Projects / AOD services
Organisational Cultural Competency measurement tool - guidelines

Measuring an organisation’s cultural competency provides insight into how responsive services are to the different needs of people from diverse cultures. Organisational strengths can be maintained, and areas for further development can be identified. This information can therefore inform strategic planning for organisational development.

Undertaking this process involves the following five steps, which are described in more detail below.

  1. Preparing your organisation
  2. Collecting information
  3. Analysing information
  4. Reporting findings
  5. Implementing recommendations

Preparing your Organisation

When preparing to measure and enhance organisational cultural competency, it is valuable to clearly identify the reasons for doing so, and any specific areas to be focused on, e.g. improving communication, or identifying gaps in relevant services in relation to a specific cultural group. Motivation to participate can be enhanced if a senior leader, such as the Chief Executive Officer, informs staff about the initiative, the process, its purpose, and what the organisation will do with the results. It is also important to reassure staff that all information will be kept anonymous, individual responses will not be identified, they will be private and confidential, emphasising that results will be shared in aggregate form.

Collecting information

The Organisational Cultural Competency tool, developed by the AOD Provider Collaborative, is available in two formats: 

  • Print version

The Organisational Cultural Competency measurement tool can be downloaded as a pdf if organisations wish to distribute the tool in hard copy. However, this can be a time-consuming process to administer, collate and analyse the information, particularly for large organisations.

  • On-line

Alternatively, the AOD Provider Collaborative has set up a version of the tool in SurveyMonkey, which organisations can request. This will allow organisations to collect and collate information electronically, and therefore more efficiently. Organisations that wish to use this option will need their own paid SurveyMonkey account. To request the SurveyMonkey version of the tool, please contact the AOD Provider Collaborative and include your SurveyMonkey username. A copy of the survey (including all design features) will then be sent to your organisation’s account.

Analysing Information

Analysing information requires several key steps:

  • Collating data (organise information to make sense and to provide direction to answer the goals and reasons for undertaking the assessment).
  • Summarising data (providing a brief outline of the collected information, especially relevant to the organisation and its strategic direction).
  • Drawing conclusions (based on the information, determine the important findings for the organisation and develop a roadmap for how to respond to these results).

How information is collated and summarised will depend on its collection method:

  1. Paper Information Collection: Gathering information on paper might require the data to be entered into a spreadsheet to enable analysis on various aspects of your organisational cultural competence. Utilising a spreadsheet, such as entering data for each statement of the assessment tool, can improve statistical analysis by having basic methods at one’s fingertips, such as frequency of responses, outliers etc.  This way the organisation can also analyse their data by various areas, for example responses from service delivery staff compared to administrative staff. 
  2. On-line Information Collection: Utilising SurveyMonkey allows various levels of analysis of the gathered information. It is recommended to focus on the specific goals and reasons for the assessment of your own organisation and not to drown in data. For example, if you decided to take the survey to identify differences between certain staff groups, “cut” your data that way. It is also advisable to check the highest and lowest scores.

This self-audit will help your organisation to evaluate where it sits within a “spectrum of cultural competence.” However, it is important that the staff completing this assessment do not view it as a quiz with a set of perfect answers. It is, rather, an opportunity to consider candidly the extent to which the organisation is meeting the needs of its diverse populations, both clients and staff.

The findings will, in themselves, suggest actions an organisation may take to improve its cultural competence. The results of this internal review will help the organisation gain a broad perspective of its policies, programmes and procedures relevant to various ethnic and cultural concerns.

Your organisation’s specific needs should guide the type and level of analysis you use, but we would recommend the following areas of the tool be considered.

  • Staff Cultural Profile

The data provides information about the characteristics of your staff and the organisation. This includes gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality and the specific areas staff work in. Understanding the characteristics of your staff may assist with recruitment and selection strategies, as well as workforce development to ensure that staff can be responsive to the communities that the organisation serves.

  • Tikanga Competencies

This section provides information about the key aspects of organisational knowledge, development and behaviour in relation to Māori tikanga. By assessing the perceptions of these competencies, the organisation can respond to strengthening relevant programmes in specific areas.

  • Organisational Characteristics

This section provides information about characteristics and knowledge of the board, management/ administration, staff and environment in relation to the characteristics and needs of staff and the people they serve, as well as relevance and awareness of significant organisational knowledge. By reflecting on the characteristics of various parts of the organisation and its service users, it can allow organisational development strategies to better match and serve clients and their needs. The level of awareness of the mission/ vision and strategic intent can also signal their relevance. 

  • Policies & Procedures

This section provides information about perceptions, knowledge and appropriateness of policies, processes, procedures, practices and guidelines. Overall levels of awareness can be useful, as well as specific areas for the organisation to raise awareness and develop their systems and people.  

  • Service Delivery

This section provides information about various aspects of service delivery, including communication and behaviours of staff. This might be a significant area of strength or it may need improvement, thus essential to examine the details of the results. 

Reporting Findings

Who to report to?

Reporting to management is a crucial part of the process. This can form the basis for planning and development for different areas, as well as for the whole organisation.

Reporting back to participants is essential. This will also ensure buy-in for next steps and create a platform for conversations for ongoing improvement in relevant areas.

What to report?

Comments and qualitative feedback may provide qualitative and contextual aspects of the responses, therefore signposts to where respondents feel the need to improve.

How to report?

Reporting needs to be relevant to the audience(s). Utilising graphs, summaries or details can be useful for different roles and individuals. Some might prefer paper reports, others prefer e-versions. Match the reporting style and details to the needs of the audience(s). 

Implementing Recommendations

After receiving the Organisational Cultural Competency report, carefully identify the organisation’s strengths and areas for development. This may occur at the executive/ leadership level of the organisation and/or in identified areas of the organisation, such as at service delivery, or administrative levels.

Acknowledging areas of strength is important to enable their ongoing reinforcement and potential duplication of these practices in other parts of the organisation. Celebrating the achievements of these positive competencies is also beneficial to strengthen relevant practices.

Areas for development should be carefully selected to focus on the most relevant aspects for the service(s). Tackling a small number of issues can provide better and visible results quicker, rather than trying a broad sweeping approach. Developing strategies to address areas of need, in collaboration with staff, provides buy-in and enhanced improvements in specific areas. A detailed plan to implement strategies with specific timelines and individuals responsible for these also assists the success of the project.

It is advisable to utilise resources and best practice guidelines. We provide links to a range of resources and other information across this site - we encourage you to explore these. Taking advantage of the wisdom, experience and expertise of the sector can provide shortcuts to tried and true systems/ processes.