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Organisation Development In Practice

Published February 27, 2014 (last updated on July 1, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


Organisation development (OD) can broadly be defined as a planned organisational development to enable sustained performance and positive growth. A key aspect of OD is the participation of an organisation’s primary assets – its employees!

OD is not only relevant to big corporations. Small to medium business can also use OD principles to achieve success.

When considering any plan for growth or development, it is important to have a clear set of strategic goals.  With a solid understanding of the direction your organisation needs to be heading, you can create a clear OD plan which aligns to these strategic goals and maximises your organisation’s ability to achieve them.

Can you answer the following questions?

  • What are your organisation’s key strategic goals?

  • Can your organisation achieve its goals from its existing resources?

  • Do those resources have the potential capacity and capability to achieve these goals?

  • Are there actions you can take to harness and maximise the potential of these resources?

After establishing your organisational goals, identify the skills required to achieve them and identify any current knowledge or skill gaps within your existing team. This will help you create an OD strategy to build on the existing skills and focus on bridging any gaps, whether through recruitment, investing in appropriate training and development, or other OD strategies.

Key organisational development strategies

OD may be achieved through a number of strategies, in particular though the development and involvement of employees. Key people strategies include:

  • Workforce planning

  • Talent management

  • Mentoring and coaching

  • Employee empowerment

  • Training and development

  • Career development

  • Leadership development

  • Team building

  • Effective change management

The benefits

There are a number of advantages to recognising the people benefits for OD.

Your employees may have more knowledge and capabilities than they demonstrate in their current role. Gaining an understanding of your employee’s talent, skills and experience, and their specific interests and career goals can be a quick win to achieving success.  Training and development strategies which take account of individual’s interest and personal career goals will create a culture of continuous improvement and shared goals.  Its win, win for employers and employees!

Some of your employees may be willing to take on extra challenges and simply need the guidance to do so. By working closely with individuals through coaching and mentoring, you can motivate and encourage them to operate beyond their current capabilities. Empowered employees are also likely to be more loyal and motivated to contribute their energy, skills and ideas towards the achievement of the organisational goals. This could mean increased product and service quality, customer satisfaction and cost effectiveness.

OD can also help facilitate change by engaging employees in the change process. Rather than dictating the change that needs to happen for success, collaborating with employees is likely to encourage their participation in the necessary change, making it easier, faster and sustainable.

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