Good for what ails ya

OE experts are the company’s diagnostic specialists

It’s at the point where people, systems and structures collide, where you will find the organizational effectiveness expert.

In a rapidly changing business world, organizations look for people who can lead them through the change, says Aaron Pun, an organizational development expert with the City of Toronto.

That explains why the consulting companies have been doing such great business.

While going with an external consultant may be one route, a lot of businesses are also depending on their own organizational effectiveness people. These are the people with the skills in change, teams, facilitation and knowledge management to help companies repair processes, or indeed create entirely new processes, to adapt to changing business contexts.

“You need OE people because you have people who are doing things in silos,” explains Pun. And that isn’t good enough anymore. Companies need somebody who can pull all of the pieces together — people, systems and structures — to ensure the smooth running of a company.

So when things are going wrong — teammates butting heads or managers struggling with change — the OE expert is called on to apply expertise in behavioural science, change management, training and development or facilitation to get things back on track.

While T&D may be an important part of the OE toolkit, they are expected to run the diagnostic — to find the problem — and create the forums for people to act to solve the problem as opposed to actually running a training program.

Just like almost everything else in the business world, the roles of OE — or organizational development, organizational change agents, management consultants, take your pick — are changing. And approaches to delivering OE will vary.

For instance, at Canadian Tire, organizational effectiveness is a responsibility of everyone in the HR department, says Janice Wismer, vice-president of HR.

“In my view organizational effectiveness and strategic HR are one and the same,” she says.

So long as employees have an intimate knowledge and a passion for the business and they search for ways to improve the business they are practicing good organizational effectiveness.

Erwin Allderings, a planning co-ordinator with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, believes one of the most important requirements for a HR department in this day and age is someone with expertise in facilitation.

Employees will no longer respond to command-and-control work structures. They want a participatory model and it is the OE expert, or more specifically the expert in facilitation who will provide that, he says.

Latest stories