Resource planning – Individually, a person might mostly act rationally and sensibly. Yet an organization manned by such individuals can act in less than sensible ways owing to group dynamics, personal conflicts and other factors. Organization development is essentially change management to change this situation.
Definition of Organization Development
The traditional definition of resource planning as a top down exercise to improve the effectiveness and health of the organization through planned interventions (Beckhard, “Organization development: Strategies and Models”) is undergoing change. These days, the emphasis is on changing the behavior of the people in the organization by using the knowledge accumulated by behavioral sciences such as psychology, sociology, and even political science.
The goal in resource planning is to influence the members of the organization so that they are more candid about their views of their organization and feel more responsible for their own actions as organization members (Nielsen, “Becoming an OD Practitioner”).
Organization development involves a change in organizational culture so that it can respond quickly to evolving business environments of fast changing technology, markets and other external factors.
OD is also Management Development
One key problem with resource planning is related to group dynamics. People feel several kinds of pressures in a group, and face many problems while trying to work effectively. For example, the norms of the group might be different from a member’s personal ones causing an internal conflict, and roles might not be clear and tasks might be left undone because nobody knows who is responsible. Identifying and tackling such problems is what we call management development. OD goes about this task by focusing in a major way on the people.
Developing the organization to act quickly, rationally and sensibly as a cohesive entity will definitely have a major impact on all aspects of its operations. Strategic planning, for example, can benefit from information on the ground which will become available to people at the top. This might not be the case in an organization where field people do not feel responsible or encouraged to pass on such information upwards.
Training, leadership development, two-way communications, business process re-engineering, quality management and other critical aspects of effective management and performance tend to benefit from the minimization of personal conflicts and increased feelings of responsibility in the organization. The people in the organization become a real “human resource” instead of a warring group.
Resource Planning Requires Excellent Change Management
Real OD can happen, however, only if:
There is a clear recognition that the existing organization has a problem.
Top level managers are committed to identifying real problems and tackling these.
Competent guidance from outside consultants, or insiders with knowledge of behavioral science and organizational systems as also sufficient influence, is available.
A clear action plan is developed through field data collection and analyzing the data sitting with people in the organization.
The action plan is implemented in a sustained manner through needed interventions such as training, and group dynamics and task oriented sessions.
The results are monitored and adaptations are made to the plan development and implementation exercises based on the feedback.
Ultimately, the organization should find itself equipped to act as an integrated entity able to adapt constantly to changing environs, even without the support of an outside consultant. Organization development is a never ending process in a rapidly changing scenario, and the process can be seen as completed only when the organization can do it on its own.
Organization development is a process that equips organizations to work as a cohesive, cooperative entity pursuing a shared vision without being distracted by internal conflicts and organizational problems. OD becomes particularly relevant in a scenario of constant changes, such as those caused by mergers, restructuring and outsourcing, among other developments.
Employer and Employee Mutual Benefits
CEOs, directors and business owners are constantly faced with rapid technology changes, increased accountability, new issues and other numerous challenges.
Unfortunately, as they concentrate on keeping up with today’s marketplace, efforts tend to leave staff exhausted. Before long, some organisations find a negative culture, with de-motivated employees proliferating across all levels.
So what can be done to get through this “de-motivated zone?” Employers can focus on re-culturing the beliefs and values that underlie their organisation. There’s a need for a collaborative partnership between the people and the processes, a culture that constantly reinforces positive employee attitude, and a process that include a management initiative that will improve work performance of staff through motivation.
Along with managing organizational goals, two key challenges for managers are staff performance and skills development. Managers need results such as increases in profitability and productivity as well as decreases in internal conflicts and problems and attrition. In short, they need a competent and motivated workforce. Managers need to motivate the team effectively and be able to analyse perceptions of direct reports, document performance objectives and measures, profile staff appraisal skills, build competence, give informal feedback and implement best practices.
Here are some tips on how employers can create a mutual benefit for their business and their staff with respect to resource planning:
Choose the Right Resource. It is not difficult to choose the right person once employers have identified through job analysis and job description what it is they want and how they want things done. Once they have chosen the person, the new hire immediately undergoes a briefing and training.
Focus on Staff Skills. Managers should assign roles that best take advantage of staff skills and other strengths. When people use their strengths regularly they are self-motivated, energised, productive, and happy. If employees work in a team to put out a product or service, skills required should be identified to put out the product or service on time, with high quality and customer satisfaction.
Develop and Train Staff. A well-designed human resource process should be in place to ensure that when organizations recruit the best employees, they hold on to them. The process includes a training and development plan that communicates how the organization values the staff skills and contributions. The plan also includes an employee performance appraisal to be done periodically and a performance improvement plan for those who do not meet the appraisal requirements. Staff development is an ongoing activity.
Provide a Diversity and Work/Life Balance Program. This initiative includes any benefits, policies, or programs that help create a better balance between the demands of the job and life outside work.
In a mutually beneficial employer-employee relationship environment, employers encourage a climate of respectful communication among staff. They continuously maximize their own potential as well as their staff while creating a learning culture that work together. When staff are motivated to perform harder, feel a sense of belonging, and their skills are continuously developed aligned to the business direction, the team’s performance increases and the organization’s success is enhanced, a sure move towards a shared vision for mutual benefit.
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