What is the purpose of organisational assessment? The purpose is to start a conversation among your people. An assessment takes people from ‘thinking’ to ‘consolidating thoughts’ to planning ‘action’. The key functions of an organisational assessment are to;
- provide a process for enabling individual responses to questions about your organisation
- enable participants to share ideas, identify shared concerns and prioritise actions
- provide a common set of questions, that enable the focus to be upon the question rather than the opinion of those participating
- help to eliminate biases and misconceptions
Will an assessment provide solutions to issues? On its own an assessment will not solve an issue. An assessment or audit is a process that moves your people being unsure of the issue to knowing what it is they need to do next. Any solution is developed by your people as they move through the assessment or audit process.
Can we solve a problem without an assessment? Of course that is possible. Some organisations have the capacity to move through their own processes for identifying a need for change; others benefit from having access to an audit tool and an experienced facilitator.
What are some of the benefits of internal assessment or audit? There are many possible benefits, depending upon your environment. The key benefit is that the process starts a conversation. In doing so multiple perspectives are entertained. This helps improve decision making. An audit or assessment provides evidence of a need for change. This leads to informed decision making. Audits can save time, reduce the risk of resources being allocated to where they do the least good and move people away from decisions based upon assumptions.
Can we facilitate the assessment process ourselves? You can however not with our tools. I don’t sell or rent the tools. I have taken the time to develop assessment tools, using information from my experience and best practice. Where practical I can adapt a tool to reflect your specific requirements. The tools I have developed are for use only where I have been engaged as the facilitator.* I believe the benefit of having an experienced facilitator guide the process, engage stakeholders, collate the feedback, provide analysis and foster post-discussion far outweighs the cost for that person.
*An exception to this is your use of our free quick health check. This is provided to you as a complimentary tool, for you to apply as you see fit.
Can an assessment be undertaken as a group? Yes. In the past I have facilitated group discussions during the assessment process, though I encourage individuals to complete their own assessment form based upon their own experiences and also their learning from the group discussion. For example, sometime we group board members with operational staff. They work through the assessment as a group, members ask each other questions, seek clarification. A board member may not be fully aware of operations activities and some staff may not be aware of governance.
Can I select N/A or not answer a question? Yes. If you genuinely feel you do not have any knowledge or understanding to enable you to provide a response, then you may leave a question unanswered. Doing so is unlikely to have any negative impact due to others in the group having different experiences. The group discussion of the preliminary report, leading to an action plan provides an additional opportunity for people to contribute to the discussion.
Can an assessment tool be modified or adapted to our specific needs? When I apply assessment tools I have designed then I can modify questions to reflect specific environments or to obtain selected feedback.
Do you remain involved in the process following an assessment? I can, and I do when invited to do so. My experience in mentoring and management coaching, general management, project management and operations can be valuable in working with managers to ensure successful implementation of the action plan.
What does your ongoing involvement provide? My involvement following the assessment or audit process involves me working with managers to as a mentor and coach to help them work through issues with implementation and develop capabilities. I oversee and monitor implementation and gather evidence of progress and success. I believe this is important to enable evaluation of the assessment process.
Are we required to engage you post assessment? No. You should engage whoever you feel comfortable with and someone with the experience relevant to your environment. Once the audit or assessment process is complete, the data is yours to do as you wish. You are welcome to provide the data to another consultant for them to guide implementation.
Does the assessment fee include any post audit engagement? No. Post audit engagement is an extra cost and will be quoted separately upon request.
Does your report include customised advice and recommendations tailored to our organisation? Where possible I seek to obtain information about your organisation that enables me to provide tailored recommendations. This is reliant upon such information being provided to me. Generally I don’t include my recommendations until the final report is presented to the senior executive. This enables me to learn more about your organisation during individual conversations and group discussions.
Is it necessary to complete a follow up audit or assessment? This can depend upon your situation. Where I have been engaged post audit to guide implementation I will seek to collect evidence of success. With that evidence it may not be necessary or even helpful to have a second audit. Where you are seeking to ‘shift the bar’ and are looking for quantifiable evidence of doing so, then a follow up audit may be an appropriate way to provide that evidence.
Are your assessments scientifically rigorous? In the sense that management is considered a science, no they are not. In the sense that we have designed the assessment tools around survey best practice, yes they are. The numbers of people assessed is often small, thus making the results statistically insignificant, however you are assessing internal capabilities, eg: the things people do and how they do them, rather than a representative sample of significance.
Do you maintain a database of feedback for comparison? No we do not.
While such a database may provide interesting comparison, our purpose is to identify a need for your organisation to do something different so that it may achieve the outcomes appropriate to you. In that sense each assessment is unique and comparison with a national database may not actually help you identify need or a solution.
Is participant confidentiality maintained? Yes. While I may ask for participant ID this is used only for purpose of follow-up conversations. All results and feedback are aggregated and reported in an anonymous manner, without any identifying information.
Do we retain ownership of our data? Yes, once an audit or assessment process is completed you have full and unrestricted use of the data. For the purpose of confidentially I do not return completed assessment forms.
Do you share our data with others? No, never. As a matter of practice, I do not advertise who I work with either. Similarly that means I will not share others data with you.
Do you show participants feedback to the CEO or other executive managers? Only in an aggregated and anonymous form. I do not provide or return completed assessment forms to senior management. I believe this protection is important to ensure all participants will provide honest feedback.
What does it cost to engage you to conduct an audit or assessment? The price will vary depending upon location, size of organisation and number of participants. I provide a fully priced proposal prior to commencing. As a guide you should budget a minimum of $5000 excluding GST per assessment.
What is involved in an assessment or audit process? In general, I will spend time outlining the process to senior management, provide an introductory email to all participants, answer any questions from participants, distribute assessment documents along with instructions for use, collect and collate all data and feedback, analyse the data for trends and highlight potential issues, provide participants with a draft report, facilitate a group discussion of the feedback and development of an action plan and provide senior management with a final report.
Does the process require you to be onsite? The good news is that the assessment and audit process is Covid safe. The entire process may be conducted utilising digital channels. Discussions can take place via Zoom. Assessment documents can be emailed to participants, who in turn return them via email. In some instances an assessment may be conducted online. It is slightly less expensive when the process is conducted without me being on site.
How do we pay for an assessment? Prior to commencing you will be provided with a fully priced proposal. When that proposal is accepted, an invoice for the full amount will be issued for payment within 30 days.
How do you guarantee your work? I guarantee full disclosure of information to enable you to make informed decisions, that all participants in the process will be treated equitably and their privacy will be protected, that any recommendations I make are tailored to your specific environment, to the extend that information about your environment is shared with me, and that every assessment will be completed with an action plan that has been developed through consultation with those participating.
Why use different rating scales during assessment? Each assessment or audit is designed to provide a specific type of feedback. This guides the rating scales used.
Do you include rubrics in your assessment scales and reports? In some instances I do. My preference is for respondents to rank each question in an experiential manner, rather than a purely numeric manner. This then helps your team understand what improvement will look like.
Does your report show individual feedback in addition to aggregated feedback? In some instances it does and where this takes place the individuals are de-identified and allocated a number. That number is not made public and is randomly allocated. For example, #1 is never allocated to the CEO.
How long does an assessment process take? At an individual participant level you should expect to invest at least 10 hours in the process, for reading instructions, completing assessments and engaging in group discussion. At an organisational level you should anticipate the entire process from exploratory discussion to presentation of final report will take between 3-4 months.
How much time should be allocated for implementing an action plan? That will depend upon what is in the action plan and the timeframe your people set for implementation. I do encourage management teams to develop a 90-day plan and a longer term plan. The aim being to enable you to experience progress in the short term, which acts as encouragement to stay the course for the full change process. Experience suggests between 6-12 months may be necessary to experience the benefits of even a minor change program.
How will we be able to say the process has added value? An effective assessment process will include some or all of the following;
- There will be shared learning through bringing together a group of knowledgeable and motivated people to participate in the process.
- The process will be managed and facilitated in a manner that does not waste the time of those participating.
- An action plan will be created by those participating, thus providing management accountability for implementing change.
- All participants will be provided with an equitable opportunity to engage, reflect, provide feedback and have input into the action plan.
- Group discussion of the preliminary report, leading to development of an action plan, enables group decision making to compliment individual input into the assessment.
- The overall assessment process will be publically supported by the CEO and senior management team.
Will this process be boring? Never!