What is organizational health — and why does it matter?

March 13, 2023

There are multiple interconnected systems and processes that when created through a DEI lens and implemented consistently and transparently can lead to stronger organizational health.

“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”

W. Edwards Deming

What it’s not: Pizza parties, happy hours, or simply having talent systems.

What it is: Organizational health is the outcome of talent systems that are clear, coherent, transparent, equitable, and consistently implemented.

  • Systems are the vehicles to achieve organizational health, not the guarantee of it.
  • If system outcomes are contributing to the overall well-being of an organization and its people – great!
  • If they don’t, then the systems must be addressed and changed to allow organizational health to thrive.

Why it matters: When organizations are healthy, they enjoy and benefit from the following:

  • High retention rates
  • High-functioning and productive teams
  • Team members that feel included, seen and valued – and feel a sense of belonging
  • Trust between individuals, within teams, and with leadership.

A note on trust: Trust is not automatically organizational health. But not having it can significantly hurt your organization.

  • Think about it: What happens when individuals in any setting don’t trust each other?

What supports organizational health? There are multiple interconnected systems and processes that – when created through a DEI lens and implemented consistently and transparently – can lead to stronger organizational health.

  • These include performance management, career pathways, coaching, total rewards, and competency & equity-based acquisition practices.

Consider this: DEI should be the throughline between all of your talent systems.

  • Diversity asks: Who is in the room when creating talent systems? There can’t be equity without diversity.
  • Equity asks: Who needs to be in the room but can’t? What barriers are blocking their entrance? How can we eliminate the barriers?
  • Inclusion asks: Has everyone’s voice been heard, respected, and understood? How are you documenting what is being said and affirming that what is heard and meant are aligned?
  • Belonging asks: Do people feel valued and able to bring their authentic selves to the room?

If there are organizational health problems, acquisition is often the place where it will be most evident.

  • Telltale signs that something is off: You’re struggling to attract and hire talented folks, or candidates are dropping out of the hiring process towards the end.
  • It might be time for an audit to determine the root causes of your organization’s challenges if your acquisition efforts are underperforming.

Interested in learning about another lever that can improve organizational health? Read our blog on how to create, implement, and communicate a Performance Management system meaningfully.


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