Now more than ever, employee satisfaction is critical. Organizations managing remote work environments often face challenges they never anticipated. This is true for large and small law firms, corporations and other businesses — whether their work-from-home situation is temporary or the new normal.
The most important factor for most organizations to look after right now is their people. Regardless of your size or the market you serve, keeping your team healthy and happy — both personally and professionally — is more important than ever. Even if it has never been a priority in the past, now is the time to focus on organizational development.
WHAT IS ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The pace of change in any firm or company can be overwhelming. Priorities, technology, people and outside influences are always changing. Organizational development is a focused effort around planning for and managing these changes with methodical strategies and processes aimed at improving organizational effectiveness and overall health.
Organizational development applies behavioral science to influence employees to be honest with one another about their experiences and perceptions of the organization and to assume a greater role in the organization’s success. In doing so, lines of communication open and shared goals are identified, such that people find improved ways of working together to achieve those goals.
An important component of this concept is collaboration. Org dev is not a one-time project nor is it handled by a single resource in a vacuum. Rather, its success requires acceptance of both its premise and the strategies and processes implemented throughout the organization. Engagement in those structures is necessary to achieve the goals of the program.
ORG DEV IN PRACTICE
Law firms, corporations and even government agencies can benefit from a focused effort around organizational development. There are several tools organizations can adopt to advance their org dev initiatives, a few of which are described below.
Ongoing performance management: Reflektive is one example of a flexible, powerful performance management tool that provides real-time feedback and instills accountability. In addition to supporting annual performance review cycles, it is also used to support monthly one-on-one check-ins between managers and their direct reports. The check-ins support goal creation and tracking, constructive feedback and shoutouts between employees.
What is a “shoutout”? Shoutouts are short submissions, generally a few sentences long, that highlight a company core value demonstration and are themed to either congratulate a team or an individual on a success, recognize outstanding work or express thanks for assistance. They are published in the Reflektive tool in a format that is like a Facebook homepage, visible companywide, allowing fellow employees to like or comment on the shoutout.
Morale measurement: Happy employees are less likely to leave their jobs than those who are unhappy. And those with positive attitudes are more innovative, creative problem-solvers than those who bring a negative outlook to work. Measuring how people are feeling allows organizations to make real-time observations and changes when necessary to address serious issues.
Friday Pulse is an example of a tool used to gauge employee happiness on an ongoing basis. The platform generates a weekly survey asking employees the following: “How happy were you at work this week?” “What went well (your celebrations)?” “How can we make things better (your ideas)?” Answers are anonymous, with overall scores across teams or departments made visible to group members.
There are additional questions around lighthearted topics or polls that are meant to initiate discussion among the team — topics like “What’s a great movie you have seen recently?” or “Would you rather sail around the world or climb Mount Everest?” Discussing the Friday weekly results is a nice way to kick off team meetings, especially when much of the team may be working remotely, to help re-engage those who may be feeling disconnected.
Internal blog: An internal blog is a useful way to share information and keep employees connected via a more relaxed communication channel than formal emails.
Our internal company communications blog is named “Frank.” It is used to support official communications from our executive team, as well as news, events and company culture-related topics. The site is interactive to allow for comments and likes. The name Frank came from our chief executive officer and is meant to underscore the frankness of the communications on the blog and the conversations that result from the posts.
Now more than ever, keeping teams connected and maintaining a positive culture will help organizations better position themselves for whatever is to come.
Prioritizing collaborative environments and open, honest communication promotes a healthy culture, one that serves to attract and retain the best employees. And regardless of profession or industry, or how much technology we employ, the truth remains that it is people that make the biggest difference between organizations that are successful and those that are not.
About the Author
Roy Baez is the Manager of Organizational Development at ProSearch, a global e-discovery company, where he oversees communications, culture and training and development. He has more than two decades of experience managing and innovating training, operations, sales operations, digital operations, and company culture for both dot-com and legal-related organizations.
Article Source: September 2020 Issue of ALA Legal Management Magazine