Fact Sheet #30b) Focus on Suppliers / Partners
Element: Evaluation for Performance Measurement and Continuous Improvement
Outcome 30: Organization enhances and shares its performance measurement framework using an integrated data collection approach.
Indicator 30b): Organization works at improving its integrated approach to human rights with a suppliers/partners focus.
Possible Measures and Data Sources:
- Actions taken based on report recommendations.
- Effectiveness at leveraging internal and external resources.
- Client/citizen/employees suppliers satisfaction and confidence.
- Trends in design process, process changes and life-cycle.
As the organization is now in position to have a full overview of its human rights portrait across business lines, its leadership starts to evaluate how efficient its integrated approach to human rights is. It gathers information and feedback not only from employees and clients, but also from suppliers and partners, on how integrated its processes and policies are, in terms of employees/clients needs, and how efficient the organization is in integrating human rights considerations into its overall business.
At Level 3, the organization assessed how it is translating its human rights obligations related to employment practices and service delivery into actions. At Level 4, the organization enters into a new phase of maturity. It continues to monitor and review the results of its efforts to meet the indicators of each Level 4 element. It also assesses how contracting and/or partnership strategy impacts its efficiency in dealing with employees / clients human rights.
For example, through a complaint and compliments process, the organization could systematically capture its successes and challenges regarding the management of all types of complaints. The information obtained could help in taking measures to mitigate or to eliminate the challenges identified in order to continuously improve the organization’s capacity and competency to manage human rights conflict.
At this point of your journey, you have developed and implemented ways to capture data from several sources. You have a clear picture of how human rights are integrated, not only in your employment practices, but also in your service delivery. Continuous improvement initiatives can now take into account all aspects of your operations, including attitudes of managers and staff towards continuous improvement itself. At level 4, the organization enters into a new phase of maturity. It is often the moment where senior leadership evaluates its human rights strategy to articulate a renewed vision for human rights. The ultimate goal here is to identify continuous improvement initiatives to further improve the organizational human rights culture and to nurture the renewed vision. To do so, an organization may want to consider the following:
- Make sure that management continues to see value in what you are implementing: Embarking on a continuous improvement initiative without adequate support and common understanding may generate issues around acceptance and adoption. This also means working on the right priorities. Focusing on human rights improvement initiatives that directly or indirectly impact the operations needs will help the organization meet its strategic priorities and help staff, managers and senior leadership see value in the continuous improvement process itself.
- Build a strong case for change. Reinforcing that continuous improvement initiatives are part of the long term vision that was articulated at Level 1 of the Human Rights Maturity Model may bring a greater buy-in from stakeholders. In addition, linking the improvement initiatives to the operations holistically brings objectivity to the exercise. To do so, use the Three Ps approach: Picture of the preferred future (vision), Principles (values or beliefs), and Purpose (mission, niche, or why we exist). 
- Keep the communication channels open: Do not forget to diagnose and communicate what is working well or not, to provide a vision of what the ideal future looks like, and to communicate the plan in place for improvement and the need for change.
- Provide coaching and support to senior leadership: Leaders and managers have great knowledge of their businesses and processes. They may not have all the skills to assess and lead a continuous improvement approach. Retaining or identifying, within existing staff, a performance improvement leader should enhance acceptance for innovation and continuous improvement within the senior leadership team and allow for ongoing guidance/advice.
- Develop continuous improvement or change champions: These champions can support local improvement initiatives, provide regular reviews and assessments, encourage celebrations of achievements and report on the improvement progress.
- Market the specific approach. Naming the methodology or approach to improvement ensures that the concept is embedded within the organization.
- Promote values that support not only human rights but also continuous improvement: In addition to human rights values, the organization could consider promoting values that foster a climate supportive of continuous improvement such as creativity, innovation, collaboration, etc.
- Tolerate mistakes: Doing otherwise hampers initiative and creativity, key ingredients of continuous improvement.
- Naming your change initiative: One federal government agency proceeded with a full review of all of its service delivery business line. This organizational change was called Quantum. During the 3 years leading to a new business model, any discussion, review, process model, suggestion, and update, referred to Quantum. This was a way to ensure that the senior leadership vision for improvement was part of the day-to-day business operations.
- Creating competency profiles: Several organizations have introduced competency profiles as a means to focus their learning approach on a strategic, operational and motivational level. The competency profiles define the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors that employees use in performing their work and their role in the human rights continuous improvement process.
Useful Tools and Links
Canadian Sarkar, Debashis. 2011. "Eight deadly faux pas of continuous improvement." Performance Improvement 50, no. 8: 5-8. Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed December 11, 2012).
Mastering Change Through Continuous Growth, Learning, and Improvement (Consulted December 3, 2012)
Mastering Change Through Continuous Growth, Learning, and Improvement. http://www.clemmergroup.com/mastering-change-through-continuous-growth-learning-and-improvement.php. (Consulted December 3, 2012)
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