Workgroup Climate Assessment (WCA) Tool and Guide for Facilitators
The primary use of the WCA is to measure workgroup climate. Its secondary purpose is to engage workgroup members in a conversation about their particular climate so that together, they can find ways to improve it. The WCA encourages a participatory process – team members individually respond to the survey and afterwards they are encouraged to discuss and act upon the results together.
Workgroup Climate is the prevailing workplace atmosphere as experienced by employees. It is “what it feels like to work together in a group”. As a positive work climate encourages and sustains employee motivation and high performance, a manager should focus on assessing and improving climate.
The WCA is a simple, reliable, and validated tool designed to measure climate in intact workgroups at all levels of an organization. In a Ministry of Health, this includes workgroups or teams at the local (clinic) level all the way up to workgroups at the central level. For a nongovernmental organization (NGO) this includes technical and administrative teams as well as the executive management teams.
The WCA Guide for Facilitators consists of the following components:
- WCA Tool
- Tabulation sheets and feedback reports by hand
- Tabulation instructions for using Excel
- Facilitators Plan for conducting the WCA
- A detailed review of Workgroup Climate
- Leading and Managing practices for improving Workgroup Climate
- Handouts for discussion groups
- Instructions for applying the WCA with members of a group
The first part of the Guide provides an overview of climate and the Workgroup Climate Assessment (WCA) tool and explains how to use the WCA as part of an organizational improvement process. The annexes of the Guide include all the necessary materials for facilitating a short workshop to administer the WCA with a workgroup and analyze the results. Facilitators who will be using the WCA with a workgroup should read the entire Guide to become familiar with the tool, its participatory philosophy, and the steps involved in using it.
Designed for public health organizations, it can be used by managers, supervisors, consultants, human resource specialists; anyone who wants to better understand and measure workgroup climate. Can be used in any organization where people work in groups/teams.
Management Sciences for Health, 2003; validated and updated 2004-2005.
The WCA was used in Nicaragua, Brazil, Egypt, Guinea 2002-2003; a validation study was conducted in Brazil, Mozambique, and Guinea in 2004; and the WCA is integrated into the Virtual Leadership Development Program and the face-to-face Leadership Development Program.
The WCA is a short assessment that can be conducted in about four hours. The guide is designed to be used within or outside of a larger performance improvement process.
The WCA process requires a facilitator. The facilitator can be either someone who works within or outside the organization, but should be someone whom the staff trusts, so they are more likely to respond honestly. The process requires confidentiality and to obtain a valid measure of workgroup climate, all members of the intact workgroup should fill out the WCA.
The WCA is not appropriate for teams that are newly formed because they do not have a history of working together and therefore team members will find it difficult to respond to the items in the survey.
Recommendations for users
Rather than a stand alone activity, we recommend that the WCA be used as part of a larger program for performance improvement. The results of the WCA provide a foundation for improving climate, and the larger program – like a leadership development program – and gives support to make the necessary changes. The WCA allows teams to measure changes in their climate from the beginning to the end of the program.
Reports and Publications:
Volume 11, Number 3 of The Manager entitled “Creating a Work Climate that Motivates Staff and Improves Performance”. Report: WCA Validation Findings--Conducted by Allison J. Tracy, PhD.