The Impact of Organizational Development on HR and why you need to Incorporate it!

Some buzzwords are rife in the business world. Right now, organizational development is one of them. In reality, though, organizational development is more than just a buzzword. It can be truly beneficial to Human Resources (HR) and the company as a whole.

So, what is OD or organizational development? Organizational development theory has been percolating since the 1930s when research showed that organizational behavior influenced employee behavior, performance, and group dynamics. Using the correct structure for the organization affected its success. With this knowledge, people begin to plan how they could use their corporate structures more effectively, problem solving, planning, and adding benefit to the company itself.

OD Affects HR

The new question surrounding OD is how do human resources functions relate to organizational development? They actually relate really well. Human resources professionals can use OD to support company goals while creating a smoother internal personnel system. Creating positive organizational systems means employees are motived to support and assist the organization’s goals. HR can also see how company systems affect morale and how to increase it if it’s low. All of this can be done using organizational development.

HR professionals and those with organizational development jobs know that organizations are becoming more complex and diversified which makes employee management more complicated as well. Old style corporate structures are shifting to become more fiscally responsible and efficient but this increases the chances that of an anxious internal system. The move to outsourcing, contracts, globalization, generational issues, and an aging workforce means that the old corporate structure is no longer fully effective. HR has all this in on their plate while also trying to manage the employee anxiety it brings. By using organizational development, they can smooth the path of change.

Organizational Development and Human Resources

HR’s main goals are to manage and support employees and to help management by assisting staff to do its best within the organizational structure without systemic blocks hindering them. Meeting these objectives isn’t always easy. With OD, HR gets a set of tools to fix issues that they couldn’t before when bound by the organization’s current organizational structure. While a supervisor and department lead have more pull in regards to a work environment, OD allows human resources to make some positive changes without damaging that relationship. 

Organizational Development and Hiring

With human resources on the front line of hiring, their goal is to get the right people in the right jobs in the first place. Proper employee placement means you have chosen smart, well-trained, ambitious people who want to make the workplace positive and work to its full potential, pursuing development and leadership in the future. If you are using recruiters, make sure they are aware of your OD plans and are sending candidates that fit into that business scenario.

Human Resources also looks at career planning and employee engagement when working with OD. These areas both fall into the realm of HR and benefit the whole company when utilized. HR can also use OD to identify the best way to fill an open role in the company, putting together a job description and compensation offer to bring in the best candidates.

The other benefit of OD in HR is that they can propose changes to the organizational design to management when they see a need. If there are issues with finding the proper candidates, HR is can offer ideas that might solve the issue, for example, perhaps the role can be divided or the employment package increased to make sure the right person is hired for the right spot.

Organizational Development and the HR Touch

While hiring the best candidate for a job is at the forefront of what HR does, they also have a hand in compliance. They aren’t lawyers but certainly need to understand employment law and other regulations. Keeping organizational development going is supported by making sure a company is meeting all the regulatory and legal guidelines. Insurance, workplace safety, and other regulatory issues should all be monitored by HR to keep OD in line.

Along with hiring and compliance, HR needs to make sure OD is incorporated when an organization decides to move with a new business strategy. It is no surprise to anyone in Human Resources that staff fear change, even if it’s positive. The staff knows that change may mean threats to jobs, benefits, and the status of some individuals. If someone is afraid of losing their job, they aren’t going to be supportive of changes within the organization. While OD can be a positive change, HR needs to act as the department with a human face and understanding. Fears should be addressed by communicating properly with staff. HR can help redirect and clarify information that is causing angst, becoming the bridge between the staff and the team that is trying to bring about OD implementation. The effectiveness of clear communication that creates understanding is critical.

Change is Never Simple

In most organizations, change is never simple. Human resources organizational development should bring the hope of positive change but can also bring fear to those who feel threatened by the changes. HR can incorporate OD into their work and by doing this begin to help ease the changes and relieve the fear of the unknown. Change can be good and often needed but it needs to be managed to make sure the organization can move forward without fear and stalling.

If you need some further information on human resource organizational development, subscribe to our newsletter at People Managing People. We have a trove of insight into the HR world on many fronts to keep you in the loop with a ton of articles, podcasts, how-to guides and more. Or, join our community on Slack for immediate feedback if you need someone to bounce ideas off of. We can help you do HR better with our community of HR professionals who are looking at building company culture, organizational psychology, employee engagement, succession planning, talent, and human resource management. Whether its payroll, recruiting, restructuring or retaining staff, our community will have some insights.

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