Organizational effectiveness is increasingly becoming a trend that companies are marching towards. While many consider it as a mere buzzword without any concrete meaning, some forward-looking organizations are treating it to gauge their success. Essentially, organizational effectiveness means exactly what it sounds like, how well and efficiently an organization is able to achieve its vision and goals. Invariably, organizational effectiveness is essential for companies to impact its bottom line, attract the top talent, as well as, survive and thrive amongst its competitors.
Table of contents
- What is organizational effectiveness?
- Importance of organizational effectiveness
- Top 4 organizational effectiveness approaches
- How to measure organizational effectiveness?
- Top 6 components of organizational effectiveness
- Improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership
- Organizational effectiveness: The starting point
What is organizational effectiveness?
Before diverting any resources to this buzzword, business leaders often question what is organizational effectiveness. In the simplest terms, organizational effectiveness refers to an organization’s ability to meet its objectives. Every organization has a certain set of goals that it seeks to achieve by a combination of operations, processes and people. Organizational effectiveness is all about being able to realize the intended outcomes in the most effective and efficient manner.
It is a comprehensive concept which takes into consideration the performance of each aspect that contributes to the running of an organization. Employee performance, managerial effectiveness, process efficiency, collaboration between different areas and organizational behavior, collectively contribute to organizational effectiveness. Organizations ranking high on all or most of these parameters and others tend to rank in the higher rungs of effectiveness, while those that face gaps in these, struggle with optimal levels of performance.
Importance of organizational effectiveness
Organizational effectiveness has a direct correlation with company success. As the effectiveness quotient of an organization goes up, its ability to serve all its stakeholders better as well as make greater profits increases. Here are a few factors that illustrate the importance of organizational effectiveness:
Cost and resource efficiency
Effectiveness is closely associated with efficiency across the organization. Organizational effectiveness enables companies and business leaders to achieve maximum output with minimum input as the performance level is optimal. At the same time, effectiveness ensures that resources, beyond financial ones, like human resources, technology assets, etc., are used and allocated efficiently. Invariably, organizational effectiveness promotes efficient allocation, considerably reducing costs and disbursing limited resources to promote best results.
Greater employee engagement
An effective organization is defined by great performance across all verticals, in a holistic manner. This suggests that employees who work in such organizations are able to deliver top performance, without compromising on their wellness, leveraging the efficient processes and practices. Invariably, this augments their work experience and promotes engagement which results in greater loyalty, retention and commitment, further, accentuating their performance.
Better customer outcomes
Organizational effectiveness definitely takes into account augmenting the efficacy of customer service channels. An effective organization supports its customers in the most promising manner to create a pleasant experience. Right from its offerings to its service, organizational effectiveness plays a major role in enhancing customer outcomes.
Impact on bottom line
Finally, overall effectiveness has a direct impact on the organization’s bottom line. When all parts of the company work like a well-oiled machine, the profits are bound to soar high. The bottom line is positively impacted by decreased costs, greater employee productivity, happier customers and overall increased efficiency and efficacy.
Top 4 organizational effectiveness approaches
Organizational effectiveness is not a result of simply reducing costs whenever possible. Rather, it requires following a strategic and comprehensive approach based on specific objectives and principles. Most commonly, companies are found to be following these 4 organizational effectiveness approaches to commence and accelerate their journey to success:
Goal attainment approach
The first approach to organizational effectiveness majorly focuses on the goals and objectives achieved. Put simply, according to the goal attainment approach, each organization sets forth a set of goals and objectives that it seeks to achieve through its various efforts, i.e. achievement of goals is the reason for existence of the organization. Therefore, for this approach, organizational effectiveness comes into play when a company is able to achieve its goals, mainly in the form of profits and efficiency. While this approach is important to ensure how effectively an organization reaches its goals, the dynamic nature of the goals and varying scope of long-term vs short-term goals, makes it slightly challenging to use this to assess organizational effectiveness.
Systems resource approach
The systems resource approach came as an answer to the challenges of the goal attainment approach. While the latter focuses only on the end, the systems resource approach takes into account the means to the end. The foundation of this approach is that success of any organization depends not only on the goal it achieves, but how it achieves the same. Therefore, there is focus on how effectively an organization is able to acquire the resources it needs to achieve its desired goals or outcomes. Here, effectiveness is not only a result of goal attainment, but rather depends on resource acquisition. However, the challenge majorly lies in the dilemma that higher resource acquisition does not always translate to greater performance or success.
Strategic constituency approach
According to the strategic constituency, organizations survive and thrive in an environment where their success is dependent on a number of stakeholders. These include the employees, managers, shareholders, customers, partners, suppliers, etc. Organizational effectiveness is, thus, contingent to the company’s ability to satisfy these constituencies in its environment. Effectiveness depends on how well the organization is able to identify its various strategic constituencies and their expectations and, thus, navigate ways to achieve the same. At the same time, since each constituency has its own goals, power and influence, organizational effectiveness depends on the efficacy of trade-offs between one constituency over the other, in case of a conflict.
Competing values approach
The final approach takes into account the competing values and goals that an organization strives to achieve. At any given point of time, a company is conflicted on competing values which lead to different outcomes, all of which are necessary for organizational success. For instance, an organization might want to induce structure and discipline, but at the same time, might wish to promote autonomy, innovation and flexibility. Likewise, competing values come in the form of increasing profits and customer satisfaction vs augmenting employee wellness. Therefore, organizational effectiveness, according to this approach, assesses a company’s ability to strike the right balance between such competing values to create a win-win situation for all.
How to measure organizational effectiveness?
Like any other parameter defining company success, measuring organizational effectiveness is extremely important. Without proper metrics to measure effectiveness, organizations will continue to struggle with improving their performance because of a lack of monitoring and tracking. Following are the top 3 approaches that companies have been using to measure organizational effectiveness:
External resource approach
The external resource approach helps companies in measuring their organizational effectiveness on the basis of how well they are able to acquire, manage and control valuable resources from the external environment to power their operations. Factors like price of inputs, relations with external stakeholders, quality of inputs and human resources are measured to gauge effectiveness.
Internal resource approach
The internal resource approach measures organizational effectiveness on the basis of a company’s ability to constantly innovate with agility and responsiveness. This mostly takes into consideration decision making time, level of innovation and creativity, resilience, time to market, level of conflict or collaboration. Companies that perform well on such parameters are likely to have higher levels of effectiveness.
Finally, the third approach measures a company’s ability to convert or transform the acquired resources into high quality final output by leveraging innovation, agility and responsiveness. The objective is to deliver improved and higher quality of products and services that yield greater customer satisfaction and stickiness. This approach majorly measures the increase in product quality, reduction in defects or rejects, better customer service, etc.
Top 6 components of organizational effectiveness
According to organizational development experts, there are six components of organizational effectiveness. These components are highly interdependent and an integrated and comprehensive approach to them has the potential to guarantee organizational effectiveness.
Leadership plays an integral role in promoting the effectiveness of an organization. Invariably, leaders have diverse roles to play right from creating a vision to ensuring the vision translates into reality with seamless processes and practices. The leadership must address three key questions to promote effectiveness. Firstly, the vision and values, i.e. the purpose of the organization and the unique value it brings to its customers. Secondly, the strategy and the approach, i.e. the most effective manner in which the organization will achieve its objectives and derive value. Thirdly, structure and alignment, i.e. balancing and aligning different components like strategy, technology, innovation, etc. to achieve desired results.
Communication is imperative to organizational effectiveness. It is important to understand that communication is not only about putting words to one’s thoughts. Strategic communication is all about ensuring that what is said clarifies the real intention behind it, and is not just stringing together some corporate buzzwords. A communication strategy for organizational effectiveness focuses on clear messaging with no scope for ambiguity or excuses. It also ensures that everyone is aligned on the shared vision as well as clear on what is expected out of them. Communication is not only about getting the message across, but also involves active listening and being receptive to feedback by diverse stakeholders.
Accountability is a key parameter that ensures that a company is able to deliver on its promises and promote organizational effectiveness. For any organization, accountability is both individual and collective. This suggests that while each individual is responsible and accountable for a piece of task, collectively, the entire organization is accountable for the big picture. Accountability involves expectation alignment to ensure clarity in who is expected to do what. Additionally, incentives, rewards, and appreciation are integral to promote accountability and high levels of performance.
Delivery primarily focuses on the experience that organizations are able to create for the end user or their customers. Organizations are only effective if their customers are able to receive the products or services that are promised by the organization. However, it is not only about ensuring delivery, but also about promoting a seamless process of achieving the same. A simple and agile delivery process without too many steps is every customer’s dream. On the other hand, a delivery process fraught with complexities is likely to create a poor experience. Hence, for organization effectiveness, companies must be agile and responsive to changing market conditions and improve their operations and processes to make delivery efficient and smooth.
Organizational effectiveness is largely dependent on the human capital of a company. This requires putting in best efforts to recruit, develop and retain the top talent. Organizational effectiveness and performance start with onboarding the right talent by ensuring a robust hiring process which not only assesses the talent on their technical and hard skills but ensures a match on all levels for the role. In addition, an optimal level of performance requires organizations to provide the employees with regular and adequate development opportunities. These include upskilling and training as well as mentoring and guidance to promote holistic growth. Finally, retention and loyalty of employees comes from appreciation and acknowledgement, by highlighting the impact of employee contribution to the overall company success.
Finally, the last component that is essential for organizational effectiveness is a focus on key metrics, performance indicators and trackers to measure and monitor business progress. Unless each aspect of organizational performance is closely measured with the right metrics, improving quality becomes difficult. Leaders need to establish a set of standard metrics to measure performance at regular intervals and monitor the results. The measurement will enable organizations to gauge whether or not they are able to move the needle on important business parameters which collectively contribute to organizational effectiveness.
Improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership
Transformational leadership has the power and potential to augment organizational effectiveness exponentially. By promoting effectiveness on the below five parameters, leaders can enhance overall organizational effectiveness:
Leaders need to create and nurture a culture that promotes effectiveness across the organization. A culture of effectiveness refers to one where attributes like efficiency and efficacy are valued. For instance, adherence to timelines, prompt response, agility, etc., are most likely to develop a culture that reaps effectiveness.
Employee experience directly translates to organizational effectiveness. This suggests that the more pleasant and positive experience employees have, the greater performance they will deliver, contributing to increased effectiveness. Higher engagement from experience promotes motivation, retention, loyalty and commitment towards work, which collectively add to organizational effectiveness. Invariably, leaders play an important role in promoting a positive experience by providing authentic leadership, regular reinforcement and opportunities to grow and thrive.
Leaders must practice and display a commitment to organizational effectiveness. This involves not only having effectiveness practices and policies on paper, but also preaching them. When leaders constantly illustrate their commitment to effectiveness, it is likely to propagate in their teams, leading to a collective effort. At the same time, effectiveness must be practiced at all levels and across the organization. Be it hiring, or conducting meetings, or planning events, an effectiveness lens must always be on.
As a part of strategy and processes, efficiency and effectiveness must be a part of the core values that define the organization. This suggests that efficiency and effectiveness must become synonymous with the organization for both internal and external stakeholders. Effectiveness in strategy is also about ensuring that the path to achieving the company’s goals and objectives is clear, seamless and simple. Strategy for overall goal achievement must be crystal clear to ensure easy comprehension and implementation.
Tools and technology
Finally, leaders must innovate and experiment with the latest tools and technologies. The idea is to stay abreast with the latest industry trends to maintain a competitive advantage. Leveraging the latest tools and technologies is the best bet to augment efficiency as well as stay relevant.
Organizational effectiveness: The starting point
Promoting organizational effectiveness is a collective responsibility which falls on the shoulders of all the stakeholders of a company. An integrated approach that seeks to understand and serve the interest of each of these stakeholders is key to achieving organizational effectiveness. However, working on all aspects at once can be chaotic and self-defeating. Therefore, organizations can consider starting their journey to improve organizational effectiveness by focusing on the internal stakeholders, i.e. the employees and the leadership. In such a situation, partnering with platforms like SuperBeings that gauge and augment employee experience as well as offer avenues for leadership development is something to bet on. Invariably, organizational effectiveness is integral to company success and those who start early on in the race are most likely to rach the top.