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NOAA - Dept of Commerce

Organizational Solutions


The Client’s Need

In 2018, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA), Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) Line Office contracted with AvantGarde (AG) to assist them with Organizational Development and Performance Improvement Support Services to help improve integration and organizational performance across OAR’s four key systems – tasks, people, structure, and culture.

Our Approach

The AG Team conducted a phased approach to support key areas identified by OAR: Organizational Health and Culture Assessment (OHCA), Leadership Assessment and Coaching, and Organizational Development and Improvement Support.

  • Understanding Current Culture: AG interviewed key stakeholders within OAR to gain a better understanding of the organization and its existing organizational culture. From the interviews, AG identified themes, areas of further focus, and dimensions of organizational health used to inform the Phase II Organizational Health and Culture Assessment.

  • Identification of Areas for Improvement: AG conducted an Organizational Health and Culture Assessment (OHCA) consisting of two parts: the OHCA Survey and the OHCA Focus Groups. AG custom-designed a survey to measure the current state of OAR’s culture and then administered the survey to all employees in OAR’s workforce. Following the initial survey analysis, the AG Team conducted roughly 35 focus groups across OAR to further explore areas for improvement identified by the survey and gather insight into potential root causes and solutions.

  • Communicate Assessment Findings and Recommendations: Following presentations to the OAR Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and Senior Management, the AG Team communicated enterprise wide OHCA findings and recommendations to the OAR workforce at an All-Hands Meeting.

  • Organizational Improvement Support: The AG Team developed enterprise-wide findings and recommendations based on data from the OHCA survey and focus groups. Recommendations on hiring, leadership development, mission-purpose alignment, communication, diversity, inclusion, policies, and processes were presented to OAR Executive Leadership. OAR has subsequently taken steps to implement the recommendations to move them towards their desired culture.

The Result

With the current phase of the effort scheduled for completion at the end of FY20, AG is working to further communicate the OHCA findings and recommendations in greater detail. The AG Team is developing individual reports for each OAR Lab and Office. These reports will include Lab/Office-specific survey analyses, focus group findings, and recommendations to help Directors understand the strengths and areas for improvement within their own organizations. AG will then meet with each Lab and Office Director to discuss their reports. The AG Team will also provide a summary briefing to OAR Executive Leadership to discuss trends, and variances identified in the Lab/Office-specific OHCA findings. AG will also help identify additional action items and implementation strategies to further strengthen OAR’s organizational culture.

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