Fact Sheet #36b) Efforts and Impact Continuously Refined

Level 5

Element: Evaluation for Performance Measurement and Continuous Improvement

Outcome 36: Organization incorporates parameters related to the broad promotion of human rights into its monitoring system.

Indicator 36b): Organization continuously refines its overall efforts for human rights improvement and their impact on organizational accomplishments.

Possible Measures and Data Sources:

  • Level of overall accomplishments.
  • Trends in sustainability.
  • Overall satisfaction (employee-citizen-clients-government-industry).

Indicator Description

As the organization has now a better idea of the efficiency of its integrated approach to human rights, it builds on its successes to continually improve its positive human rights impact on communities locally, nationally and internationally. It gathers information and feedback not only from employees, clients, suppliers and partners, but also from citizens, when applicable, on how the organization’s human rights culture is affecting its overall performance.

At Level 4, the organization continues to monitor and review the results of its efforts to meet the outcomes of each Level 4 element. It also assesses how its contracting and/or partnership strategy impacts its efficiency in dealing with employees/clients human rights. At Level 5, the impact of the Human Rights Maturity Model (the Model) journey can be seen in the way people within the organization perform their work, interact with others internally and externally, establish objectives and manage assets. An inclusive culture drives the decision making process. The organization assesses how its culture impacts its overall performance and how easily it adapts to new changes.

For example, an organization may study how its structures and purpose, values, beliefs and climate affect its position within the industry and reputation. Once completed, the study can generate important information for guiding future directions of the organization. 

Suggested Approach

  • Review your journey: The Model is meant as a roadmap for integrating human rights into the workplace. Once an organization has reached Level 5, consider going back to the very first level of the Model and reviewing each indicator up to the point where you are today. You may discover room for improvement.
  • Reinforce your commitment to continuously improve: The very first indicator of the Model (see Fact Sheet 1a)) stresses the importance of a visible commitment from senior leadership. This principle remains essential to carrying out change within an organization. Continuous improvement, within any organizational process, is something that must be embedded into a culture and modeled and promoted by senior leaders.
  • Ensure all managers at all levels embrace the concept of continuous improvement: Once senior leadership is committed to a process of continuous improvement, all managers at all levels of the organization should understand and support continuous improvement on the Model. This is to ensure that working units are continually striving to reach targets and looking for ways to improve processes.
  • Make continuous improvement training available to staff: There are a number of different approaches to continuous improvement. Most are based around the Deming, or Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. Providing employees, especially managers, with tools to understand and implement continuous improvement processes will increase the likelihood of success on the Model activities. This training may also have the added benefit of improving other systems within your organization.
  • Consult with stakeholders: One of the main drivers of change in a continuous improvement process, besides numerical data, is feedback. Oftentimes, more obvious issues tend to get addressed when looking for ways to improve a process. Even though this is a good practice, there are often subtler issues that could be addressed that may have an equally significant outcome, in terms of improvement. Consult with unions, employees, external partners, clients and community members to get a good understanding of all of the issues.
  • Engage employees and encourage dialogue: Not all consultation takes place in a formal way. Many ideas are shared informally during meetings, lunches and other casual dialogue between management and employees. Try to set a good tone that promotes discussion. Employees must feel confident that their suggestions and ideas for improvement will be heard and taken into account.
  • Make a strategic linkage: Once feedback has been collected and analyzed, consider ways to integrate this information into your strategies and action plans going forward.
  • Make an action plan: Continuous improvement can happen very quickly for some initiatives, but it may take longer for others. Prioritize issues and work through them one at a time, ensuring that each action item is properly addressed and followed through to completion. Learn from successes and failures and don’t be afraid to try something again in a different way, even if it didn’t work perfectly the first time.
  • Measure change: Look for both qualitative and quantitative measures that can be compared on an ongoing basis. In terms of the Model, this may be the result of surveys, feedback, the number of complaints or grievances received, productivity, or any other measure that may be relevant to the indicator being addressed.

Promising Practices

  • Using a self-analysis matrix: Some organizations are using matrix to compare their results in terms of employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and society impact against pre-established key performance results.

Useful Tools and Links

Cabinet Office Continuous Improvement Strategy - Gov.uk 

Continuous Improvement – Assessment Characteristics - Gov.uk 

A Guide for Integrating Human Rights into Business Management - Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights 

The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: An Interpretive Guide - Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle - ASQ

Plan Do Review Improve cycle - Australia Edith Cowan University

Planning and Quality, Plan, Do, Review, Improve Cycle - University of Technology Sydney 

Continuous Process Improvement, Transformation Guidebook - Department of Defense, United State of America


"Cabinet Office Continuous Improvement Strategy." UK Government, Web. 12 Dec. 2012

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).

Professor John S. Oakland. 1999, 2001. "Total Organizational Excellence – Achieving world-class performance" Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, England. p.108-111.

Date modified: