The current organizations operate in an environment that is changing rapidly hence most important organizational asset is their ability to manage change and for employees to remain authentic and healthy. This paper explores the advantages, disadvantages and practicality of employee-based interventions. Organization development (OD) refers to organization-wide, effort planned, and managed from top in order to increase health and effectiveness through organized interventions in the entity’s processes by use of knowledge of behavioral science (Beckhard).
The employee-based interventions are aimed at improving intergroup and interpersonal relationships within an organization and include team building and survey feedback mechanisms.
They enable employees to deal with difficult people and involve identifying behaviors that are disruptive and escalating conflicts hence the workforce would be able to employ self-care strategies to handle such people during change. These interventions also provide family, wellness and educational services that serve the objectives of managing problems of employee performance, restoration in workplace and development in organizations (Neilsen).
OD attempts to influence the organizational members to expand their candidness with one another about their experience and organizational views and help them take more responsibilities for their own actions as members of the organization hence when employees pursue these objectives concurrently, they would discover new ways of co-working together that they experience as more efficient for attaining their individual and their shared organizational objectives. These help them to understand and make adjustments whenever they do not meet the expected goals (Neilsen).
It also ensure that employees succeed as a result of implementation of strong organization policies that promote desirable cultures and prohibit vices like smoking by managing support of awareness programs for the benefit of the employee well-being. Include management of stress and difficult attitude of employees through provision of budget to support such change strategies. These planned systematic activities also provide employees with learning opportunities to acquire new skills for the current and future job commitments.
Well implemented intervention strategies are useful to employees, managers and company since it would enhance integration and open communication among company stakeholders. Performance would also improve as training and development on the intervention strategies is properly undertaken. The employees would also be motivated due to properly communicated requirements and clarity of standards. These strategies also ensure that employees are well placed, remunerated equitably, promoted objectively and their career plans are structured well hence workforce turnover is minimized. The intervention strategies also include employee coaching which entail helping them recognize opportunities to improve capabilities of performance and include skill transfer, guidance, and feedback. This would enable employees to cope with change, obtain performance targets and maintain continuous learning.
Intervention strategies often result in frustrations, demotivation and ineffectiveness due to uncertainty of change created by unclear information on expected specific requirements. This impact on company performance and sustainability of organization in long term is adversely affected normally resulting from lack of precise definition of objectives and goals (Swanepoel).
The process should focus on key value drivers to ensure that stakeholder expectations are met and that team and individual efforts give support to organizational goals. Important drivers include planning, corporate strategy targets, stakeholder expectations and management/employee involvement. These factors normally fail to be addressed in organizations hence intervention process becomes destructive and wastes organizational energy hence benefits and value added becomes minimal.
The intervention process normally incorporate planning, maintenance, reviews and rewards on change management which takes effort and time and whenever inappropriate organizational aspects of goals fail to contribute to long-term achievement of stakeholder needs and strategies, they result in lack of credibility, business failure and demotivation of employees. The process also involve wide network of stakeholders including customers, employees, shareholders etc hence making tangible decisions takes time (Swanepoel).
The employee-based intervention processes are highly emotional and complex and these dilemmas may result due to lack of transparency and objectivity. They are also unaffordable ventures and previous practices and systems pose challenges. The changes strategies like rewards payments based on performance often fail due to lack of objective quantitative measures and also due to lack of immediate reinforcement i.e. poor relationship between performance and pay. It also fails whenever wrong achievements and behaviors are rewarded and sustenance of aspects not related to strategy. The rules on communication of benefits, procedures and objectives may also be violated due to crowded intervention strategies.
Their change agents normally encounter resistance to change by managers and employees who are conservative and don’t want new challenges. The employee union involvement and perception may not be supportive to organization changes and industrial strives may occur.
Strategies may not be formal, defined and clear hence understanding becomes a problem to implementers. The decisions may remain in top level management only and lower level employees fail to be involved in decision making hence create dissatisfactions among workforce (Bernthal).
There is no much time to undertake all required intervention processes like planning and implementation hence companies would rather perform normal profit generating activities than planning to execute changes.
The companies also lack finances and resources to handle change, for example, agents and employees may demand increased remuneration due to increased responsibilities.
The change agent may lack support from management and employees hence implementation of change is curtailed. They may be having inadequate managerial knowledge and skills hence transition process become complex and distracts the normal day to day business activities.
The OD practitioners need to perform like organizational physicians in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of workforce and the organization through establishment of relationship with key organizational personnel normally known as entering and contracting with the organization. They should then research and evaluate organizational systems to comprehend goals and dysfunctions of systems i.e. diagnose the organization systems. They should then identify the interventions/approaches to improve efficiency of the organization and its people, and then apply the interventions to improve effectiveness i.e. the planned change methods in the company. Finally, they should evaluate extent of effectiveness of interventions and their ultimate results (O’Callaghan,).
The practitioners need to consider a wide range of skills, knowledge and abilities when implementing the interventions and should seek OD experts’ suggestions. They should identify the specific roles of the change agents, individuals and change manager within organizational system when designing an intervention strategy. They should then design the intervention strategy by action planning, diagnosis and evaluation of the system and should recognize the roles of the human resource development professionals in designing the employee-based OD interventions. The role of labor union is also critical for practitioner during OD interventions strategies development (O’Callaghan,).
They should also learn appropriate business skills by obtaining understanding of basic business topics in order to start organization development and avoid focusing on OD models only that make people to enter into change but attempt to help people overcome resistance to change by considering the business aspect of things. This would reduce failure which is occasioned by people’s feelings, perceptions and beliefs which OD training programs aim to handle. This would also minimize failure caused by poor business structures, operations and goals by undertaking training and development on change strategies (O’Callaghan,).
During planning, practitioner should include agreement on official development plan for workforce that should be based on key competencies like behaviors, skills and knowledge which are required to attain the set goals and should also include long-term development initiatives based on exemplary performance and potentiality.
They should also base the training programs on identified performance gaps during performance maintenance and should link the training to the gaps identified to make training specific, focused and relevant hence they should assess the performance data as source of yearly training requirement analysis. They should also align the performance management process and training/development strategies with overall retention strategy of the organization since regular performance feedback and relevant development /training interventions are vital factors in retention of skills (Hancock).
Practitioner should adhere to the success factors of interventions implementation including relevance of strategy which entails clear job goals and updated job profiles. Change strategy should also be reliable by employing use of consistent error ratings and measurements. They should also be able to discriminate between bad and good performance and should be free from contamination from external influences. They should be practicable by being manageable administratively, understandable and easy to use. They should be acceptable and involve all players by perceiving it legitimate and finally the system should be legal compliant to employment equity acts, labor laws and should be procedural and substantively fair.
Beckhard, “Organization development: Strategies and Models”, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1969, p. 9.
Bernthal, P, Rogers, R.W & Smith, A. Managing Performance – Building Accountability for Organisational Success. 2003. Pittsburgh, PA, Development Dimensions International.
Hancock, P., Tyler, M. (Work, Postmodernism and Organization: A Critical Introduction. London, Sage.2001.
Neilsen, “Becoming an OD Practitioner”, Englewood Cliffs, CA: Prentice-Hall, 1984, pp. 2-3.
O’Callaghan, A. Key Building Blocks of an Effective Performance Management System. Unpublished paper delivered at an IIL Conference. 2004.
Swanepoel, B, Erasmus, B, Van Wyk, M & Schenk, H. South African Human Resource Management- Theory & Practice. Juta & Co., 2003.