Top Companies Stay Aligned with an "Annual Health Check"

Top companies are taking an "annual health check" to stay aligned with company goals and customer needs. For many, implementing Persona's Organizational Alignment Survey (OAS) every year has become a competitive imperative.

The OAS assesses employee perceptions across 12 customer-focused dimensions and provides recommendations for aligning the organization and improving performance. "I am using the OAS with virtually every new client," says Jim Earl, President of Persona affiliate Personal Management International.

"Leading companies are using the OAS on an annual basis," Earl explains. "They may implement the OAS the first time because they are going through a merger or buyout, when a new management team is taking over, or to check how they measure up internally and against world-class companies. They continue to use the OAS because it's the best way to stay aligned and on track to becoming a world-class organization."

Measurable Improvement

Earl recently completed a third OAS for the Asia Division of $11 billion global pharmaceutical manufacturer SmithKline Beecham. The division conducted its first OAS three years ago as part of its "Simply Better" performance improvement initiative.

Based on OAS results, managers gave more attention to a few customer-focused dimensions that needed work. "We just completed a third OAS for SmithKline's Asia Division and found that the organization had improved 13 percent on average over the prior year. We believe it's because the division focused on the specific areas uncovered by the OAS," Earl says. The company intends to use the OAS on an annual basis.

"We found that the organization had improved 13 percent on average over the prior year."

Organization-Wide Consistency

"It's also important that we are able to offer the OAS in a variety of languages, such as Japanese, Mandarin, and Thai," says Earl. Because of this, global companies such as SmithKline Beecham can use the OAS to create consistency and alignment across a variety of geographies and cultures.

Tool for New Management

Earl also helped Tokyo Disney implement its first OAS when an incoming general manager wanted to get to know his new organization and obtain a true picture of Disney performance. The company is preparing to implement the OAS for a second year.

The OAS is a tool to help organizations find out how they're doing," says Earl. "When an annual OAS shows improvement, that's useful information. If it shows no improvement, that information is just as useful. We know that when organizations have the 12 dimensions working effectively, they produce better results. By conducting the OAS annually, companies are able to focus on spe-cific dimensions to achieve overall improvement."

"When an annual OAS shows improvement, that's useful information. If it shows no improvement, that information is just as useful."

Competitive Benchmarking

An increasingly competitive marketplace first brought General Casualty Insurance Company to the OAS. This major U.S. insurance organization wanted to know how its eight locations were performing compared to the industry's best.

Leo Bartlett of Persona Global affiliate The Bartlett Group, Inc. explains, "The OAS is one of the few ways that companies can obtain truly accurate benchmarking data. For General Casualty, we went into our international database and compared their results to those of world-class companies."

Based on OAS benchmarking, the company is working on management practices and has restructured the human resources department to be more responsive to internal customers. The benchmarks will also help corporate and branch task forces measure improvement. General Casualty plans to conduct their next OAS in 18 to 24 months.

When corporations discover the "annual health check" that the OAS delivers, they also discover ways to create world-class performance that can be sustained year after year.


The OAS assesses performance in 12 areas. When these dimensions are working effectively, organizations are aligned, more productive, and more profitable:
  • Market Orientation
  • Vision, Mission, and Strategy
  • Culture
  • Standards and Procedures
  • Service Delivery
  • People Policies
  • Climate
  • Maintenance of Total Quality
  • Leadership Practices
  • Product Differentiation
  • Performance Tracking
  • Monitoring of the Environment


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