A director of organizational development works within a company to diagnose its problems and implement solutions. As explained by the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, “Organizational development is the process through which an organization develops the internal capacity to be the most effective it can be in its mission work and to sustain itself over the long term.”
The director of organizational development translates the vision of the company into action. For example, the director of organizational development at Thomson Reuters is responsible to “enhance business performance through a focus on organizational design, alignment, and accountability; culture shift; senior team effectiveness; collaboration; core process improvement; certifications.” The director also oversees talent management strategies such as annual reviews, performance management, succession planning and employee development.
Organizational development professionals follow a series of steps to create change. After someone within the organization identifies a problem, the director of organizational development diagnoses the problem by talking to the people closest to the problem. She may have conversations with managers, employees and customers to help her understand the situation. She may also gather and analyze appropriate data such as productivity scales or customer satisfaction scores. Then she collaborates with key leaders to create a solution and works with managers to implement the solution. Finally, she measures the results and reports them to the business leaders.
Many people believe that every job description that includes development involves fund raising. Instead, a director of organizational development enriches the employees and the system itself to improve the company overall. This work has a direct impact on the bottom line but does not involve fund raising.
Education and Experience
A director of organizational development usually has a master’s degree or Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology or a related field. This is not an entry level position. To be the director of organizational development, most companies require at least seven years of experience in the field. To gain experience, one must work as an organizational development analyst, a corporate trainer or human resources professional.
The director of organizational development works with people at all levels of the organization. Thus, she must have superior written and verbal communication skills. She must be a good listener and have the ability to keep information confidential. She also needs the analytical and organizational skills to analyze the culture, implement change, and measure results. She also supervises others within the organizational development department, so she must be an excellent manager.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not keep separate statistics on directors of organizational development. However, this position fits into a larger occupational group made up on industrial-organizational psychologists whose average income was $77,010 in 2008. This field was expected to grow 20 percent or more from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than average.
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