What Is Organizational Development?
Organizational Development is the process we use to change attitudes, values, and beliefs within the workforce so that employees can drive business results. A successful plan for organizational leadership development typically leads to improved efficiency and higher levels of employee engagement.
How is Organizational Development different from Human Resources? Generally, Human Resources encompasses the management of the employment life cycle such as recruiting and hiring, performance management, and of course, all compliance activities. Human Resources management tends to be focused on maintaining the status quo within the organization.
On the other hand, Organization Development is focused on setting the strategy, mission, and vision for the organization and defining the activities required to achieve those. As such, organizational behavior and culture tend to be focused on activities that will change the status quo and drive the business forward.
What Is The Role of Organizational Development and Why It’s Important?
Climate and culture are two different things, though they are often used interchangeably. Climate is an employee’s perception of the work environment and is greatly influenced by frontline managers and supervisors. Ultimately if employees feel supported by their manager, they are more motivated, and the workplace climate is viewed positively.
Culture, however, is determined by a company’s identity. What values does it share? What behavioral norms are expected? Every company has a culture, whether it has been formally identified or not. I believe the culture, more than any other thing, impacts a company’s employment brand and its ability to attract and retain talent.
A well-defined organizational strategy ensures that our business supports our mission, goals, and objectives. Defining your business strategy allows us to determine the business objectives we will focus on. These objectives become the link between strategy and the specific actions or behaviors employees must take. There are three common business strategies upon which we can build our culture:
Operational Excellence: Operational Excellence is primarily a price/cost-based strategy. It often includes a combination of price, quality, dependability and ease of purchase that competitors cannot match. The corporate culture strives to minimize waste and reward efficiency. Think UPS, FedEx, or Walmart.
Product/Service Leadership: Product/Service Leadership is primarily an innovation-based strategy. It focuses on innovation, product development, and market exploitation. The corporate culture encourages imagination and a mindset driven by the prospect of creating the future. Think Apple, Big Pharma, or any luxury car company.
Customer Intimacy: Customer Intimacy is primarily a solutions-based strategy. It focuses on creating results for carefully selected customers and making them successful. The corporate culture encourages deep and lasting relationships with customers. Think Nordstrom or Starbucks.
What Are Common Organizational Culture Problems?
Culture can be summed up as “the way we do things around here.” One of the biggest problems in a company’s culture is if the way things are done is “always the way we’ve done things.” Today’s employees are too savvy and motivated to adhere to that phrase. They want to work with an organization that thrives on new ideas and approaches to solving today’s business challenges.
Another culture pitfall is allowing a heavy-handed management style to permeate the organization. Managers that sit in the “ivory tower” and call the shots from above do not drive engagement and buy-in from their employees. This leads to de-motivation and high turnover.
What Are The Stages of Organizational Development?
The first step to building a solid workplace culture is to diagnose the problem areas in which improvement is needed. Common objectives in the diagnosis phase are to look for ways to increase organizational efficiency, improve employee motivation, or to increase trust and teamwork throughout the organization.
Next, we must develop solutions to the identified problems. What are the most effective and efficient ways to address the problems? Who should lead the initiatives? Do we need assistance from an outside third party?
How do you identify the key things HR needs to do? How will your compensation, benefits, work-life balance, performance & recognition, and development & career opportunities impact each of the six areas?
Usually, small “dry runs” are the best ways to implement the change initiatives. That helps us find any hidden issues not previously discovered. We cannot expect change to happen quickly, especially in larger organizations, so careful planning is required to manage the change initiative.
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“Ed helped our firm create an office-wide conversation about what’s appropriate in a workplace setting. He quickly understood our culture and utilized an open and engaging approach to guide diverse employee groups through what can sometimes be a difficult subject to broach.
Ed was very passionate and knowledgeable in speaking about harassment issues. He led several staff groups through 90 minute sessions of open conversation and dialogue. During these sessions, Ed shared case study examples that resonated with employees and helped define the nuances of harassment in workplace situations, including how harassment can vary for an individual depending on race, gender, and religious beliefs. He also spoke to the firm partners from more of a legality standpoint regarding human resource implications.
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