Translating research into practical tools – the Organisational Check-Up

October 2020

Accountability, quality standards, continuous improvement and best practice are common catch phrases of contemporary organisational and corporate environments in AOD, public health and many other sectors. For most AOD organisations, the values and expectations underlying the jargon relate to a deep commitment to ensuring high quality, responsive and equitable service provision for clients and stakeholders.

The sheer volume of information and evidence to inform organisational practices creates a significant challenge for AOD organisations, and senior staff, managers and supervisors. Keeping up to date on the latest information and evidence on AOD issues, prevention and treatment can be very challenging.

Along with an emphasis on evidence-informed practice, regular assessments in the form or reviews, evaluations, audits or other reflective activities that are designed to support organisational improvement and effectiveness are customary in the modern workplace, including within AOD organisations. There is a vast literature on organisational evaluation, including many high quality tools and structured assessment processes to address a range of organisational priorities and outcomes. Similarly, the research literature on workforce development and organisational effectiveness is also extensive and complex.

One of the guiding principles underpinning the work of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) is to provide information on how to best support an effective and sustainable AOD workforce that is (a) based on high quality reliable evidence, and (b) accessible and applicable to the everyday work practices of AOD organisations.

The latest research translation tool developed by NCETA aims to bridge the gap between research and practice with regard to workforce development assessments and activities in AOD organisations.

A new research-to-practice tool: The Organisational Check-Up

The Organisational Check-Up Toolkit (the Toolkit) contains evidence-based assessment tools addressing key workforce development issues for AOD organisations. It is designed to support and facilitate the exploration, assessment and evaluation of workforce development issues and activities in AOD organisations.

The Toolkit is designed to complement and extend existing workforce development and organisational assessment activities in AOD organisations. For example, single survey items or sets of items can be incorporated into an existing staff survey. Discussion points on particular topics can be used to guide more in-depth staff consultations within workshops or interviews. These resources can also be used to create a new and comprehensive organisational assessment.

The assessment tools in this toolkit can assist in:

  • Monitoring important workforce issues (e.g. levels of job satisfaction)
  • Assessing an organisational change program (e.g. a strategy to increase access to professional development)
  • Developing further insight into a particular issue (e.g. burnout) and the workplace factors that may be contributing to this issue.

The Toolkit is underpinned by contemporary research models and evidence regarding workplace assessment, organisational change and measurement.

There are a number of advantages and benefits to using the assessment tools in this Toolkit.

High quality assessment tools that have been carefully curated and developed by NCETA researchers, in consultation with stakeholders from the AOD field.

Access to national comparative data for organisational survey items and select pulse survey items, from NCETA’s AOD Workforce National Survey 2019-2020.

Evidence-based measures of key issues such as job satisfaction, burnout, engagement from well-established and validated research tools.

Flexible measurement options including quick pulse survey items, more comprehensive item sets for standard organisational surveys and discussion points to explore issues in more depth.

Visual and text-based measures to suit participants’ time availability and communication preferences.

Alignment with the National Quality Framework for Drug and Alcohol Treatment Serviceswith assessment tools to address particular quality areas related to the Workforce, Development and Clinical Practice Guiding Principle and the Health and Safety Guiding Principle.

Complementing the Organisational Check-Up is the Organisational Assessment Tools Database. The Database contains a carefully curated selection of 13 existing organisational assessment tools that can also be used to explore and evaluate organisational effectiveness.

Next Steps

The Organisational Check-Up will be made publicly available via the NCETA website in late-2020. It is intended for use by any AOD organisation, including NGO, government and private sector organisations.

Information and resources about the AOD National Workforce Survey 2019-20 are available from the NCETA website.