In today’s fast-paced business environment, perhaps the only constant one can rely on is change. If COVID taught us anything it taught us businesses can’t remain static. While change can often be seen as a positive, it can also have an adverse effect and make many employees uncomfortable. For many employees, the changes can lead to uncertainty and unease: a pandemic, layoffs, a new manager; a restructured team, or when physical work space changes from office to home; It is a leader’s responsibility to support and set the tone for their team and prepare for managing organizational change as effectively as possible.
Organizational Development (OD) techniques are critical for an HR professional in today’s fast paced business, there are huge benefits to mastering them. OD is one way to describe managing the behavioral aspects of people, within organizations. Understanding OD means you can identify which elements of core HR functions need to be focused on, in order to support the organization, in becoming more efficient and reduce liabilities. OD provides an integrated way of approaching challenges in our ever-changing workplace.
What does the OD process look like when supporting ideas and solutions for enhancing the employee value proposition? Why apply behavioural sciences, both psychology and sociology? OD techniques includes analyzing data and doing research to identify departmental and leadership strengths and weaknesses. Once identified, the business can use coaching, conflict management, leadership development to improve employee’s skills and increase retention in the business.
But the basis of it remains the same: using interventions based in behavioral science concepts to facilitate positive change and increase the effectiveness of an organization and its employees.
Human Resource plays a critical role in OD because, it is about improving employee engagement, performance management, motivation, that leads to retaining talent. This is done by creating employee wellness programs, work-life balance, diversity program, and not staying static. It’s about knowing what processes support the employee and business for optimum results.
A mistake that’s common for businesses is assuming what works for employees or a department will work for all, in today’s world, OD is critical to help identify the “what” needs to be focused on to support the organizations success, and “How to implement changes effectively”.
We all know change can be difficult, and more difficult when changes happen with no warning, like when the COVID pandemic hit. With no warning, businesses needed to find a new way of working, while keeping their people engaged, productive, and feeling valued. The strengths and weaknesses of employees and leaders became clear for many.
OD helped identify what employees needed from business leaders in an uncertain world of change. How were we going to adapt to the vast changes, computer shortages, people working from home, everything we once knew, changed on a dime.
Businesses who were successful through the pandemic, used OD techniques, they learned quickly how to keep their people engaged, it helped us understand basic science - a square box doesn’t fit in a circle, so why did we think our people would?
So what are the basic techniques of Organizational Development, well let’s talk about what it isn’t first. OD isn’t about making changes on a whim that only creates disruption in the workplace, team or department because someone had a great idea but, they didn’t do the research. This tactic will only hurt a business with high turnover and low employee morale that will always lead to a decrease in productivity.
Using OD techniques supports adjusting strategies, structures, people, metrics, and management processes to improve workplace efficiency and productivity. It will support identifying and resolve an organizations system-related issues that affect engagement, productivity, and performance.
By following these steps, a company can make significant improvements with lasting positive impacts to the business. The business will be able to track the data and find solutions to required changes or problems when they arise.
Identify the Problem
• A problem can be identified in a range of ways including, data gathering or surveys
Assess the situation
• Review documentation, stakeholder focus groups, fact finding related to the problem for developing an effective solution
Develop an Action Plan
• This step can be the longest step in the process. It should be done with input from all parties involved so all solutions that address the problem at can be identified.
Implementation of the Plan
• Put your plan into action, it’s important at this stage to include clear communication and training to ensure the plan is executed timely and effectively.
• Identify if the changes are having the desired impact, this can be done by gathering data as soon as the process has been executed.
• You’ll want to pay close attention to the data to ensure the plan is having the desired improvements. Ensure you’re analyzing the data with the lens of total impact including any negative impacts you weren’t expecting.
• Gathering feedback from all stakeholders to ensure the plan has had the desired positive impact.
• If the process changes made the positive impacts the business was looking for, it will become a part of normal business procedures,
Change has it challenges but, with clear policies, communication, procedures, and a clear action plan that has been well thought out, can help support real change that impacts the business in a positive way and can make all the difference!