Embrace Change with Organizational Development
The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op has grown into a $15 million business since its establishment in 1973. In terms of sales and volume, it is the second-largest single-store grocery cooperative in the country with 7,000 member-owners. It is without a doubt a tremendous achievement for the company, and at the time, people were content with how things ran.
At some point, however, an idea to expand to a second store was brought to the table. With it being brought up by a vocal minority of its democratic membership, it led the business to a crossroads. Tensions were running high and the organization was stuck until they could reach consensus.
The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op might not be the only organization out there that experiences this kind of ordeal. In business, what is constant is change, and companies and organizations must always be prepared to embrace, adapt, and even grow with it. Without the necessary change, it will be difficult to move forward, keep up, and compete in the constantly evolving market. Companies and organizations that fail in managing change in a business and adapting to it might face the consequence of being trapped in a stagnant condition, or worse, losing the competition.
This is where organizational development comes into play.
Organizational development as a solution to deal with change
Organizational development, or OD, is a science-based interdisciplinary field that could help companies and organizations improve to be much more effective and achieve greater potential. It improves existing processes, reinforces strategies, structures, and processes, as well as develops new ones by combining adult developmental and industrial/organizational psychology.
OD is often incorrectly ascribed as a function of human resources. The two of them actually differ in terms of their focus—human resources focus on the people (individualized), while OD focuses on the whole organization (holistic).
Organizational development is an on-going and systematic process to establish dynamic and flexible culture, improve efficiency and productivity, and increase competitiveness. Involving many aspects and having several moving parts, its strategy development is structured in five main phases: entry, diagnosis, feedback, solution, and evaluation.
Entry: exploring issues and opportunities which generate an output of plan with certain agreements and expectations
Diagnosis: data collecting process with a holistic approach to determine the analysis method
Feedback: reviewing collected and analyzed data to develop an action plan that outlines the change solutions to be developed along with success indicators
Solution: the implementation of the plan to fix the problem, improve, or seize opportunities
Evaluation: making sure that the implementation is working accordingly and achieves the intended goals and success indicators with hard data, reporting, and feedback
If carried out carefully, the benefits of organizational development could be reaped by companies and organizations that engage in it, mainly the benefits in communication (internally and externally), employee development, services and process improvement, and sales enablement.
One of OD’s goals is to achieve effective communication, which could align employees with the company's goals, objectives and values. In addition, intense and open communication will encourage continuous improvements and enable employees to embrace changes and leverage them.
Constant market and industry changes push employees to adapt. Through effective communication, OD could encourage employees to equip market-relevant skills and develop them along with their existing skills.
Services and process improvement
With the boost in employees’ motivation and productivity, innovations are born and improvements are made, leading to product and service enhancements.
The increase in employees’ motivation and productivity leads to more innovations, which is a key factor to the improvement of products and services.
Companies could profit more and efficiency is increased as productivity and innovations rise. In addition, satisfied and engaged employees equal to less employee turnover and absenteeism, resulting in lesser costs. As a result, the company could focus more on product and service quality improvements to achieve greater customer satisfaction.
Back to the case of Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, the issue was addressed through OD by aligning employees with the company's visions and values. A survey was conducted involving all member-owners to analyze the core issue and find solutions based on the data. At the end, a high number of member-owners came into the same understanding and agreed to the devised plan.
It is interesting to see that they managed to solve the issue through direct engagement. To quote from Eric Douglas of Leading Resources Inc. (LRI) who was involved in the process, “Many of the member-owners who approved the plan had only been touched tangentially by the process – through taking the survey or reading about it in the Co-op’s newsletter, but because they had been touched, they supported the change.”
BMJ’s Organizational Development
In 2019, LinkedIn Learning surveyed over 2,000 professionals to find out what qualities employees want most in a manager. 68% respondents stated that they want their manager to have problem-solving skills, 44% wish for a manager with good time management, 41% ask for a manager to have decisive ability, and 38% would be delighted with a manager having empathy.
At BMJ, leaders do their utmost and constantly improve to become the ones our employees deserve.
BMJ believes that actively engaging the employees is fundamental for the development of the company. Whenever possible, our leaders step right in to communicate directly with employees, hear their voices and concerns, and discuss the solutions to solve the existing problems.
In addition, we carry out regular employee training and development to make sure that our employees grow and improve their skills to meet the latest global demand. In 2021, as much as 7,357 hours was spent for the training. Our development programs, namely Individual Development Program and Talent Management Program, are open for all qualified employees to prepare them for climbing up the career ladder. BMJ has always promoted a new leader to a managerial role since 2017. Every year, a new emerging star emerges.
Adapting to a more digitalized world, we have also developed technology-based systems to ease monitoring organizational performance and increase efficiency. One of our breakthroughs is EurekaEveryday, an application that we created to accumulate and share important, valuable information among the employees.
We implement organizational development by emphasizing on employee engagement and development the best we can to make all the difference, to drive business forward no matter changes and crises come by us.
Take a look at our white paper and gain more insight on organizational development here.
Stevenson, M. (2021, August 26). What is organizational development, and why should your business care?.
Sutherland, C. (2019, February 14). 5 key benefits of organizational development.
The importance of leadership and people management skills. (2021, July 13).