Get Regular Checkups for Organizational Health
Everyone knows how important it is to get regular medical checkups to detect health issues before they become problems. Yet leaders of organizations often overlook this very advice when it comes to assessing the health of their business.
The biggest investment for most companies involves the people costs for human resources and staff development. That’s why HR teams should audit their HR-related activities to ensure the effectiveness of ongoing processes and governance controls. At the same time, department managers should assess the well-being of their teams by regularly “checking the pulse” and “taking the temperature” of team members.
This checkup process is a central element of human capital management. Any assessment of organizational health should reflect the effectiveness of management, operational teams, sales and marketing, and companywide alignment of talent to job roles. The effectiveness of the company’s business strategy and planning should also be reviewed, along with any cultural issues.
Managers can take four simple steps to gain a better understanding of staff morale, organizational roadblocks, and employee concerns or grievances, according to Mark Hordes, a management consultant writing for TrustedAdvisorTraining.com
The first step involves conducting thorough interviews with the executive team to gauge their thoughts about organizational strategy and execution. The second step involves reaching out to the broader range of stakeholders, including the layers of employees, partners, sales managers and marketing executives. Their opinions can be gathered through pulse surveys, in-person focus groups and online crowd-solving sessions
. Creating an anonymous feedback loop allows employees to speak their minds freely without fear of backlash from management. This approach gives managers a clearer view into what’s really happening within the organization.
A third step for an org health checkup involves riding along on customer calls with sales execs and service teams to understand how they interact with users, buyers and other partners. The fourth step involves direct interviews with customers to identify their main questions and concerns. Periodically, it also makes sense to conduct broad “Voice of the Customer” studies through in-depth interviews with the customer’s senior management, middle management and direct users.
Armed with these various forms of assessment, managers can compile and analyze the feedback at an off-site planning meeting. Management should take steps to address the real concerns that bubble up from the employee base by making employees accomplices in the strategic master plan. Leaders can greatly improve team alignment and buy-in by asking employees to propose solutions to their own shared problems, rather than issuing top-down commands for how to proceed.
By regularly taking these steps, management will be better equipped to make good decisions based on insights from multiple points of view. Sometimes to heal a wound, you must expose it to light and fresh air, rather than covering it up. Likewise, organizational health depends on taking direct feedback from the team and being responsive to their concerns.