Bullseye! An Example of Hitting the Target

We are concluding our three-part series on targeted assessments with a case study, just to prove to you that this approach truly does work.

Case Study: Organizational Climate as a Change Management Technique

Three years ago, SMD was contacted by a company interested in a targeted assessment focused on measuring the strength of employees’ identification and agreement with the organization’s core values.

This targeted assessment was designed to serve three main goals:

  1. A Value Baseline – The company was interested in gaining an understanding of the strength of employee identification with the organizational values to make comparisons on how these values may change in the future.
  2. Understanding Turnover – The company expressed a concern over attrition and wanted to gain clarity around the reasons why to prevent future turnover.
  3. Living the Values – Finally, the organization wanted to promote their values, internally as well as externally, to help attract, hire, reward, and retain talent that ‘fit’ with their organizational values.

Step One: Targeted Assessment of Organizational Culture

To help the company meet these goals, SMD crafted and validated a targeted assessment of the organization’s culture that captured its specific values, and launched an annual stand-alone survey for the last three years. Year one results served as the baseline. Scores were generally low, yet strong in agreement (clustered around 2’s and 3’s on a five-point scale). The clustering meant that employees were in agreement that the organization was not living its core values. Using this, organizational leaders set goals, made action plans, and enacted processes designed to increase value perceptions.

Step Two: Competency Model of Leadership Levels

Following the results of the targeted culture assessment, SMD built a competency model fo­cused on leadership levels to identify which behaviors made up each core value. From there, SMD rolled out a customized selection assessment that measured candidates on values that were found to drive on-the-job performance. SMD also developed a performance appraisal tool that managers used to rate their direct reports on the identified value behaviors most closely linked to performance.

Organizational Values Increase

The result? Efforts paid off. Year two results showed a signifi­cant increase in all organizational values, across all departments and organizational levels, and decreased turnover intent.

Between the second and third years, the organization went through an acquisition and a resulting massive restructuring impacting all offices, departments, and teams. Generally with large-scale organizational change, there is an adjustment period that follows where any employee assessment is greatly, and negatively, impacted due to employees harboring higher than normal negative attitudes about the change. These attitudes can stem from lack of buy-in, resistance, sorrow (for terminated employees), or even just because change can mean an adjustment for many people. Despite this, employee ratings of the organizational values still increased. Specifically, from year one to three there was a 28% to 51% increase in agreement, depending on value. Year three (similar to Year one) had a strong climate, but unlike Year one, climate was positive and strong with most responses clustering around 4 on a five-point scale. Turnover intent and com­mitment to the organization, two variables that are normally greatly impacted by a large organizational change, actually showed positive gains – those saying they would not leave the company increased from 42% to 54%, while those saying they would decreased from 24% to 19%. Commitment to the company went up from 56% to 84%, while those not com­mitted decreased from 17% to 4%. Not everything in the survey turned out to be positive however. The items designed to assess how employees felt about the organizational change were almost evenly dispensed on the rating scale (e.g., clustered around 1’s on the low end and 5’s on the high end), indicating a lack of agreement.

The bottom line? This organization was able to maintain positive attitudes as well as decrease turnover intent during a time of large-scale organizational change. A successful outcome (the bullseye) was as easy as identifying an issue, investing in targeted assessments, and taking action based on the results to build a strong, positive climate around the organization’s values.

To learn more about how you may leverage targeted assessments in your organization, view our white paper “Missing the Mark with your Approach to Organizational Issues? Hit the Bullseye with Targeted Assessments” or contact us at info@smdhr.com.

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