July 25, 2021
Performance Management 10 May 2020
How to Implement Organizational Development
Britta Howlett

Organizational development (OD) deals with improving efficiency and productivity in the workplace. An effective organizational development process helps you to solve problems within your company and help analyze ways to find more efficient ways of doing things. 

It can be hard for anyone to accept change but when there is an effective OD in the workplace, employees will eventually feel the benefits of the change. 

To make changes you need to have a plan. A thoughtful strategic plan sets the direction for any organization. But it’s more than just making a plan. Jon M Quigley founder of Value Transformation LLC says:

“Planning is exactly what it sounds like, what do we know, or at least think needs to be changed. The plan is not made from the top down, but the scope of what needs to be changed at the strategic level may be, the plan should rely heavily upon those that perform the work.”

A good idea can fail if the organization does not pay attention to the outcomes, developing appropriate activities, and giving the employees the appropriate training to do the work. Likewise, an effective program will not be effective if the organization does not monitor the results and make any changes to what they have found. 

To have a good plan, you need to know how to implement it. We have listed 7 strategies to help you implement OD in the workplace:

1. Identify the Change

One of the functions of OD is to identify areas in your company where change is needed. It is however not only identifying the change but analyzing each need and finding out the potential effects of each change. 

For example, you might find that productivity declines at the end of the week. Employees may be getting burnt out and ready for the weekend which jeopardizes certain projects that may have deadlines. To fix this issue, you can make sure all projects with important deadlines have due at the beginning of the week so that you can worry about completing projects that are on the backload at the end of the week. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • Why is the change necessary?
  • What do we need to change?

2. Determine the Impacts and Who Will Be Affected

Once you know what you want to change you need to figure out how this change will affect the different departments and employees. You could list every department out and see if the changes affect them. List out what kind of effects it will have both negative and positive. Try and take every scenario into consideration. 

This will give you a good blueprint that also allows you to keep track of who is being affected. It will be easier for when you have to follow up to see the progress of the changes. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • What are the impacts of the change?
  • Who will the change affect the most?
  • How will people react to the change?

3. Develop a Communication Strategy

No matter if it’s a big organizational change or a small organizational change, it needs to be communicated to all those who will be affected so that your employees can perform their jobs. Not only does this create a relationship with your employees but it allows everything to work smoothly. 

Whether it’s improving customer satisfaction or finding ways to reduce costs, employees have an experience that can benefit the changes. They know what works and what doesn't work. If there is no communication, you won't know what changes will be effective. Balazs Hajde, the Content Manager at Authority Hacker says:

“A key aspect of good development is constant communication between all organization members. Just as a leader can't make relevant decisions without having data from people in the field, it's equally difficult for members to achieve strategic goals if they don't understand the leadership's vision or reasoning.”  

Since employees are usually closest to the process, it is vital that they are in the loop so they can understand why the change is happening and they can participate in making the change happen. 

4. Provide Training

Once a change is planned and has been communicated it’s just about ready for the implementation of the change. A timeline should be made that clearly identifies the steps that need to be taken and the training that needs to be made. 

For instance, if your organization is using a new software then you have to make sure that you train your employees who will be using the software before you install it all and getting rid of the old software. It takes time to train but implementing without order can create frustration for those who are responsible for the work process. 

5. Implement a Support Plan

It is important that management shows support for changes when communicating with their employees. Employees become more comfortable when they see that management cares and supports them as well as the process. 

You want to do everything you can to make the employees feel comfortable asking questions so you could set up a mentorship or offer and an open-door policy to help employees adjust to changes. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • What types of support will be most effective?
  • Where is the support most required?

6. Evaluate the Change

Sometimes changes exceed your expectations but there are times where the changes don’t work as planned. No matter what changes were made, it’s important to follow-up after the implementation and see what else needs to be adjusted or to see what’s working. Gather feedback from everyone involved.

Sometimes employees encounter certain barriers when changes are made whether it’s problems with other employers, other departments or inadequate training. It’s the management's responsibility to solve these barriers so that employees can continue implementing the changes. 

Jon M Quigley founder of Value Transformation LLC quotes:

“Changes in the organization are ideally incremental, small changes, aimed at a large improvement, measure the outcome or impact, then assess what the next change should be to move the organization in the direction of the desired change. Constant uncoordinated change will not produce the results that are desired but truly disrupt the organization making things worse and not better.”

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • Was the change successful?
  • What could have been done differently?


7. Celebrate!

It’s important to celebrate any changes that were made. No matter how big or small, celebrating helps employees feel engaged and excited about the changes made! When changes show improvements that help the team, recognize their contributions and give praise where it is due.  

When employees start to understand why changes were made and the impact they make in implementing the change, the better results you will have when implementing organizational changes. As teams continue to evolve and adapt to new strategies that improve their efficiency, celebrate those successes!