Organizational development (OD) is a process that aims to bring systematic changes to how an organization functions as it keeps up with the demands of technological and cultural advances. The changes may focus on your values, organizational culture, or how you operate as a company. Organizational development interventions (OD interventions) are the programs and activities used to improve your organization.
Why You Need OD Interventions
Organizational development is a science-based method to improve the efficiency of your corporation, and using the structure of OD interventions is going to move the needle and make lasting impacts.
- OD interventions keep you competitive. Using updated technology and principles to run your business is going to make you more efficient, create better, happier employees, and satisfy your customers. Better resources, a high-performing workforce, and the endorsement of happy customers are great for your brand and will make you stand out from the rest of your competitors.
- OD interventions help you adapt to changing cultures and technologies. Technology is advancing much faster than ever before, and everyone is using some form of mobile or wearable device these days. Depending on your industry, you may be implementing more AI, machine learning, the cloud, IoT devices, intelligent software, and other top-quality tech over the next several years. Businesses simply cannot afford to neglect cutting-edge technology or digital and online business practices!
But, the tech world isn’t the only change that an organization needs to understand in 2023. 57% of job-seekers say that poor work-life wellness is a dealbreaker when applying for a new job. Policies that lead to poor organizational culture, burnout, little flexibility, inadequate benefits, and poor wages are big contributors to the Big Quit. OD interventions motivate organizations to adopt new ways to support their employees, allowing them to improve employee retention and productivity.
Types of Interventions in OD
It’s important to understand OD intervention types so that you can determine what your company actually needs. You may have niche challenges or shortcomings that you want to address, but most concerns will fall into one of these buckets.
- Human process interventions focus on group dynamics, employee relations, and how your company communicates and handles conflict.
- Human resource management interventions look at company and employee performance, talent development, and the general wellbeing of employees and management at work.
- Strategic interventions help with merging two or more organizations or dealing with any kind of large-scale restructuring in your business.
- Techno-structural interventions analyze the structural and technological issues your company faces, such as employee engagement and work redesign.
10 Examples of OD Interventions
Human process interventions
Human process interventions improve the way your organization interacts with each other and analyze how it handles conflict. A few examples include:
- Individual interventions help the individual employee better understand and communicate with others through mentoring or coaching the employee on their current behaviors.
- Team building interventions help your teams and departments all have their own subcultures.Team-building activities can help them communicate better, work together, engage with their work, and perform at their best.
- Group interventions review and discuss your team’s processes, structure, and performance. What processes can be improved and what challenges do you face as a team?
Human resource management interventions
HR management interventions improve an organization’s performance by helping each team member reflect and improve individually through support, performance management, and flexibility.
- Developing talent helps individuals bridge the gaps in their skills and support their continual professional development at your company. In this OD intervention, analyze the benefits of implementing mentorship programs, leadership development programs, on-the-job employee training, andjob shadowing programs.
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) interventions aim to increase and encourage diversity and inclusion in your organization. Your company is made up of a wide range of races, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, and more. This OD intervention strategizes how to drive innovation through diversity.
- Wellness interventions support the health of every person in your company by implementing wellness programs and reviewing employee benefits. According to our new State of Work-Life Wellness 2022 Report, our proprietary research found that 48% of employees said their wellbeing declined in 2022. Employers have a responsibility to confront this crisis head-on by supporting work-life wellness.
Strategic interventions analyze your organizational structure and operations. They aim to identify and move away from elements that don’t work so that you are more competitive in your industry.
- Transformational change involves changing essential business strategies such as organizational structure and operations processes. This can look like a restructuring or reorganization, downsizing, and outsourcing. You should also identify any organizational challenges standing in your way.
- Transorganizational change looks at how you can collaborate with other businesses to increase brand awareness and boost your marketing efforts. This might include business decisions such as mergers, acquisitions, and networking.
Part of taking care of the people who make up your organization is ensuring they have the tools and resources they need to perform well, which is why you must try and improve your organizational effectiveness and be willing to invest in technology and restructuring when necessary through techno-structural interventions.
- Work design interventions ensure your teams are engaged, organized and supported in the most efficient ways so that everyone can complete their work and manage their work relationships successfully.
- Structural design interventions help determine if your organization is using the right business methods for your line of work, for your employees, and for your processes. It also asks what hierarchical changes you can implement to make your business more successful.
How to Use OD Interventions in Your Business
Every organization is different and you aren’t going to fit into a perfect box, but any company that follows these steps to using OD interventions as part of a larger organizational development process is setting itself up for success.
- Identify Issues to Address
Determine the issue that needs to be addressed and figure out the key metrics that your team needs measured. What is not working in your organization that your team needs to improve? Who is suffering due to the problem?
Maybe you don’t have a great customer feedback system, so your consumers are increasingly frustrated and you’re losing business. Maybe you don’t have a relevant benefits package for your employees and are losing some of your top talent because of it. Whatever the case, try and identify the core issue and what you measure failure and success by.
- Brainstorm solutions
In this step, investigate the problem and work as a team to determine what the best solution is for your company. What stands in your way when wanting to accomplish this goal? How can you overcome those barriers? What has already been attempted that you can either avoid or improve upon?
You can tailor solutions to employee and organizational goals so that the steps for improvement are realistic and actionable. Make sure your goal is specific, measurable, and backed up with detailed steps.
- Build a plan and implement it
Once you’ve identified an issue and determined the best od intervention to solve that issue, it’s time to implement the strategy. As you implement your plan, remember that these adjustments are going to be difficult to incorporate into your teams and mindsets, so be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Your employees may need more training, closer mentorship, engaging activities, etc. to maintain a high level of energy and motivation. Remember to communicate early and often and implement a way to gather feedback throughout the implementation process.
- Analyze results
Don’t forget this crucial step: make sure you look back and follow through so that you can actually analyze how well your strategy worked, where the hiccups were, the big successes, and if you can make any further adjustments to continue growing. Did you meet your goals? If yes, what made those goals a success? If not, where were the holdups? Reflecting on the progress and experience of your organization is as important of a step as any.
Challenges to Organizational Development Interventions
- Endurance. All change is demanding and does not come easily, whether those changes are made as individuals, as a group, or as a business. Systematic change can be especially difficult and time-consuming because we crave stability as humans and have a set way of doing things at work. Cultural shifts? Sometimes those are the hardest, but also the most rewarding.
- Limited resources. Like any project, you have to make the most of the time and money you spend on OD interventions, so make sure your resources are being intentionally and carefully delegated and that the leaders overseeing this process are aligned on the strategy and committed to seeing the intervention through.
- Poor planning. One of the quickest ways to fail at an OD intervention is to go into it without a game plan. Not determining your tangible goals and failing to establish metrics to measure the success of intervention will come back to haunt you, so it’s essential to create a strategy that you can measure and analyze.
- Poor management. If management’s heart isn’t in it, employees will see through the nonchalance and deprioritize your intervention strategy. Plus, if the intervention isn’t monitored and actively worked out by the right leadership, it’s nearly impossible to make the change stick. Put leaders in place who are passionate about the investment or transformation you are making as an organization so that excitement and success start at the top and trickle down to every level of your enterprise.
Remember that no organization is perfect and that there is always room for improvement. It’s easy to pick apart all of the worst things we see about ourselves and our organization. Instead of letting it overwhelm you, take these OD interventions one step at a time while focusing on the most important ways to take care of your employees and customers.
Does your organization need a bit of a facelift when it comes to taking care of your employees? Talk to a wellbeing specialist from Gympass to learn more about what you can do to improve your organizational culture, improve the health and experience of your employees, and ultimately make your OD interventions a success.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.