives (how to get there?)

The third component is the initiative or projects which constitutes a series of tasks or actions that you need to undertake to reach where you want to go. This clearly illustrates the how to compliment your why of objectives.

Setting OKRs and OKR implementation

Now that you understand the importance of OKRs for your organization, it is time to explore how you can leverage them for growth. You need to adopt a robust process for setting OKRs as well as for smooth OKR implementation. Your plan or process should focus on:

  • Accountability, where you have one person responsible for implementing and managing OKRs — known as OKR Master or OKR Champion or OKR Ambassador
  • Revision, with a system (preferably a software or tool) in place that helps you shift your OKRs as and when needed, generally mid-quarter
  • Cadence, where company-wide goals usually take an annual approach, while team / departmental goals require quarterly cadence to remain effective in an agile environment.

How to create a Robust OKR Process: Read this article, for a detailed understanding on OKR cycle, which includes tips on:

1. Setting OKRs effectively

To illustrate top goals and priorities, based on collective brainstorming which are ambitious yet achievable, measurable and validate them too. 

OKR Setting Template: Refer to this template for setting OKRs effectively.

2. Communicating OKRs across the Organization

Explicitly communicate/ roll out your OKRs and initiatives to highlight the responsibility of each team member and build organization-wide visibility using the right platforms. 

3. OKR implementation to drive alignment

Start OKR implementation and the onboarding process with an OKR training module and make it easy to access OKRs, giving your employees real time visibility.

OKR Implementation Template: Use this template for more understanding

4. Robust Check-ins for OKR Tracking

Ensure regular check-ins for tracking OKRs by setting a regular cadence, focusing on achievement, blockers/enablers, using automated OKR progress reports, AI recommendations, etc. 

OKR Tracking Template: Use this template for tracking OKRs with efficacy.

Run Successful Weekly OKR Check-ins and Quarterly OKR check-ins: Check out these actionable Playbooks to improve your check-in process immediately

5. Grading OKRs for Success

Set regular review cycles with clear data points to facilitate retrospective OKR analysis and decide which OKRs need to be continued for the next OKR cycle and create new ones.

OKR Grading Template: Use this grading template for grading OKRs for your organization.

Types of OKRs

Prior to moving to the next section on OKR review, here is a quick snapshot of how you can set different levels of OKRs:

1. Company OKRs

Define the company-wide vision and break company strategy down to company OKRs i.e. 3-4 specific targets your company must achieve within the next year.

Include representatives from all levels while setting company OKRs to help the management understand what resources and support their employees need to achieve those OKRs on time. 

2. Team OKRs

Team OKRs are set quarterly by team managers with direct inputs from team members and other teams’ leaders. Not every company-wide OKR needs to be reflected in every team’s OKRs. 

Team OKRs should help all employees stay focused on their goals despite the distraction of urgent, impromptu work needs. 

Strategic Goal Alignment: How to Align Teams Using OKRs: Check out this article for to understand how to facilitate team OKR alignment.  

3. Individual OKRs

Individual OKRs are usually the initiatives that each individual team member must complete Weekly. Individual OKRs are only for high priority tasks and should not exceed 3, and must not become another checklists

OKR review

Simply setting and implementing OKRs is not enough, you need to constantly ensure OKR review to track your progress against each objective and key result and eventually, identify enablers and blockers to accelerate progress. 

How to Run a Successful OKR Progress Review: Read this article to identify all the necessary steps and best practices for OKR review. It includes:

- Three cycles, of OKRs i.e. 

  1. Weekly to maintain continuity and encourage real time updates
  2. Quarterly to get a more expansive view on performance progress 
  3. Annually to facilitate OKR grading and setting new OKRs

- Insights on how to prepare for different OKR review cycle for before, during and after the meeting

- Top 15 questions to ask during OKR review meetings

OKR examples

To help you get a practical understanding of what OKRs look like, we have compiled a few OKR examples. Since different teams have different OKRs, this quick snapshot captures broad guidelines for several business verticals, which can be refined for others as well.

okr examples

Sales OKR Example: How to Write OKRs for Sales Team: This article will help you set specific OKRs for the sales team by focusing on:

  • How to write OKRs for sales team, with 6 steps
  • Top sales OKR examples for different stages of the sales cycle including lead generation, nurturing, closure and post sales

OKR software

Getting started with OKRs on your own can be daunting at first. With multiple priorities around you, it is best to partner with some OKR software which can help you automate processes, build organization-wide OKR visibility, drive accountability, track real-time progress and much more. However, you are bound to have several apprehensions about OKR software if you are just starting. 

To start with, you need to create buy-in for OKR software. This involves creating a business case. 

Should Your Business Invest in OKR Software? See the ROI: This article details the business impact of OKR software by helping you understand the potential return on investment. Explore the article to understand:

  • The ROI of Goal Management using OKRs (real statistics of org-wide improvement)
  • How an OKR software makes a difference
  • How you can calculate the ROI of an OKR software

It will help you gauge the qualitative and quantitative aspects of your return on investment and enable you to take your first step towards partnering with an OKR software.

Once you have secured leadership buy-in, the next is following a process driven approach to choose the right OKR software. You need to make sure that the OKR software you choose is a perfect fit for not only your current needs, but can also help you in the future. 

OKR Software: A Guide To Choosing The Best One: This article can help you make an informed choice. Explore its different sections to understand:

  • The 8 critical steps for making an informed choice like clarity of goals, team size, integrations, required features, budget, etc.
  • The 4 questions that you must ask for each OKR software you take into consideration, especially around scale, OKR tracking etc.  

Now that you have a broad understanding of what are the factors you should keep in mind while choosing your OKR software, you need to start exploring the market for the options available. 

11 Best OKR Software You Need to Know About (2022 Edition): This is a curated list to help you get a detailed analysis of some of the best OKR software available for you and give you a view of what features you should not miss. Check out this article to:

  • Understand which are the top OKR software available and key information about them including which team size they are ideal for, key features, pros and cons, whether or not they offer a free trial and pricing
  • Navigate through a list of OKR software curated especially from a startup lens enlisting OKR software which are most ideal choices for rapidly growing organizations
  • Explore the key considerations you must keep in mind when comparing between different alternatives

OKR best practices

To aid you in effectively using OKRs, we have curates a list of OKR best practices that you should always keep in mind:

1. OKRs should be agile

The purpose of agile OKRs is to enable team members to work on projects that make the most impact to the business in that week and pivot at a moment’s notice without additional loss of resources. Thus, giving organizations the opportunity to quickly respond to internal and external changes and adapt their processes faster. 

Intel contributes their microprocessor win against Motorola to the OKR based model of strategy execution

OKRs and Agility: Check out this article to understand how OKRs facilitate business agility by ensuring that goals are set periodically and not annually, with a focus on real time grading and feedback which makes rearranging priorities more accessible during uncertainty and ambiguity.

2. OKRs should be simple

OKRs should be simple, not easy. They should be a stretch to an individual or a team’s ability, but they should not be too complicated to understand and should focus on simplifying organizational visions into understandable action steps. 

3. OKRs should be transparent and collaborative

OKRs are for creating alignment on an organization level. For most companies, everyone’s OKRs are accessible to everyone else’s. Thus, making the achievement of goals a clear, transparent, collaborative process. 

4. Nested cadence

The OKR framework is so compelling to organizations because it carefully combines all levels of business needs. It addresses long-term top level strategic business goals with short-term quarterly team / departmental goals. Thus, OKRs ensure that at any point in time, all organizational effort and resources are aligned toward a specific vision.

5. OKRs are bi-directional

It requires top-down and bottom-up collaboration across leadership, managers and team members. Thus, the OKR framework also utilizes 360 degree feedback. Typically, around 60% of OKRs are set in unison with managers in a bottom-up approach.

6. OKRs are aspirational

OKRs are designed to stretch individual abilities to an extent where higher than expected performance is the norm while keeping in mind that overly aggressive goals might lead to frustration and fear of failure.

“If you’re achieving all your goals, you’re not setting them aggressively enough.”- Eric Schmidt

7. OKRs should only be reserved for high value goals

Every OKR should directly add value to business results. Choose OKRs that provide real tangible value to the business. If a team can achieve 100% of their assigned OKRs without using the entire team’s bandwidth fully, make sure to raise the bar.

8. Separate OKRs from compensation

As OKRs are aspirational, it is important to use OKRs as a management tool and not as an employee evaluation tool. Instead of financial rewards driving performance, let the aspiration and autonomy behind OKRs drive intrinsic motivation that pushes employees to take risks and reach for high performance.

Bonus Tip: How to avoid OKR mistakes

15 Common OKR Mistakes & How to Fix Them: Check out this article to understand which OKR mistakes you are vulnerable to and how you can anticipate or fix them to ensure maximum impact for your organization. You can leverage the quick hacks to ensure that you avoid the common pitfalls seamless in your OKR journey. 

Benefits of OKRs

The benefits of setting clear, specific OKRs is manifold. Right OKRs can supercharge the performance of an organization within a short period of time by optimizing operational inputs. Here are some of the time-tested benefits of OKRs —

“By clearing the line of sight to everyone’s objectives, OKRs expose redundant efforts and save time and money.”

1. OKRs create accountability

OKRs are always verifiable. It is a transparent way of announcing what everyone in a department or organization is working on, thereby creating accountability. 

2. OKRs help overcome communication barriers

OKRs aid in clear communication by letting employees know what is expected of them in a given period of time, while also communicating what’s not important. 

3. OKRs align goals with purpose 

OKRs connect individual efforts with departmental and team goals which is further connected to organizational vision by another set of OKRs. 

4. OKRs accelerate growth 

When employees have clarity about their roles, assignment, and purpose, and are willing to take risks, set audacious goals, and perform at a higher level, the business thrives.

5. OKRs influence culture

OKRs transform output-based culture into outcome-based culture, leading to a culture of accountability, focus, and continuous feedback and builds a highly engaged workforce.

OKR email course

With SuperBeings, 10 days are all you need to get started with your OKR journey and master it too. This 10 day OKR email course will ensure that you receive one email every day on different aspects of OKRs. This is your direct access to highly curated and exclusive resources to set, align and achieve OKRs like never before. It will help you streamline your efforts in a process driven manner, enabling you to take one step at a time and ensuring that you set OKRs for success. Moreover, it’s completely free! 🙂

OKR advanced guide (PDF)

Once you have a basic understanding of how OKRs work and get started with them in your organization, you may want to take the next step and deepen your OKR strategy. That’s when you will need an Advanced Guide to OKRs

The OKR advanced guide talks about diverse themes focusing on setting OKRs for success, discusses the nuances of implementing them effectively, grading them strategically and how it influences your performance management process and culture.

“Healthy culture and structured goal setting are interdependent.”

How to use OKRs for impactful culture

OKRs have an impact on organizations beyond the bottom line and achievement of business objectives, they directly help create a thriving and impactful culture. Explore this article to understand how you can use OKRs to create an impactful culture. This article will help you uncover the various facets of this topic, including:

  • How OKRs lead to a spirit of collective goal setting and brainstorming
  • The impact of OKRs in facilitating transparency by making goals clear along with assigning accountability for each OKR
  • How OKRs help create a culture of check-ins and processes with their cadence driven approach 
  • The way OKRs help create a purpose driven organization by helping employee align their goals with company goals 
  • How OKRs result in a culture of autonomy which gives employees the freedom to take risks, and aspire high, without apprehensions

Why do you need an OKR master

Like any other department or priority in the organization, you need someone who can take charge of the entire OKR movement. Our article illustrates why you need an OKR master to truly unlock the potential of this goal setting framework. It talks about how without an OKR master, you will find it challenging to bring all your OKR efforts together and follow through with diverse stakeholders in the organization. An OKR master will help:

  • Introduce OKRs to your organization and help everyone understand the need to adopt them
  • Managers and team members use OKRs in an effective and efficient manner and prevent them from setting OKRs which are too many, too difficult or too easy
  • Attain accountability and ensure that everyone responsible for OKRs is tracked in real time to monitor progress and provide support
  • Employees deal with blockers and enablers and guide them in their OKR journey in case they are stuck/ need additional resources
  • Facilitate regular OKR training to keep your employees up the curve and finally, ensure that your OKRs are being completed and not being left hanging in the middle

Flexible, simple, all-in-one OKR tool 

SuperBeings OKR tool is all you need if you are getting started or are in the process of accelerating your OKR journey. With this tool, growing organizations like yours can build greater visibility into OKRs across the organization as well as enable real time insights into OKR progress to resolve issues. 

SuperBeings helps you automate reports, check-ins so you can spend your time achieving results. That’s not all, your managers can receive OKR coaching to implement right OKRs and sync OKRs with 1:1s. Check out SuperBeings OKR tool to align individual performance with business goals.

Want to see in action what you read? Book a free demo with one of our OKR experts today. No credit card required.

Goal Setting and OKR FAQs 

#1 Are OKRs the same as KPIs?

Often, organizations starting their OKR journey get confused between OKRs and KPIs. While used interchangeably by some, it is important to understand that there are critical differences between them, and they often work together rather than replacing each other. On the face of it, OKR is more of a goal-setting framework which helps organizations determine what needs to be done and how, while KPIs are focused on performance evaluation while everyone strives to achieve those goals. Also, KPIs are sustainable over time and don’t change on a regular basis, whereas OKRs often have a short life and keep transforming regularly. 

OKR vs KPI: The Difference and How They Can Work Together: Check out this quick read to understand the key differences between the two and how you can use them together for better results.

#2 What is the difference between SMART goals and OKRs?

SMART goals are defined as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals. 

First, The primary difference between SMART goals and OKRs is that the principles of SMART goals only allow to craft the chief objective. They provide the answer to “what should we aim for?”. Whereas, OKRs, on the other hand, give clear and specific directions on where and how to allocate resources to make sure the primary objective gets done on time. OKRs provide the answer to “what should we aim for and how do we get there?”.

Secondly, SMART goals are best for setting individual or the primary organizational goal. While working on day-to-day tasks, employees often lose sight of the bigger picture to understand how their work connects to the bigger purpose. Objective and Key Results framework prevent this by strategically connecting individual and the overarching organizational goal with team and departmental goals. Thus, OKRs help employees to work together in alignment with business strategy at all moments.

Third, SMART goals do not provide a roadmap for continuously tracking progress or the lack of it. OKRs are more insightful to measure performance and build accountability.

Instead of choosing one or the other, always set OKRs and make them SMART.

#3 Should individuals have OKRs or just up to teams?

While goal setting and management is important at all levels, OKRs are most effective when they are set at the team level. There are several reasons for this.

First, if employees start setting their OKRs, it eventually becomes a list of the tasks they seek to perform and not the overarching objectives and key results.

Second, OKRs are meant to be achieved together with collaborative work. However, if individual OKRs are set, each one will focus on their key results, which can seldom be achieved in silos.

For instance, if a key result is to increase customer lifetime value by 15%, it is a shared result, which one employee cannot achieve.

Therefore, it is best to set OKRs for teams, which can be cascaded down to individual employees as KPIs based on their strengths and competencies

Wrapping Up

Objectives and Key Results are critical for organizations to clearly distinguish between strategy, tactics, and operations. OKRs help organizations to stay grounded in reality while shooting for the moon, to plan for the future while staying focused on immediate goals. Setting OKRs requires careful planning but it takes far less time to do so than traditional goal-setting methods.

Don’t treat OKRs like new year resolutions that you set once and then forget. Keep following it up with all team members at regular intervals and make sure that resources are being used for the right things at the right time.

Sudeshna Roy

Marketing, SuperBeings

Hi There! I am Sudeshna. At SuperBeings, I lead our content strategy to bring you the best and latest on everything related to people management

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50+ Most Useful Employee Onboarding Survey Questions

‘Onboarding: How to get your new employees up to speed in half the time’ - George Bradt, founder and Chairman PrimeGenesis

Did you know that a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%? 

However, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job at onboarding new employees. 

This clearly states that while employee onboarding has a direct impact on the bottom line, most organizations miss out on how to get it right. 

Don’t let that happen to you. To onboard new employees like a pro, keep reading.

What is an onboarding survey?

By definition, an onboarding survey is a questionnaire that is administered on new hires to gauge their initial experience and level of satisfaction, in an attempt to understand their engagement and retention potential. 

As an HR, you can get multiple insights from an onboarding survey, including:

  • what employees thought about the organization when they heard about it for the first time
  • how their impression changed over time 
  • whether or not their experience aligns with their expectations, etc.

It can help you estimate how long the employees are likely to stay and how you can further optimize your onboarding process to make it more aligned with employee expectations. 

Why are onboarding surveys important?

An effective onboarding survey can help you reflect on your performance through the onboarding process, which directly impacts KPIs for organizational success, including:

1. Retention

93% of employers believe a good onboarding experience is critical in influencing a new employee’s decision whether to stay with the company. At the same time, 25% of a company’s new hires would leave within a year if the onboarding experience was poor. 

2. eNPS

20% of new hires are unlikely to recommend an employer to a friend or family member and an onboarding survey can help you identify the reasons for the same. However, new team members who were asked to provide feedback prior to their start date also had a 79% increase in willingness to refer others. Thus, illustrating how onboarding surveys and feedback can impact eNPS.

Read: How to use eNPS for better employee engagement

3. Satisfaction and Engagement

Employees with exceptional onboarding experiences are 2.6x more likely to be extremely satisfied with their workplace and 70% say they have ‘the best possible job’.

4. Performance

77% of employees who went through a formal onboarding process were able to meet their first performance goals. However, 49% of individuals who failed to reach their first performance milestone had no official onboarding instruction. An onboarding survey can help you determine the effectiveness of your onboarding process.  

5. Other

In addition, your new employees might also have an inclination towards providing feedback as a part of the onboarding survey, which you will lose out if you don’t conduct the same. Research shows that only 26% of new employees recall being asked for feedback on their candidate journey and the hiring process before their start date wherein 91% of new hires are willing to provide this feedback. 

Employee onboarding survey: Best practices

Now that you understand the importance of an employee onboarding survey, let’s quickly discuss how to effectively run an onboarding survey. 

1. Set the cadence

You must coincide your employee onboarding survey with important milestones for the new employee in the organization. Mostly, these milestones coincide with the end of the first few months. Thus, you should circulate your onboarding survey after 30, 60 and 90 days respectively, with different objectives for each. Furthermore, you can send interim surveys in case you feel the need, for instance, when the employee starts a project, or when the orientation process is over. 

“Effective employee onboarding isn’t about swag, stickers, & company value pamphlets on their desk the 1st day. But, how you help them understand their goals & how co values are interwoven in operating are more important.”- Suhail Doshi, founder and chairman of Mixpanel, Inc.

2. Identify critical areas and build questions

Based on the milestones or cadence you have set up, it is important to identify areas you would want to cover with each milestone. For instance:

In the first 30 days, you should focus on themes like: 

  • Orientation process
  • Initial thoughts
  • Expectation alignment 
  • Recruitment process
  • Onboarding experience

In 60 days, you can touch on themes like:

  • Knowledge transfer
  • Level of engagement and satisfaction
  • Induction process

By the end of 90 days, focus should shift towards:

  • Manager support
  • Role clarity
  • Likelihood to stay
  • Organizational alignment

Once you have decided the themes, you can start building questions, a snapshot of which is covered in the next section or you can download the template now here. The themes can be fluid across milestones, depending on the context for your organization. 

3. Roll out the survey for participation

Once the milestone arrives, you should roll out the onboarding survey and drive participation. It is important to explain to your new employees why the onboarding survey is important and how they can fill it up. Give them the requisite time, deadlines and communicate what will be the next steps to encourage them to participate. 

4. Follow up

Simply rolling out the survey is not enough. You must reach out to your new employees to remind them to fill the onboarding survey as amidst numerous new things, they might lose track of it. Don’t push too hard, yet send subtle reminders to get genuine responses. For instance: employee survey tools such as SuperBeings integrate with chat tools like Slack, Teams, Gchat to send personalized nudges to fill out the survey in the flow of work at set intervals as well as allows them to participate directly without switching context. 

Unlock a wide array of survey questions and employee analytics. See how SuperBeings can help

5. Take action

Once your onboarding survey responses are in, slice and dice them to get insights into what your employees feel and leverage the data points to further refine your onboarding process to facilitate engagement, retention and advocacy from the beginning. 

Sample onboarding survey questions for 30-60-90 day review

Taking cue from the section above, here are 50+ onboarding survey questions that you can leverage to gauge the pulse of your new employees as they complete different milestones.

You can also download these questions as a template and use it whenever you need. Click here to download

1. Onboarding survey questions for 30 day review

a) Onboarding and orientation process

  1. How can we change or improve the onboarding process?
  2. What did you like most about the onboarding process?
  3. Was the orientation interactive and engaging?
  4. Did the onboarding process meet your expectations?
  5. Do you feel welcome and proud to be working here?
  6. How would you rate the duration and quality of your onboarding experience?
  7. How would you describe your first day?

b) Decision related questions

  1. What were the top 3 reasons for joining this company?
  2. Do you think those reasons have been met?

c) Technical training and knowledge transfer

  1. Have you received the training that you were promised during your induction?
  2. Did the training meet your expectations and was accurately described during the hiring process?
  3. Is the training relevant to your roles and responsibilities?
  4. Were adequate tools and materials shared during training to facilitate knowledge transfer?

2. Onboarding survey questions for 60 day review

a) Engagement related questions

  1. Would you recommend the company to others in your network?
  2. Do you see yourself working here in 2 years?
  3. Do you feel motivated to come to work in the morning?
  4. Do you feel prepared for your role?

b) Onboarding experience

  1. Did the first 30 days of onboarding go as expected?
  2. What is the one thing you would like to change from your experience so far?

c) Company policies

  1. Are you clear on the different company policies shared with you?
  2. Do you have any concerns about any of the policies that you would like to highlight?
  3. Do you think any policy is missing that you think must be a part of our governance?

d) Questions about team

  1. Have your team members been integral in smooth onboarding?
  2. Have you been able to connect and collaborate with all your team members?
  3. Do you consider your team members to be welcoming and inclusive?
  4. What is the thing you would like to change about how your team works currently?

e) Reflection questions

  1. Have you been able to achieve the goals you set out for your 60 days?
  2. How has your journey been so far?
  3. What has been your biggest accomplishment in 60 days?
  4. What are some achievements you would like to ensure in the next 30 days?

3. Onboarding survey questions for 90 day review

a) Role and expectation clarity

  1. Do you have an understanding of what is expected from you as a part of this role?
  2. Is your role similar to what was communicated to you during the hiring process?
  3. Do you have the necessary resources you need for the role?
  4. Do you have clarity of your goals?
  5. Do you understand how your work will be evaluated?
  6. Does your role meet your career aspirations?
  7. What do you think is the most difficult part about your role?
  8. What excites you most about your current role?
  9. Do you understand the importance of the work you do?

b) Organizational alignment

  1. Do your values align with the organizational values?
  2. Do you believe in the vision and mission of the organization?
  3. Do you believe your ideas are valued?
  4. Do you have clarity on the organization’s future plans and do you align with them?
  5. Do you see yourself as a part of this organization 5 years from now?

c) Manager support

  1. Have your conversations with the managers been effective?
  2. Does your manager support your career aspirations?
  3. Does your manager provide you with the necessary support to perform your role effectively?
  4. Do you receive regular feedback from your manager?
  5. Does your manager include you in key discussions, wherever applicable?

d) Other questions

  1. What are some of the challenges you have faced so far?
  2. Do you feel your onboarding was successful?
  3. How can we help you in improving the overall experience?
  4. Do you feel included and accepted by everyone in the team?
  5. How do you see yourself progressing from here?
  6. Do you have access to all the information you need?

Wrapping up (TL:DR)

By now, it would be very clear to you that an employee onboarding survey can help you in multiple ways to create a high performance culture. It can enable you to augment retention, engagement, satisfaction and advocacy among employees to ensure that there is minimal turnover and you are able to attract high quality talent. Ensure that you roll out an onboarding survey at 30/60/90 days frequency to check onboarding experience, knowledge transfer, manager support, role clarity, etc. 

You should focus on other forms of employee feedback on culture, training and development opportunities, level of engagement, manager effectiveness, workplace collaboration, work-life balance, among others. 

Finally, you should focus on leveraging technology and automation to add efficiency and effectiveness to your onboarding survey and process. 

Research shows, automating onboarding tasks resulted in a 16% increase in retention rates for new hires.

Thus, consider partnering with a survey platform which enables you to:

  • Use science-backes best practices onboarding survey templates
  • Track employee milestones automatically and roll out surveys on due date with zero to minimal manual intervention 
  • Integrate surveys with existing chat tools for reminders and sending out survey questions
  • Use NLP for decoding sentiments behind open comments to understand the reason behind each response
  • Use other employee engagement surveys to get the whole picture of new hire engagement

Related Reading

How to use employee engagement survey comments

Best employee engagement survey tools in the market today

min read

How to Give Constructive Feedback? (With Examples)

When it comes to performance management for employees, you would agree that feedback plays an important role. However, only offering positive feedback and appreciating the performance of your employees is not enough. You need to give them an equal amount of constructive feedback which is specific to ensure high levels of performance. If you feel that your employees may not embrace constructive feedback, think again.

Research shows that 92% of people believe that constructive feedback is effective at improving performance.

In this article we will help you understand how you can give constructive feedback and examples you can leverage. 

What is constructive feedback?

Constructive feedback is essentially a tool that most forward looking professionals leverage to help others in their team with specific and constructive inputs on areas where one’s performance can be improved. Put simply, if you have an employee who doesn’t pay attention to detail, constructive feedback involves helping them acknowledge that this is a problem area, and more than that, enabling them with the support to overcome the same. It involves not only identifying a performance problem, but also, providing action items and ways to address the same. 

Importance of constructive feedback

Now that you have an understanding of what constructive feedback means, let’s quickly look at some of the top reasons why constructive feedback is important. Constructive feedback:

  • Improves performance: It enables your team members to understand how they can perform better with specific inputs on areas of improvement
  • Reinforces expectations: It helps your employees clearly gauge what is expected out of them in terms of performance, and sets clear deliverables and measurement parameters to avoid any surprises during performance appraisal
  • Boosts morale and confidence: It involves also appreciating employees for a job well done and illustrates how they can become a better version of themselves
  • Facilitates employee stickiness: It ensures that employees see your organization which cares about their professional growth and encourages them to stick around longer, and even act as advocates for others.

Positive feedback vs constructive feedback 

When delivering feedback, you must understand the difference between positive and constructive feedback and ensure that you use both of them where they fit the best. Here a quick distinction between positive feedback vs constructive feedback:

  • Positive feedback focuses on a job well done and highlights where an employee has excelled. Whereas, constructive feedback talks about areas of improvement and action items for desirable outcomes. 
  • While positive feedback seeks to reinforce the positive behavior, constructive feedback focuses more on facts and traits.
  • Positive feedback is a reflection of the past performance and doesn’t necessarily have a futuristic orientation, however, constructive feedback takes reference from the past to feed better performance in the future.  
  • “Your presentation during the board meeting was crisp and informative” is an example of positive feedback. Whereas, “While your presentation was informative, you can focus more on articulation to ensure that all your research is communicated in a way that everyone is able to understand. Using pointers can help here”, is an example of constructive feedback.
In a nutshell, positive feedback is a reinforcement tool, whereas constructive feedback is a mechanism to facilitate development. 

How to give constructive feedback

With an understanding of the fundamentals of constructive feedback, let’s quickly jump to the best practices which can help you deliver constructive feedback in a nuanced and effective manner. 

1. Decide when to give the constructive feedback

The first thing you need to focus on is ensuring that the timing of the constructive feedback is ideal. For instance, a busy period when the employee is putting in a lot of effort may not be ideal for giving them feedback about their performance from three months ago. At the same time, ensure that you provide constructive feedback regularly and consistently, to avoid recency or primacy bias. However, don’t offer feedback when you are angry about their performance either. 

2. Set the context and build trust

Before you get down to giving the feedback, set the tone. Share with the employee the purpose of the meeting and make them comfortable prior to sharing your reflections. It is important that you build trust so your employees can share their perspective and don’t feel intimidated by what you have to say. 

3. Share your reflections

Once the context and tone is set, start sharing your reflections. Your focus should be on sharing what you have observed about their performance. However, ensure that you also share how the same is likely to impact their career growth as well as organizational success. For instance, if you are providing constructive feedback about missing deadlines, you can use the impact of losing clients for the organization and a casual attitude marker for the employee.

4. Give specific examples

When sharing reflections, use specific examples of when you noticed a particular behavior. For instance, in the above example, you can share instances of when the employee missed his/her deadlines. Ensure that you use examples which illustrate a pattern, rather than a one off incident, which is very uncommon. Furthermore, always use concrete examples and not interpretation of what you hear or see.   

5. Balance positive and negative

With constructive feedback, your focus should be on helping the employee improve their performance and work on their areas of development.

However, simply pointing out their weaknesses or negatives in their performance will not help. You need to also talk about some of the positive aspects of their performance and how those qualities can help them absorb and implement their constructive feedback. 

6. Be empathetic

Emotional intelligence is extremely important when delivering constructive feedback. You cannot be apathetic towards your employee when delivering the same. Put yourself in their shoes to choose your phrases carefully. We will share some examples in the next section. Also, use your EQ to read the situation when you are delivering the feedback. If you see that the employee is getting uncomfortable, take a pause and comfort them first. Read their gestures and body language to ensure that the employee is not feeling attacked. 

7. Don’t make it personal

Like it or not, constructive feedback involves pointing out one’s weaknesses and areas of improvement. However, you should refrain from equating the performance of the employee with his/her personality or whole self. For instance, if someone misses deadlines, encourage them to be more organized or prioritize important work, than labeling them as a procrastinator. 

8. Encourage response from the other side

While you are delivering the constructive feedback, you have to make sure it is a dialogue.

The idea is to give the other person enough room to share their side of the story.

Try to understand whether or not they agree with your feedback and how they perceive the same. They may share the lack of support or resources, which have resulted in a weak performance. Be open to some reverse feedback as well. Again, your EQ must be at play here. If your employee has an outburst, or reacts negatively, you need to stay composed and calm them down. 

9. Discuss potential solutions

Once you and your employee are aligned on the areas of improvement, the most important part of constructive feedback is to provide adequate solutions to address the performance challenges. Don’t give abstract or vague solutions like be punctual if the employee misses deadlines. Rather, give very specific and action oriented solutions which are directed towards a particular outcome. The idea is to collectively understand the cause of the weak area of performance and use concrete solutions to remedy the same. 

10. Create a time bound action plan

Now that you have shared some potential solutions, you must revise the top action items with your employee to avoid any confusion. At the same time, you should focus on creating a time bound plan with key milestones to ensure that development is taking place. Summarize what was discussed and how you will proceed from there. Best is to set up a date to review the progress to ensure constructive feedback is paid heed to. 

Read our article on Start Stop Continue Feedback to give action oriented feedback

20 Constructive feedback examples 

Here are top 20 constructive feedback examples that you can use during your next conversation. To make your constructive feedback more effective, we have also illustrated examples of what you should steer away from.

1. Communication skills

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I would really like to know how you have progressed on the tasks assigned to you last month. It would be ideal if you could share a progress update on what has been achieved with a small summary of challenges/ support needed at the end of every week to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You have not kept your team updated about your work, this is highly unprofessional.

2. Attention to detail

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I was going through the work you submitted last week and I can see you have put in a lot of effort. However, I could see that there were some small errors and inaccuracies in the report across multiple sections. I believe that if you proofread your work thoroughly before turning it in, it will reduce the number of iterations and improve your quality of work. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You seem completely distracted as you have been submitting flawed and below average work, this will not be tolerated. 

3. Time management

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I understand that you are working on multiple projects, however, you need to ensure that the most important projects are not overlooked and their timelines are not missed. Therefore, I would suggest you create a list of tasks you are working on and check with the respective reporting managers on the priority and set clear expectations to ensure that no deadlines are missed. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You have missed your deadline again, it seems like you are not serious about you work. 

4. Goal achievement

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I see that you have been able to achieve only a part of the goals that you set out for this year. Maybe you were trying to spread yourself too thin. I would suggest you reduce the number of projects you are working on and ensure that the goals you set you are able to achieve. Furthermore, you must be vocal about the support or resources you need to achieve your goals. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

Are you even serious about your work, your level of goal achievement indicates otherwise. 

5. Absenteeism

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I see that you have been taking some time off lately, without any prior intimation. Let’s try to understand if there is a particular reason for the same. We can work on your schedule to make it more flexible. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You have been missing all meetings lately, this tardiness is not appreciated. 

6. Problem solving

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I see that you are excellent at execution of ideas. However, I believe that you need to focus more on coming up with solutions on your own. I would suggest participating more in the brainstorming sessions and coming up with solutions. Try to think on your own, before you reach out to others with the problem.

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You lack any problem solving capabilities, and will be stuck to execution for the rest of your career.

Wrapping up

Constructive feedback is integral to organizational success. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always use facts and examples to deliver constructive feedback
  • Don’t forget to differentiate between positive and constructive feedback
  • Make sure you have practical tips or suggestions 
  • Leverage specific constructive feedback examples for specific performance problems, instead of being vague

Related Reading

50 top 360 degree feedback question examples

150 performance review phrases

min read

How to Use Performance Management Cycle for High Performance Teams

While performance management has been a key priority for organizations, for a long time, year end reviews were considered to be the most effective way to facilitate the same. However, recently organizations are observing a shift towards continuous performance management with an introduction of the performance management cycle. This article will focus on different aspects of the performance management cycle and how it enables unlocking the potential of high performance teams. 

What is a performance management cycle?

Before going into the diverse aspects, you should first understand what a performance management cycle essentially is. If you have an idea of what continuous performance management is, you’re already a step ahead in the understanding. Performance management cycle primarily is a way or a model in which you evaluate or focus on the performance of your employees throughout the year. The idea is to break down the different elements of employee performance into different stages and focus on them consistently. It starts with setting goals and ends with rewards for a job well done, which leads to setting of new goals and the performance management cycle resets.  

Understanding 4 stages of the performance management cycle

While you may want to divide your performance management cycle into any number of stages, mostly there are four stages. 


The first stage, at the very beginning of the performance management cycle, focuses on creating a plan for the performance ahead. The idea is to have a clear understanding on what your employee must achieve and how you will eventually review and evaluate them. During the planning stage, you and your team member, collectively should:

  • Set SMART goals of OKRs based on the performance expectations
  • Have clear KPIs or metrics which you will use for performance appraisal
  • Clarify how individual goals or OKRs contribute to organizational vision

Thus, the planning stage of the performance management cycle sets the tone for the year ahead and ensures there is clarity at all levels. 


Once the goals have been set in the planning stage, you enter the monitoring stage of the performance management cycle. This stage essentially focuses on ensuring that things are moving as planned. The idea is to ascertain that your team members are more or less on track for specific milestones outlined as a part of goal setting. Additionally, this stage will help you address any performance challenges that you may observe, sooner than later. Monitoring stage includes:

  • Regular one-on-one meetings to review performance so far
  • Providing feedback to your team members on what you think has been going well and what needs to improve
  • Relooking at goals in case they are behind or ahead of schedule in terms of achievement
  • Understanding the kind of extra support or resources your team members might need to improve their performance
  • Having candid conversations with your employees on wellbeing, professional development objectives, and other factors which may impact performance, morale and engagement 

The monitoring stage essentially focuses on tracking the performance of your employees against the set goals to provide constructive feedback and help them perform better. 


The third stage of the performance management cycle comes into existence towards the end. It involves reviewing the performance and providing ratings based on the established KPIs and metrics. While this is the formal review process, if you have been constantly monitoring the performance of your employees, this will essentially be a consolidation of all the reviews and feedback shared overtime. While delivering performance reviews, ensure that you:

  • Shed any performance review biases that might come your way, including primacy effect, recency bias, halo/horns effect, etc. 
  • Give your employees concrete examples and facts to support your review, rather than being vague and ambiguous
  • Should try to get 360 degree feedback and review for your team members
  • Answer some of the following questions to create an informed review:
  1. Did the employee achieve the goals set out?
  2. What were the key enablers in their achievement?
  3. Did you observe growth in the employee during the performance management cycle?
  4. Did the employee share any concerns, and were they addressed?

Since you have been connecting regularly with your employees, the reviews will not come as a surprise to them, but will help you monitor the trends of their performance and guide the next stage for the employee’s professional growth. 


Finally, the rewarding stage in the performance management cycle acts as a culmination to one cycle and sets stage for the commencement of the next. The objective is to take into account their performance over the performance management cycle and create a culture of rewards and recognition to celebrate and appreciate high performance. Some of the quick ways to reward your employees include, giving them:

  • Healthy increments and promotions
  • Public appreciation through social media, company intranet
  • Bonuses and other incentives
  • Rewards like vouchers, gifts, etc. 

This stage is important to make your employees feel valued and motivate them to keep the performance going. It will also push average performers to step up their efforts and enable you to create a high performance culture. 

Why is a performance management cycle important?

Now that you understand the various stages of a performance management cycle, let’s quickly look at why the performance management cycle is important for your organization. It will help you:

  • Clearly define goals and expectations from your employees to drive directed performance.
  • Keep your employees engaged. When you constantly connect with your employees for 1-o-1 meetings and consistently take interest in their performance improvement, they are likely to feel engaged, satisfied and motivated.
  • Address performance challenges preemptively and provide your employees with corrective actions, resources and support to bridge performance issues.
  • Retain talent as employees who feel that their performance is being valued and receive regular feedback tend to stay longer at an organization. 

Top 4 ways in which performance management cycle leads to high performance

In addition to the above mentioned benefits, a performance management cycle can help you build a high performance culture in a number of ways. Some of the top aspects include:

Clarifies KPIs and metrics

What constitutes high performance can be abstract. For some, closing 5 deals can be high performance, for others, it might be closing 15. Planning stage in the performance management lifecycle will help your employees understand what constitutes high performance and thus, proceed towards it. 

Boosts recognition

A key part of the performance management cycle is the rewards and recognition. When employees feel their performance is being valued and recognized, they tend to double up their efforts, leading to a high performance team.

Facilitates communication and feedback

Monitoring and tracking followed by 1-o-1 conversations can help you communicate with your employees regularly. Not only will you track their performance, but will also listen to their concerns or challenges and offer them feedback. Such conversations and feedback have a positive impact on performance, leading to a high performance culture. 

Ensures appropriate training

One of the foundations of high performance is enabling your team members to undergo the right training. Performance management cycle can help you understand which training is important for your employees at which performance stage, realizing high quality results. 

Top tips for managers for effective performance management cycle

As a manager, there are several ways in which you can unlock the true potential of a performance management cycle. You are one of the key stakeholders who plays an important role in every stage of the cycle. Here are a few tips that can help you augment the effectiveness of the performance management cycle:

  • Invite employee participation and make the OKR setting process collaborative and action oriented
  • Provide constructive feedback to your employees, instead of being too sweet or too negative
  • Help your employees access the right resources and training they need to meet their goals
  • Give your employees a safe space to share their concerns and challenges
  • Don’t micromanage your employees in the name of monitoring
  • Be open about relooking at the goals in case of a misalignment as you move along the performance management cycle

Benefits of using a performance management tool

A performance management tool can significantly help you streamline your performance management cycle by offering the following benefits. 

Performance snapshots

Get automated performance snapshots of your employee’s performance over the 9 box grid to track performance trends over time and provide reviews without recency bias.

1:1 conversations

Leverage guided templates with AI based suggestions for your 1:1 conversations with employees during the monitoring stage based on performance over time. Receive suggested talking points for goal-centered conversations.

Compare performance

Look at historic feedback to see improvement in performance and compare performance over time. You can also compare performance of peers over specific parameters. 

Related Reading

How to create a high performance culture using OKRs

7 steps to effective performance management system

12 common performance review biases to avoid

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