Did You Know?
The term evidence-based medicine was coined in 1992 by Canadian physician Gordon Henry Guyatt, and since then, it has been used by other professions as well.
With evidence-based management being introduced by several organizations around the world, the practice of blindly following strategies is increasingly being replaced by methods that are backed by scientific research. This approach makes strategies based on beliefs and intuitions redundant, and instead, encourages the practice of formulating action plans that are derived from proof, recorded experiences, and actual events. A business model that once seemed invincible may turn obsolete in the face of heavy competition and changing market trends. New problems are bound to crop up, which will require immediate resolution, rather than cursory remediation. This Buzzle article discusses ways to apply evidence-based management in the workplace.
How to Incorporate Evidence-based Management in the Workplace
Pinpoint the Problems
The first step must be to identify the issues that are plaguing your organization. Make a list of all the internal and external factors that may be hindering the growth of your workplace. Separate the issues into relevant domains so that each problem area can be given absolute attention and resolved in due time. A flowchart of problems may be made so that issues can be resolved in a sequential and planned manner. If possible, a realistic time frame must be given for resolving each obstacle. For example, problems in the human resource department must be dealt with separately, and not jumbled with problems pertaining to low sales or productivity.
Consider Forming Research Teams
Depending on the number of problems and their correlation, small research groups may be formed within the organization. Each team will be assigned the task of researching on one problem area in their workplace and ideate on ways to improve the situation. The teams will gather evidence from the studies carried out by them and discuss their findings with their team members. This way, the ideas that seem impractical can be discarded to make way for better options.
For instance, if the work flow of the employees has been low, the research team must endeavor to find out the reasons for the slowdown. Employees can be asked to fill out questionnaires anonymously so that they feel more confident about discussing their issues and suggesting ways to mend the situation. The answers from several employees must be used as data and thoroughly evaluated in order to highlight the key problem areas and possible solutions. Once the problem areas have been diagnosed, the people doing the research must find out practical ways and means to help resolve the issues faced by the employees.
Research to Collect Evidence
The next step would be to gather as much internal data as possible along with studying the industries related to your organization. Seek the help of experts from your field of work, and consult manuals and journals for further clarity in coming up with solutions for your organization, since evidence-based management gives precedence to tried and tested methods that yield desirable results as compared to hypothesis. Therefore, the sources from which you seek information must be credible.
Find out how other organizations managed to deal with similar situations and whether or not those strategies can be implemented in your organization. However, since most organizations are different and work on unique business models, the strategy that worked for some may not work for yours. Therefore, be prepared to start from scratch and build from the evidence collected by your team. In case a certain problem can be resolved in multiple ways, the team must make a list of all the pros and cons of each method.
Keep the Findings Open for Debate
Once all the teams have collected their respective findings, their suggestions must to presented to all members of the workplace. The employees must be encouraged to clarify their doubts during the presentation, so as to avoid ambiguity. Next, the employees must be allowed to raise questions about the utility of the methods put forth by the research team. The best methods will need to be discussed in detail to help the employees understand it better and may need to be tweaked in order to fit the requirements of the workplace.
Encourage Employee Participation
Suggestions of employees and their unanimous preferences must be kept in mind while taking new strategies into consideration. The employees must also be allowed to brainstorm in groups or given sufficient time to offer their suggestions on newer ways to resolve issues in the workplace. As employees have firsthand experience about the situations that require mending or reformation, they are likely to have a deeper insight and more practical solutions that fit the needs of the organization.
Frame a New Plan of Action
After having shortlisted a few feasible solutions, the next step of evidence-based management requires that these strategies be put into action. In order to do so, the existing plans will need to be set aside temporarily or revised completely. New roles will need to be assigned, new goals will need to be created, and the contingency plans will need to be put in place. While seeking to meet the futuristic expectations of the organization, the new plan of action must cater to the present needs of the organization as well. Thus, meeting client deadlines and providing services to the customers on time, must not take a backseat during the implementation of a new phase in the organization.
Introduce Preparatory Changes
Before putting the new strategies into action, the organization may be required to take certain preparatory actions to ensure that the new plan works without any further glitches. Some of these changes may involve providing additional training to new and existing employees about recent trends relating to their field of work, and how to use new technology and software. Candidates with different skill sets may need to be employed in order to upgrade the quality of the organization's current work so as to meet the expected quality standards in the global market.
The basic principle behind evidence-based practice is to make decisions that are derived from facts. The second most important requisite for succeeding because of this management strategy, is to make a record of any further mistakes, learn from those lapses, and take further fact-based measures to rectify the errors.