OKRs and Continuous Performance Management. What’s the link?

OKR management and Performance management

OKR management and Performance management – you may have heard these terms together a lot. Even though both frameworks seem to work together, but the real business scenario tells a different story.

These two methodologies are proven to boost employee and business performance, but there is still some ambiguity. Let’s get a clear picture of these two and their company usage.

Continuous Performance Management

Difference between OKRs and Continuous Performance Management

Team members go through different processes and use different skills to design strategies and plan to implement the two frameworks.

These are the areas that differ between the given two methodologies when you implement them:

  • Skills of people involved
  • Role of stakeholders
  • Key focus areas
  • Strategy and plan
  • Outcomes
  • Cycle of implementation. The time between two successive plans.


Let’s compare these two.

OKRs (Objectives and key results)Continuous Performance Management
Objectives: What you need to achieve

Key Results: How will you accomplish the former?


Unlike generally used annual performance reviews, it is a continuous process of enhancing employee performance with goal-setting and a constant review process.


Role of stakeholders

  • Everyone needs to have their OKRs.
  • Maintain alignment with each other and the business.
  • Attend regular check-ins to review progress and align
  • Be accountable for their goals and outcomes
Role of stakeholders

  • Continuous collaboration
  • Managers and team leaders monitor performance
  • Team members need to learn from mistakes, skill up, and improve.
  • Managers use recognition and engagement practices like open praise and employee feedback.

  • Change in business aspects like revenue
  • Change in teamwork and alignment
  • Change in employee performance

  • Change in workers’ performance
  • Change in employee retention rate
  • Change in employee engagement and happiness
Cycle of implementation

  • Ideally quarterly
Cycle of implementation

  • Ongoing process
  • One-to-one biyearly or yearly meetings with the manager


How do OKRs influence performance management or vice versa?

Companies that successfully manage their people don’t essentially use both of the frameworks. But using both effectively can unlock significant team performance. When you combine continuous performance management with OKRs, they mutually support each other.


Pushing the team to achieve more with stretch goals

Stretch goals are ambitious yet realistic. The senior leadership decides the most important goals, cascading them down to the team after discussion. Employees are clearer regarding their responsibilities when the management combines constant bi-directional feedback with the set goals.

When the team involves in constant collaboration, they are more likely to achieve these ambitious goals with collective efforts. For example, you tell a first-time leader to coordinate an entire project. This employee might think it’s too ambitious but remember that they are not alone.

By constantly engaging with the team, they can effectively manage a team and is more likely to achieve the stretch goals.


Maintaining team alignment with regular meetings

OKRs and ongoing performance management have one thing in common – frequent routine meetings. A simple example can be the coordination between the marketing and sales team. They both share the same larger goal of getting more revenue for the business.

When both teams meet, the marketing team can discuss and align their strategy to create a more efficient system of, for example, nurturing the leads with more focused emails.


Creating transparency at the workplace with the OKR management system

You create an open and fair organizational environment where everyone can check each other’s OKRs. Everyone is accountable for their objectives, and with constant two-way communication, they are more likely to engage and innovate.

For example, a new email marketing professional cannot get enough CTR, but they get feedback from the content marketing professional to try changing the CTA size and position in the emails or any helpful tip.


Promoting psychological safety with a transparent system and constant feedback

A transparent and continuous performance review enables the team to collaborate in agile. It becomes essential to hear the team’s suggestions when the goals everyone is chasing are ambitious.

That is fundamentally what the team does.


Real-time reviews gives a reality-check in terms of business outcomes

It’s easy for even the most engaged employee to get into the corner and mind his own business. But an established continuous feedback system wants everyone to sit together and review the progress.

The exercise is not meant to identify bad performers but to look at the OKRs that are lacking behind and discuss how they can be improved.

These progress metrics are usually in percentages and contain the owner’s team members. A glance at the public numbers gives you an instant reality check.

Do you need an OKR management system or a performance management tool for your business? Reach out to us here for proficient guidance regarding both the methodologies. 

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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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