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The Difference Between KPIs, OKRs and KRAs

By | Mansi Maheshwari | Building human to human connect with better Employee Experiences – Hiring exceptional talents across multiple roles| Human Resources Professional at Zimyo

As businesses grow, it becomes increasingly crucial to have a robust growth measurement system. Having a good understanding of how your business is performing and what organisational goals to pursue can elevate your growth to higher levels. With a highly consumer centric and dynamic market in almost every industry, having these metrics can help you keep up with these ever changing trends and stay on top of your competitors. Today, there are many differing opinions about the various performance measuring systems and the three most common systems are as follows:

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  2. Objective and Key Results (OKRs)
  3. Key Result Areas (KRAs)

It is important to note that these can act as independent as well as complementary systems and figuring out where to consult them independently and where to consult them together is crucial for your organisational planning and performance monitoring.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are used to gauge how well the strategic objectives of a business are being pursued. It is a measurement of the ongoing processes of an organisation’s operations and can also be considered as the “health” of an organisation. They are quantifiable metrics and help the top management see whether the organisation is making progress or not.

They can also be used to compare the performance of the organisation to its competitors in the industry and whether or not a slump during a certain period of time is due to their own inefficiency or just a market phenomenon. Each and every department in a business from manufacturing to HR will have its own unique KPIs and the performance would be measured against the whole team’s effort with little emphasis on individual employees’ performance.

Objective and Key Results (OKRs)

OKRs have become increasingly popular, with big companies like Google and more boasting its usage since 1999, even though OKRs have been in existence since around the ‘70s. Google has become one of the top companies in the world and while all the credit cannot be given to OKRs, a good portion of it can be. OKRs are highly effective in increasing the growth rate of a company and adding some swiftness to the strategic management for rapid changes.

This system can be used at every tier from the corporate level to employee level and the reason they are so effective is that they define the desired outcome (objective) in crystal clear language and appoint a measurable target (Key Results) to be achieved, generally measured at the end of the quarter.

The objectives mentioned in OKRs are generally kept very ambitious with the goal of making them almost unreachable. In fact, if an employee is consistently achieving their OKRs, their OKRs are not considered to not be ambitious enough. They are reviewed typically every quarter and all OKRs are transparent to everyone in the whole organization.

What makes OKRs so adept at nurturing growth is their ambitious nature. The quantifiable measurement attached to the objectives ensures that vague goals like “launch new campaigns” do not get watered down and whatever goals your employees achieve have a direct impact on the organization’s growth.

Key Result Areas (KRAs)

These are tasks that are supposed to be done on a daily basis. They are an everyday part of an employee’s job and are specifically tailored to align with the company’s larger goals and objectives. They are not quantifiable metrics but rather a key objective assigned to each employee. It’s either achieved or not achieved, there is no in between. It includes the existing processes and the chosen end results which need to be accomplished. It is clear, specific and an essential part of the business. It becomes an important outcome that in turn becomes an important input factor for the next KRA.

Difference between KPI, OKRs and KRAs

The main distinction between OKRs and KPIs is that KPIs are more focused on the status quo of the company whereas OKRs are more focused on bringing about change and helping the company reach new heights by setting quite ambitious goals for its employees. In other words, KPIs measure the “health” of a company whereas OKRs measure the “success” of a company.

KPIs inform about the present state of a company, OKRs promote growth and development and KRAs are the individual tasks that contribute to the higher strategy of the organization.

With consistent delivery of OKRs and KRAs, you can notice an upward trend in your KPIs, meaning that these three measurements are not exactly exclusive from each other.


Companies that have a single product or limited services can get away with using just KPIs whereas companies that are involved in continuously evolving industries where quick performance metrics are necessary to gauge reception and ultimately, the success of the company, then you could give OKRs and KRAs a shot.

Author Bio:

Mansi is an experienced human capital manager with a demonstrated history of having worked in FMCG, Travel, IT Industry. At Zimyo, she is combining all her knowledge and industrial experience to streamline business processes and drive cultural transformation. Apart from identifying and onboarding cutting-edge talents, she has taken up some major HR transformational projects- which are a major part of Zimyo’s growth story.

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