Sustainable OD

A blog dedicated to the wonderfull field of Organisation Development

They go together

So last month I attended an Employee Engagement Conference. Glad to say it wasn’t my first one in the year, but it got me thinking about Engagement & OD and the sisterhood that exists between both disciplines.

OD in its values talk about inclusivity at all points of the process from diagnosis to implementation. The advantages in doing this are many! When you engage staff from the beginning of the process:

  1. They will more clearly see the path and rationale of what you want to do or looking at.
  2. They will have more insights that you may need to know before taking action.
  3. They will have ideas on how to change and what will work within their culture.
  4. They will know any road blocks, barriers, and key players and influencers which will help facilitate the change.
  5. Getting people on board who may be resistant to change from the beginning will help you and the organisation understand them and think of ways to engage them in the process to make sure they become partners in the mission.
  6. This can have a great impact on employee engagement when done well throughout the organisation.

When engagement is part of the culture these things will happen automatically and I believe sustainable organisational success depends on these two disciplines being core to that culture. To look at the relationship closer I am going to call upon the 4 enablers of engagement as described within the Engage for Success Movement I am very proud of being part of.

Strategic Narrative – Leaders set out a clear vision and purpose for the organisation. During change this is of upmost important, people need to understand where they are going and more importantly why they should change. Leaders must help each individual understand their role within the bigger picture, how they can contribute and the value they add to it.

Engaging Managers – Managers that inspire, facilitate, enable rather than control will translate this vision to their employees in their everyday work. The most important relationship an employee has at work is with their manager, so they are vital to the success of any change. They will be the key communicators during the process, they will also be able to talk to senior leaders and be the voice for their employees when needed. They are the ham in the sandwich, in the middle, but an ever so important ingredient!

Employee Voice – reflecting what we have said about engagement enabling a great OD process. Looking for this voice will enable innovation, ideas, better implementation and a constant feedback on how things are going during the change process. If people are not convinced and believe the change is for the overall best for the organisation they will not change, no matter what else is done, and without people the organisation will not be successful.

Integrity – a great topic of today and very important during change. This is what creates trust in an organisation. If leaders walk the talk, if they are authentic and human, people will follow and be there even when the going gets tough. If the gap between say and do is big, trust breaks and success will seem far far away.

Creating a culture is part of the work OD does and creating a culture where employee engagement is embedded is vital now more than ever in creating success in organisations. As many culture changes it cannot be done overnight, but the overall results… well as David McLeod and Nita Clarke mentioned in their evidence paper it is £26 billion pounds on the table!

For more information on employee engagement and Engage for Success visit:


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