The EFQM definition of Organisational (Performance) Assessment:
Is a comprehensive, systematic and regular view of an organisation’s activities and results referenced against the EFQM Excellence Model. The assessment process allows the organisation to discern clearly its strengths and areas in which improvements can be made and culminates in planned improvement actions that are then monitored for progress.
As the definition above makes clear, the primary purpose of undertaking Assessment should be to drive improvement. Furthermore, to be successful it must be linked to other management processes within the organisation, primarily the strategy development and business planning processes.
What are the benefits of Self-Assessment?
n Providing a highly structured, fact-based technique to identifying and assessing your organisation’s Strengths and Areas for Improvement and measuring its progress periodically.
n Improving the development of your strategy and business plan.
n Creating a common language and conceptual framework for the way you manage and improve your organisation.
n Educating people in your organisation on the Fundamental Concepts of Excellence and how they relate to their responsibilities. Developing the management skills of staff.
n Involving people at all levels and in all units process improvement.
n Assessing, in a coherent manner, the organisation at a macro and/or micro level.
n Identifying and facilitating the sharing of your “good practice” within the organisation.
n Facilitating comparisons with other organisation, of a similar or diverse nature, using a set of criteria that is widely accepted across Europe and beyond.
n Integrating the various improvement initiatives into your normal operations.
n Providing opportunities to recognise both progress and outstanding levels of achievement through internal awards.
n Preparing the organisation before it applies for the EFQM Excellence Award or a national or regional award of a similar nature.
How do I conduct a Self-Assessment? The generic 8-step process
Step 1 – Gain & retain management commitment.
There is a greater chance of success if the senior management team has an active involvement in the process plus a sound grasp of the EFQM Model and the Fundamental Concepts of Excellence.
Step 2 – Develop and deploy the communications strategy.
For Self-Assessment to be successful in your organisation it is imperative that early on in the process you have a clear strategy for the message you want to communicate.
Step 3 – Plan for Self-Assessment.
When considering which specific Self-Assessment technique to adopt, the current culture of your organisation needs to be taken into consideration.
There is no “superior” technique for Self-Assessment. The most important factor is for the organisation to have clarity on the outcomes it is looking to achieve and then choosing the specific Self-Assessment technique that is the most appropriate for delivering those desired outcomes (you also can run two different techniques at the same time).
There are no set rules, the Self-Assessment can be carried out at any and all levels. However experience shows that many organisations first undertake one or more pilots to “test the water” and learn more about the process.
Step 4 – Select and train people directly involved in the process.
When undertaking a Self-Assessment there are a number of different roles that can come into play dependent upon the specific technique employed. Some roles, such as sponsor, project manager and staff will feature regardless, others (Assessor, Assessor Team Leader, Facilitator, Data gatherer, Report writer) are very much dependent on the technique chosen.
Step 5 – Conduct Self-Assessment.
The introduction of any new process needs careful management. Self-Assessment is no exception to this rule and it is best managed as a project.
The primary objective of Self-Assessment is to identify an organisation’s strengths and areas for improvement and create the energy to improve the organisation’s performance.
Step 6 – Consider Outcomes & Prioritise.
Organisations are unlikely to have the resources to address all these opportunities concurrently and it would be unrealistic for them to try. Indeed some improvement opportunities may have limited impact on the organisation’s key results. Therefore you also need clear processes in place for the prioritisation of the outcomes, as well as the management of the subsequent improvement action plans and the ongoing monitoring of progress through “business as usual” review cycles.
Step 7 – Establish & Implement.
The outcomes from conducting the Self-Assessment provides the “moment in time” picture of the status of the organisation, usually expressed in terms of Strengths, Areas for Improvement and sometimes a score. Step 6 provides us with the list of prioritised improvement opportunities.
Project management provides a structured methodology for implementing the action plans. Regardless of the size and nature of the specific activities committed to in the action plan, it is a good practice to:
n Produce a synopsis of the problem/gap to be tackled.
n Define the required deliverables.
n Determine the indicators of success.
n Include an indication of timescales and project resources.
n Have visible and specific accountability for delivery.
n Make sure actions are integrated into the organisation’s planning cycle.
Action plans and the updated strategic direction should be communicated to all interested parties.
Step 8 – Monitor Action Plan Progress and Review the Self-Assessment process.
As with any other activity, progress in implementing the improvement actions should be reviewed regularly and the whole process for linking Self-Assessment and business planning should also be reviewed and improved ready for the next Self-Assessment.
Also, as mentioned previously, when introducing Self-Assessment into the organisation it should be positioned as a long-term intervention, not a one-off activity. Therefore a review of the process is a critical function if the organisation is to maximise its learning.
An important part of the feedback loop between Step 8 and Step 1 is keeping the momentum going.
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More information: www.efqm.org