Do You Need an Organizational Climate Assessment?

By: Loraine Della Porta

Let’s face it – the success of any organization depends on how well its employees perform and how motivated they are to sustain good performance. Regardless of the type of organization – how employees feel about their jobs, their supervisors, their peers and the organization itself affects their productivity and ultimately the ability of the organization to achieve its goals.

What causes conflict in the workplace?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to conflict in the workplace or to less than optimal work performance by employees. Here are just a handful - they may sound familiar:

  1. Limited resources. Given the reality of current economic environment, people are being asked to do more with less. This often leads to conflicts over things like workload distribution, equity, time, money and working conditions. 

  2. Lack of clarity. When employees do not clearly understand what is expected of them and how their work performance will be evaluated it can lead to stress, anxiety and a lack of motivation. Also, when lines of authority and boundaries are not clearly defined, it can lead to "turf wars."

  3. Organizational change. Changes happen frequently in the workplace – whether it’s a big change (downsizing to a smaller workforce) or small change (minor shift in job duties) it can have a negative impact on the employee if they are not properly prepared or supported during times of transition.

  4. Failure to communicate. Poor communication often results in misunderstanding and disharmony in the workplace. Lack of accurate and timely information can also result in non-productive behaviors such as gossip, speculation and spreading of rumors.  

  5. Power struggles. Department and divisions often have different or competing goals and priorities. This can lead to people wrestling for power and control, which can be a recipe for employee conflicts.

How can an independent organizational conflict assessment help?

Without some type of formal process, it is extremely difficult for managers to find out how their employees are thinking and feeling about their work climate. In my experience, most employees are reluctant to communicate anything but positive information to their supervisors and managers out of fear that their working relationship will be damaged or they will be subjected to some form of retaliation.

Conducting a simple anonymous survey does not go far enough as they rarely provide the quality of information needed for decision-making. By providing employees an opportunity to speak with an experienced, independent, neutral, workplace interventionist, employers can gain unique insights into what is contributing to (or detracting from) their employees’ work performance.

An organizational climate assessment is not about determining who is right or wrong – or assigning blame. Even the highest functioning organizations have room to improve. The primary purpose of an assessment is to identify and strengthen existing approaches, which are working well and to recommend appropriate interventions to address areas where improvement could benefit everyone.

TMG’s senior consultants are all professional mediators and workplace interventionists with many years of experience in assessing organizational climates and helping to facilitate positive change. We assist people at all levels of an organization to examine policies, practices, communication patterns and other key factors to determine what is working well and what might be contributing to a less than optimal work climate.

Don’t wait - get started today!

When left unaddressed, conflict can escalate and poison a work environment.  It can cost organizations dearly in terms of wasted time and resources, lead to employee absenteeism and turnover, and result in expensive lawsuits. TMG can help you and your organization harness the power of conflict and transform it into a catalyst for positive change, collaborative problem-solving and creative solutions!

Listen to a recording of a webinar on organization conflict assessments by Loraine Della Porta and Amy Rebecca Gay (hosted by the Massachusetts NonProfit Network).

Call TMG at (617) 277-9232 or email info@themediationgroup.org for a no obligation consultation with one of our senior consultants.