The Organizational Benchmark™ Survey is designed to measure critical behavioral markers that show an organization’s growth in culture around a particular organizational value, such as safety, privacy, compassion or cost control. The markers are the same for each value (safety or privacy) in that the basic elements of a learning and just culture are common.
The markers follow twelve areas of focus:
- Organizational Values
- System Design
- Management/Subordinate Coaching
- Peer/Peer Coaching
- Open Reporting
- Search for Causes
- Internal Transparency
- Response to Human Error
- Response to Reckless Behavior
- Severity Bias
An explanation of the 12 benchmarks:
1. Organizational Values
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they believe their manager’s behaviors demonstrate that the particular value is supported by the organization. This provides a high-level view of how employees are interpreting their manager’s behaviors attached to a particular value.
2. System Design
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they see systems being changed in response to adverse events and hazards identified by the employee group. This focus on system design is a key operational tool.
3. Management/Subordinate Coaching
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they see their managers coaching when staff members make risky behavioral choices tied to the value being analyzed. Knowing that employees will drift into at-risk behaviors, this marker tells us whether managers are coaching employees onto better behavioral choices.
4. Peer/Peer Coaching
In this benchmark area, we ask if employees are willing to coach each other. This marker goes beyond merely offering help to another employee. We ask if employees are willing to challenge the behavioral choice of a peer that they see making risky choices.
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they see outcomes tied to a particular value heading in the right direction (increasing or decreasing). This will assess employee perceptions of whether they believe organizational outcomes are improving. This is especially important where adverse events are hard to track in a quantitative manner (e.g., compassion).
6. Open Reporting
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they are willing to report hazards or near misses that might detrimentally impact a particular organizational value. As opposed to reporting of adverse events, this behavioral marker looks at the near miss or hazard as the precursor to harm. Open reporting is essential to create a learning culture.
7. Search for Causes
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they see managers investigating system precursors to potential harm. We focus on near misses that, if investigated and understood, would produce critical system learning.
8. Internal Transparency
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they observe open dialogue concerning adverse events and lessons learned as related to the value under analysis.
9. Response to Human Error
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they see employees being disciplined for inadvertent human errors. This marker ties directly to the Just Culture model for the proper response to human error.
10. Response to Reckless Behavior
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if disciplinary action is taken when an employee willfully chooses to recklessly endanger the value under analysis. This also ties directly to the Just Culture model in the response to reckless behavior.
11. Severity Bias
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they believe that the severity of event outcomes play a significant role in whether the event will lead to positive change in systems or processes.
In this benchmark area, we ask employees if they believe that they are treated fairly across employee groups. Equity, the belief in the system being fairly applied across employees, is central to the notion of a Just Culture.