Organizational Development Specialist Job Description
Organizational development specialists are tasked with continuously making organizational improvements across all departments in their company by evaluating and identifying opportunities to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Not only do they plan, coach, and consult with individuals and teams to solve organizational challenges, they also design and implement training and performance programs. Collaboration and communication with staff and management is also a key part of the job. Organizational development specialists generally work full time during regular business hours.
Organizational Development Specialist Duties and Responsibilities
An organizational development specialist’s daily duties and responsibilities can change from employer to employer, but certain core tasks remain the same. Based on our review of job ads, some of these tasks are:
Research and Analyze Data
Organizational development specialists conduct research and analyze data in relation to the alignment and success of company goals, which includes identifying skill gaps and developing critical feedback on implemented training programs.
Create and Conduct Surveys
Organizational development specialists create relevant surveys that help evaluate the effectiveness of training and identify ways to enhance efficiency and adaptability within the organization.
Track and Report Progress
As part of keeping key company stakeholders apprised of all developments, organizational development specialists communicate progress and challenges as they relate to the company’s vision and goals.
Design and Implement Training Materials
With performance improvement in mind, the organizational development specialist designs and implements a variety of initiatives, action plans, programs, and training materials that employ e-learning, virtual learning, site-based training, assessments, or other solutions.
Organizational Development Specialist Skills and Qualifications
Organizational development specialists are dedicated to the personal growth and development of the people in a company. Employers also seek applicants with these abilities:
- Organization skills – because the key duties of an organizational development specialist are focused on improving a department or company’s efficiency and effectiveness, the ability to organize data and plan for the future is key
- Analytical thinking – analyzing various forms of data, from survey results to training program assessments, to create the best strategies possible is a core skill
- Problem-solving skills – different companies, and each department within, have different organizational and training needs. If a strategy results in little or no success, the organizational development specialist must be able to troubleshoot why and devise an alternative strategy
- Attention to detail – dealing with a combination of people and the data related to them requires someone who pays attention to details. Overlooking certain pieces of data can be detrimental to overall results
- Interpersonal skills – as an influencer who strives to help others develop and grow, an organizational development specialist needs strong interpersonal skills to gain the trust of the employees intended to benefit from their expertise
- Collaboration – the ability to actively engage and collaborate with everyone, from internal stakeholders to business partners to external consultants, is critical to success in this position
Tools of the Trade
An organizational development specialist utilizes the following technology and tools:
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
- Feedback assessments (MBTI, DISC, Hogan, Lominger, 360 Feedback)
- E-learning software
- Graphics or photoimaging software
Organizational Development Specialist Education and Training
To become an organizational development specialist, a bachelor’s degree in training and development, organizational development, organizational performance, industrial and organizational psychology, adult education, or a related field is required. However, many employers prefer applicants who possess a master’s degree in one of these areas or who have relevant professional certifications, such as the Association for Talent Development’s Certified Professional in Learning and Performance designation. Although an advanced degree and industry-specific certifications aren’t required for job seekers, they can be helpful for landing a job with tremendous competition.
Organizational Development Specialist Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the organizational development specialist’s median annual salary as $60,360. Workers in the 10th percentile earns approximately $33,150 a year, while the highest paid in the field make $102,340 a year.
According to the BLS, over 282,000 organizational development specialists are employed in the United States. Employment growth of 11 percent is expected through 2026.
We searched the web to find some of the top industry resources for organizational development specialists. The following links can help you decide if this is the right career path for you:
Organization Development Network – the OD Network allows its members to connect with other organizational development professionals, read its quarterly journal to learn new theories and practices, and benefit from webinars, discussions, and toolkits
Cases and Exercises in Organization Development & Change – written by Donald J. Anderson, this comprehensive guide contains organizational change and human behavior theories, actual case studies, and practical exercises that contain realistic scenarios involving organizational development specialists
Organization Development: A Practitioner’s Guide for OD and HR – authors Mee-Yan Cheung-Judge and Linda Holbeche, two leading experts in the field, cover complexity and chaos theory and case studies that describe organizational development practices in other countries. They also share information on culture change and how it affects employee engagement
Reinventing Organizations – written by Frederic Laloux, this book gives both his theoretical explanation of a new model of company organization, which people in the industry are deeming an evolutionary leap, and several examples of companies currently employing this model
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