Organizational & Cultural Assessments

Organizational assessment (employee opinion surveys, climate surveys, etc.) involves creating a picture of "what is." This snapshot should provide a clear view of the present. An organization can use a variety of tools to create the picture:

The key to an effective assessment is being clear about the goal of the assessment process and being specific about the questions the process must answer.

Assessment as part of a change process serves three primary purposes:

The third purpose is critical. The cultural assessment itself changes nothing. But the method by which it is done can start to change perceptions and the way the results are communicated, and communicates to employees a great deal about whether the change effort is for real or just "another program."

Cultural Assessment is challenging because there are a number of different pictures of the organization depending upon the role of the person responding or the level at which one is placed. Understanding and interpreting these different pictures and using that information to plan and manage change is critical to increasing the probability of success. The reason to assess organizational culture is to determine what the organization is doing well and to generate recommendations for continuous improvement. The HRD approach toward culture surveys combines a customized technically sound survey instrument that is professionally administered and interpreted, together with pragmatic consulting experience applied to participant feedback. Therefore, client organizations are provided not only with valid statistical information, but also with practical and effective methods for communicating and utilizing the survey's results.

The commitment to use an organizational culture survey should not be a one-time effort. The use of culture surveys to periodically inventory the climate of your workforce is an excellent way to ensure that management is keeping in touch with the critical issues facing the organization and making sure the culture is aligned with the vision. In this way, management is better able to anticipate and prevent any potential problem areas, and to assess employee attitudes regularly.

It must be understood that Cultural Assessment is much different than Employee Opinion Surveys. Cultural Assessments are organizational specific and are designed to look at the socio-tech environment of the organization and the traditional Employee Opinion Survey items.

Special Features

STEP1 -- ORGANIZATIONAL DIAGNOSIS

The Cultural Assessment provides information about core dimensions of organizational culture, including:

In addition, based on the diagnosis, most clients choose to add customized survey items that deal with unique issues facing their organization. Examples include:

As a result of the diagnosis, various groups and subgroups of employees are identified and relevant comparisons are determined. This allows HRD STRATEGIES staff to design a coding system for computer analysis, and allows for group comparisons on the various dimensions. This organizational diagnosis helps ensure that all subsequent steps run smoothly and that the company receives the most useful information from the assessment.

STEP 2 -- SURVEY ADMINISTRATION

HRD STRATEGIES takes time to carefully explain to each employee group the reasons for the survey and its special features. To overcome any employee apprehension about how the survey results will be used, it is emphasized that the survey is anonymous.

The survey can be administered to large groups of employees at one time. Most groups complete the survey in 30 to 45 minutes. The instrument consists of a core item survey, a supplement containing organization-specific items, and open-ended questions. The open-ended questions allow employees to write about any areas they wish to expand upon with regard to what the organization is doing right and what improvements are needed.

STEP 3 -- REPORT GENERATION

The survey will be designed so that the statistical data can be presented simply and clearly. The data is summarized reflecting the percentage of people responding in each of rating choices. Statistical results are presented for each of the dimensions described earlier and, if desired, for specific items as well. The report compares the organization's current culture with previous administrations of the survey.

The responses to the open-ended questions are content-analyzed in order to identify major themes and areas commented on. It is often the case that unique themes are found that management is not aware of and that are not brought out clearly in the questionnaire part of the survey. These analyses are summarized and interpreted in a written report.

STEP 4 -- FEEDBACK TO MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

With an emphasis on practical and sound feedback to participants, A series of meetings is held in which all Managers are shown the results for the overall organization as well as their particular work unit. These Managers are then encouraged to openly discuss the survey data in order to gain a better understanding of the various issues facing the organization, and decide on a plan to give feedback to their employees. HRD STRATEGIES will provide a staff member to assist the Managers with feedback to their respective departments.

STEP 5 -- RECOMMENDATIONS TO MANAGEMENT

HRD STRATEGIES will provide a final written report outlining the organizational strengths and a recommended plan of action for improving organizational effectiveness.

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