The Benefits of an Organizational Assessment

For our third blog entry in our series of five, we’ll look at the different types and beneficial outcomes associated with performing Organizational Assessments.  Simply defined, an Organizational Assessment is a systematic process for obtaining information about the performance of an organization and the factors that affect performance. We believe the Organizational Assessment is a tool that every organization should be using in the quest for continuous improvement. Performing a formal organizational assessment allows the organization to identify strengths and weaknesses and must have participation of key stakeholders across the organization. An assessment is an excellent method to take a figurative step back and evaluate how the organization is operating as a whole. Forward thinking organizations understand there are always ways to improve stakeholder, customer or constituent services and support. When conducting an organizational assessment, businesses and government agencies will identify strengths and weaknesses leading to improvement opportunities that allows exploitation of untapped potential.

Let’s briefly examine the four main types of organizational assessments:  

Business Operations - operations assessments help an organization take an in-depth look into their processes and help to identify areas for improvements. This type of assessment focuses primarily on the processes of an organization.

Cultural Health – the cultural health assessment provides indicators of how well the organization’s staff and management systems are working together. This type of assessment helps to identify potential shortcomings in the management structure from top to bottom.

Organization-wide Leadership Capability – the organization-wide leadership capability assessment will help pinpoint the effectiveness of the leadership team and to highlight untapped potential in individual members of the team.

Organizational Health - the organizational health assessment is the most vital as it looks into every aspect of the organization. The typical outputs from these assessments include improved business processes, prioritization of goals, efficient allocation of resources, and organizational restructure.  

In all four types of assessments, once the current state of the organization has been documented, the most critical output is capture of the business future state objectives. This establishes the blueprint for improving overall organizational performance.

To establish metrics for the progress towards future state, frequently Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are used ( financial and non-financial) allowing the organization to track results while the changes are being implemented and post-implementation to ensure the changes being properly carried out and the desired outcome achieved. KPI’s are wide-ranging and may include office work processing times, manager/staff ratio, process standardization, total cost of ownership, overhead rates, results of customer satisfaction surveys (of sponsors, internal users, or taxpayers), output quality, and office productivity[1]. The Balanced Scorecard is one of several well established tools for tracking KPI’s.

Without an organizational assessment, how do you know if your business or government agency is performing at maximum effectiveness and reaching its highest potential?