Research & Assessments

Change and transformation projects often get off track because of poor diagnoses. An overreliance on survey data and top-down directives fail to adequately understand employee experience from their perspective.

5 pillar framework openwork agency

OWA is grounded in anthropological science, and we are experienced ethnographic researchers. We prioritize contextual, qualitative research made up of interviews, observations, user journey maps, diaries, photography, and videography. Inductive, employee-generated data helps us develop a full cultural understanding of your organization.

We supplement our research with custom surveys as the need arises during the course of an engagement. We specialize in two areas of research: culture assessments and workplace assessments. Both are often conducted together as part of a single project.

Culture Assessments

Our culture assessments are typically problem-driven. In some cases it is unclear where the primary tension lies, and the research is focused on problem finding.

Unlike common culture assessments, which rely on extensive surveys and corporate culture “types,” we use the Five Questions framework to conduct interviews and observations to understand work in its naturally occurring context. We seek to understand the daily lived experience of employees, and develop cultural understanding from that. Our reports are visually rich and consist of images, videos, illustrative quotes and phrases, and other artifacts collected during the research.

Organizational challenges that we address:

  • Why are employee engagement scores consistently low?
  • Why is top talent leaving the organization?
  • Why don’t employees trust leadership and management?
  • Why do we have a lousy innovation track record?
  • Why is morale persistently low?
  • How can we increase organizational learning and a growth mindset?
  • What can we do to develop a more compelling employee value proposition (EVP)?
  • How to maintain cohesion and community if we fully embrace hybrid working?
  • How do we increase trust across the organization?

Is your organization facing these or similar problems?

Workplace Assessments

In the current context of hybrid and remote working, corporate workplaces are undergoing inflection-point levels of transformation. In what types of spaces do your employees thrive? What are employee preferences in terms of where they most effectively conduct different types of work? How often will they be in the office going forward? What will be the long-term workspace design implications if your organization embraces hybrid and remote work?

Like our culture assessments, we focus on employee needs, preferences and experiences. We combine qualitative research with the Open Organization Survey to create a rich picture of current and future workplace strategy.

Data now clearly indicates that employees want and expect flexibility and choice in when and where they work. Space and workplace strategy (such as hybrid working) are now EVP and HR issues.

Our new Workplace Experience Audit, is a standalone research service designed to kick off a workplace change project.

Common questions that initiate a workplace assessment include:

  • How do we increase space utilization (beyond the typical 40-50%)?
  • What hybrid working schedules do employees really want?
  • Why does management push back against employee choice? (This is also a culture assessment question)
  • What new design typologies are aligned with how employees actually want to work?
  • How can the organization adapt to an activity based working (ABW) future?
  • How can the organization turn space and hybrid working policies into an employee attraction and retention strategy?

Is your organization struggling to adapt to the hybrid working future?

Ready to start a conversation?