Organizational Wellness

10 OD Interventions to Overhaul Outdated Processes

Nov 30, 2022
Last Updated May 23, 2024

Imagine navigating a maze of constant technological changes and evolving cultural norms. Your organization must keep up, but where do you start? Organizational development (OD) interventions are your map. These interventions help transform how your company operates, ensuring you stay competitive and efficient!

Think about the benefits: better technology, happier employees, and satisfied customers. OD interventions empower your company to adapt to new technologies and cultural shifts, avoiding the pitfalls of outdated practices and policies that lead to high turnover and low morale.

Ready to dive deeper? Discover how OD interventions can revolutionize your organization, from human process improvements to strategic transformations. Get inspired by real-world examples and learn practical steps to implement these changes effectively.


What are Organizational Development (OD) Interventions?

Organizational development (OD) is a process that aims to bring systematic changes to how an organization functions as it keeps up with the demands of technological and cultural advances. The changes may focus on your values, organizational culture, or how you operate as a company. Organizational development interventions (OD interventions) are the programs and activities used to improve your organization.

Why You Need OD Interventions

Organizational development is a science-based method to improve the efficiency of your corporation, and using the structure of OD interventions is going to move the needle and make lasting impacts.

  • OD interventions keep you competitive. Using updated technology and principles to run your business will make you more efficient, create better, happier employees, and satisfy your customers. Better resources, a high-performing workforce, and the endorsement of happy customers are great for your brand and will make you stand out from the rest of your competitors.
  • OD interventions help you adapt to changing cultures and technologies. Technology is advancing much faster than ever before, and everyone is using some form of mobile or wearable device these days. Depending on your industry, you may be implementing more AI, machine learning, the cloud, IoT devices, intelligent software, and other top-quality tech over the next several years. Businesses simply cannot afford to neglect cutting-edge technology or digital and online business practices!

But, the tech world isn’t the only change an organization needs to understand in 2023. At least 57% of job-seekers say that poor work-life wellness is a dealbreaker when applying for a new job. Policies that lead to poor organizational culture, burnout, little flexibility, inadequate benefits, and poor wages are big contributors to the Big Quit. OD interventions motivate organizations to adopt new ways to support their employees, allowing them to improve employee retention and productivity.

Types of Interventions in OD

It’s important to understand OD intervention types so that you can determine what your company actually needs. You may have niche challenges or shortcomings you want to address, but most concerns will fall into one of these buckets.

  • Human process interventions focus on group dynamics, employee relations, and how your company communicates and handles conflict.
  • Human resource management (HMR) interventions look at company and employee performance, talent development, and the general wellbeing of employees and management at work.
  • Strategic interventions help with merging two or more organizations or dealing with any kind of large-scale restructuring in your business.
  • Techno-structural interventions analyze any structural and technological issues your company may face, such as employee engagement and work redesign.

10 Examples of OD Interventions

When implementing OD interventions, you might find the categories above are too broad. Here are some more specific examples to further clarify the many actions you can choose to take within each of them depending on your specific needs:

Human process interventions

Human process interventions improve how your organization interacts with each other and analyze how it handles conflict. A few examples include:

  1. Individual interventions help individual employees better understand and communicate with others through mentoring or coaching them on their current behaviors.
  2. Team building interventions help your teams and departments all have their own subcultures. Team-building activities can help them communicate better, work together, engage with their work, and perform at their best.
  3. Group interventions review and discuss your team’s processes, structure, and performance. What processes can be improved and what challenges do you face as a team?

Human resource management interventions

An HRM intervention improves an organization’s performance by helping each team member reflect and improve individually through support, performance management, and flexibility. You can achieve this by:

  1. Developing talent helps individuals bridge the gaps in their skills and support their continual professional development at your company. In this OD intervention, analyze the benefits of implementing mentorship programs, leadership development programs, on-the-job employee training, and job shadowing programs.
  2. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)  interventions aim to increase and encourage diversity and inclusion in your organization. Your company is made up of a wide range of races, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, and more. This OD intervention strategies how to drive innovation through diversity.
  3. Wellness interventions support the health of every person in your company by implementing wellness programs and reviewing employee benefits.  Employers have a responsibility to confront this crisis head-on by supporting work-life wellness.

Strategic interventions

Strategic interventions analyze your organizational structure and operations. They aim to identify and move away from elements that don’t work so that you are more competitive in your industry. You can reach this goal through:

  1. Transformational change involves changing essential business strategies such as organizational structure and operations processes. This can look like a restructuring or reorganization, downsizing, and outsourcing. You should also identify any organizational challenges standing in your way.
  2. Transorganizational change looks at how you can collaborate with other businesses to increase brand awareness and boost your marketing efforts. This might include business decisions such as mergers, acquisitions, and networking.

Techno-structural interventions

Part of taking care of the people who make up your organization is ensuring they have the tools and resources they need to perform well. That's why you must try to improve your organizational effectiveness and be willing to invest in technology and restructuring when necessary through techno-structural interventions, such as:

  1. Work design interventions ensure your teams are engaged, organized and supported in the most efficient ways so that everyone can complete their work and manage their work relationships successfully.
  2. Structural design interventions help determine if your organization is using the right business methods for your line of work, for your employees, and for your processes. It also asks what hierarchical changes you can implement to make your business more successful.

Real-World Examples of Successful OD Interventions

Many of the world’s most successful companies have taken the plunge, implementing their own OD intervention programs. These case studies offer actionable lessons for those seeking to follow suit. While your organization's needs may differ, drawing inspiration from successful examples can inform your approach. 

Example 1: Amazon

The Challenge: As a pioneering e-commerce giant, Amazon faced challenges in maintaining a cohesive organizational culture amid rapid expansion. The company needed to standardize the way employees worked with each other to maintain consistency regarding their mindset and expectations across different geographies. 

The OD Intervention: they came up with a series of guidelines that are actively used to shape Amazon's decision-making processes and employee behaviors to boost success and maintain a good reputation. 

Amazon's Leadership Principles are part of an HRM intervention that's based on Bezos’s vision and ingrained in the company's DNA. Among other things, these 16 tenets promote:

  • Employee ownership: Amazon encourages its employees to think creatively while taking responsibility and accountability for the outcomes of their work and initiatives. When employees see a direct connection between their work and the company's success, they're more likely to go the extra mile and help advance organizational development.
  • Employee development: The company values learning and curiosity, motivating employees to seek opportunities to expand their knowledge. Investing in long-term improvements to employee capabilities (in line with future business goals) through structured training, coaching, and mentorship creates a more adaptable workforce that benefits the entire organization.
  • Customer focus: The core principle of "Customer Obsession" prioritizes the client's needs. Customer-centric initiatives like this one often involve tracking customer satisfaction metrics. This data-driven approach to OD allows Amazon to assess its every move and identify areas for improvement.
  • Innovation and growth: The emphasis on these aspects through the "Think Big," "Invent and Simplify," and "Bias for Action" leadership principles helps Amazon navigate challenges and maintain its market dominance. They drive ongoing enhancements and the creation of innovative solutions that might not have been explored otherwise.

With this simple yet sharp OD intervention, Amazon has given employees a solid framework to align with the company's overall goals. Amazon's principles also foster adaptability and agility, allowing it to keep up with changing market dynamics and emerging technologies.

Example 2: Volvo

The Challenge: Much like the entire automotive industry, this renowned multinational car manufacturer has struggled with a skill shortage. They needed a way to attract — and retain — talent.

The OD Intervention: Seeking to enhance job satisfaction and reduce absenteeism, Volvo orchestrated and maintained a set of job enrichment programs as part of its OD strategy. Through surveys, interviews, and performance evaluations to identify the root causes of their main issues, Volvo recognized the need to empower employees and provide opportunities for skill development. As a result, they’ve managed to keep turnover rates low and increase employee morale through the years. 

Their more solid initiatives include:

  • The team method: Volvo establishes work teams where employees share responsibilities and decisions. This culture of ownership and collaboration enhances productivity and employee engagement, encouraging employees to help the company thrive.
  • Job rotation: The company allows employees to periodically switch between different tasks, providing new challenges and learning opportunities — and breaking departmental silos in the process. This ​​prevents boredom and fatigue and empowers employees to develop new skill sets that make them more adaptable. Job rotation also allows Volvo to identify employees with hidden talents or potential for leadership roles in different areas. Building a well-rounded workforce ready to hit any curve thrown at them is key to maintaining organizational agility and competitiveness.

Volvo's improvements have created a more satisfying environment for its workforce. Through them, the company has historically shown awareness and interest in the effect its work environment has on its employees' wellbeing and morale.

Example 3: Microsoft

The Challenge: The lack of diversity has been a persistent challenge for decades in the tech industry, constricting the workforce diversity at Microsoft. They needed a way to cultivate a more diverse workforce to tap a wider variety of ideas.

The OD Interventions: Microsoft is vocal about their commitment to promoting inclusivity through proactive diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices. They publish a Diversity and Inclusion Report every year to keep up with the changing demographics of their workforce and track progress towards their diversity goals. This is a clear example of a properly executed human process intervention in OD.

Microsoft's multifaceted D&I strategy encompasses several vital areas, including but not limited to:

  • Recruitment and hiring: Building a workforce with a wider range of backgrounds and perspectives leads to a more resilient organization.
  • Employee resource groups (ERGs): Support groups for employees with shared identities foster a sense of belonging and community and help create a more positive work environment. Providing a safe space for people to share experiences and challenges often boosts morale, motivating employees to collaborate more effectively and achieve their daily objectives.
  • Leadership commitment: Active involvement from team leaders and C-suite executives in promoting a culture of respect and understanding lays a strong foundation for organizational development. It helps build a stronger bond of trust and unity within the workforce — a critical aspect of organizational success.

These efforts have notably led to a stronger employer brand. Microsoft has a reputation as a welcoming place for diverse talent. This attracts a wider pool of qualified candidates and introduces varied perspectives that fuel more creative solutions.

How to Use OD Interventions in Your Business

Every organization is different and you aren’t going to fit into a perfect box. However, any company that follows these steps to using OD interventions as part of a larger organizational development process is setting itself up for success.

  1. Identify Issues to Address

Determine the issue that needs to be addressed and figure out the key metrics that your team needs measured. What is not working in your organization that your team needs to improve? Who is suffering due to the problem? 

Maybe you don’t have a great customer feedback system, so your consumers are increasingly frustrated and you’re losing business. Maybe you don’t have a relevant benefits package for your employees and are losing some of your top talent because of it. Whatever the case, try and identify the core issue and what you measure failure and success by.

  1. Brainstorm solutions 

In this step, investigate the problem and work as a team to determine what the best solution is for your company. What stands in your way when wanting to accomplish this goal? How can you overcome those barriers? What has already been attempted that you can either avoid or improve upon?

You can tailor solutions to employee and organizational goals so that the steps for improvement are realistic and actionable. Make sure your goal is specific, measurable, and backed up with detailed steps.

  1. Build a plan and implement it

Once you’ve identified an issue and determined the best od intervention to solve that issue, it’s time to implement the strategy. As you implement your plan, remember that these adjustments are going to be difficult to incorporate into your teams and mindsets, so be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Your employees may need more training, closer mentorship, engaging activities, etc. to maintain a high level of energy and motivation. Remember to communicate early and often and implement a way to gather feedback throughout the implementation process.

  1. Analyze results

Don’t forget this crucial step: make sure you look back and follow through so that you can actually analyze how well your strategy worked, where the hiccups were, the big successes, and if you can make any further adjustments to continue growing. Did you meet your goals? If yes, what made those goals a success? If not, where were the holdups? Reflecting on the progress and experience of your organization is as important of a step as any.

Challenges to Organizational Development Interventions

  • Endurance. All change is demanding and does not come easily, whether those changes are made as individuals, as a group, or as a business. Systematic change can be especially difficult and time-consuming because we crave stability as humans and have a set way of doing things at work. Cultural shifts? Sometimes those are the hardest, but also the most rewarding.
  • Limited resources. Like any project, you have to make the most of the time and money you spend on OD interventions, so make sure your resources are being intentionally and carefully delegated and that the leaders overseeing this process are aligned on the strategy and committed to seeing the intervention through.
  • Poor planning. One of the quickest ways to fail at an OD intervention is to go into it without a game plan. Not determining your tangible goals and failing to establish metrics to measure the success of intervention will come back to haunt you, so it’s essential to create a strategy that you can measure and analyze.
  • Poor management. If management’s heart isn’t in it, employees will see through the nonchalance and deprioritize your intervention strategy. Plus, if the intervention isn’t monitored and actively worked out by the right leadership, it’s nearly impossible to make the change stick. Put leaders in place who are passionate about the investment or transformation you are making as an organization so that excitement and success start at the top and trickle down to every level of your enterprise.

Overhaul Employee Wellbeing

Remember that no organization is perfect and that there is always room for improvement. It’s easy to pick apart all of the worst things we see about ourselves and our organization. Instead of letting it overwhelm you, take these OD interventions one step at a time while focusing on the most important ways to take care of your employees and customers.

Does your organization need a bit of a facelift when it comes to taking care of your employees? To learn more about what you can do to improve your organizational culture, improve the health and experience of your employees, talk to a Wellbeing Specialist!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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