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Organizational Culture Evaluations

ORAU's Center for Safety Studies is a trusted, independent source for safety, security and organizational culture evaluations

Does your organizational culture promote excellent performance?

Do your leaders send the message that safety and security are absolutes that will not be compromised?

If you are not completely confident in your answers to these questions, you may decide that an evaluation of your organizational culture would be beneficial. ORAU’s Center for Safety Studies can help. Our team of subject matter experts has extensive experience in culture evaluations for the nuclear, chemical and other high-hazard industries.

ORAU’s interdisciplinary team of former executives, industrial/organizational psychologists, communication professionals, health scientists, engineers, biostatisticians and data scientists provide independent analysis of your situation to help you make management decisions based on facts. Feedback from your employees through interviews, focus groups, surveys, and observations help you uncover and solve employee relations issues and concerns that impact organizational performance. When organizational culture issues are identified and addressed, your workforce is more engaged, more productive and provides greater responsiveness to your customers.

  • Two workers inspecting work site safety

    What is safety culture?

    Safety culture is an organization’s values and behaviors modeled by its leaders and internalized by its members, which serve to make safe performance of work the overriding priority to protect the workers, the public and the environment.

  • Safety staff testing a work environment for radiation

    What is a safety conscious work environment?

    A safety conscious work environment is a work environment in which employees feel free to raise safety concerns to management without fear of retaliation.

What we offer

  • Safety culture evaluations
  • Nuclear safety culture evaluations
  • Security culture evaluations
  • Customized employee surveys
  • Independent assessments and analysis
  • Employee engagement/satisfaction surveys

Industries we serve

(including North American Industry Classification System Code)

  • Utilities (221)
  • Construction of Buildings (236)
  • Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction (237)
  • Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing (324)
  • Chemical Manufacturing (325)
  • Primary Metals Manufacturing (331)
  • Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing (332)
  • Pipeline Transportation (486)
  • Telecommunications (517)
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (541)
  • Waste Management and Remediation Services (562)
  • Hospitals (622)
  • Space Research and Technology (927)
  • National Security and International Affairs (928)

How’s your culture?

Wondering why your organization is not performing as expected?
Your employees know the answer.

Employees need five basic conditions met to thrive in an organization

Our research shows that when employees are unhappy and disengaged, it is the result of one or more of five basic conditions not being met. These include employees’ desire to make a difference, be respected, have a sense of stability, be treated with fairness and be recognized as an individual. When these five conditions are fulfilled, their perceptions and attitudes are more positive, and their performance is more likely to meet or exceed expectations. © 2016 Darren H.F. Smith, Ph.D.

Blue cube
  • Making a difference

    I want to be part of the solution. Nobody wakes up with the thought, “Today, I just want to be average.” Help me succeed.

    The workforce is saying to management: if I understand the bigger picture and see how I fit in, I will be more engaged and contribute more to the team. If you keep me in the dark, I will do my job, but nothing more.

  • Be respected

    Make me a part of the conversation. Inform me of changes before they are implemented and ask for my input. I may have ideas to make things better.

    The workforce is saying to management: at least ask us what we think. Don’t make big changes that affect us without getting some input from us. And, if you say you want us to ask questions you have to mean it. Don’t get angry and defensive when we question something. We really are just trying to make things better.

  • A Sense of Stability

    Help create an environment where I know what to expect even when we’re continually surrounded by change.

    The workforce is saying to management: We all know and expect change to occur but it is difficult for some of us. Just keep us informed and tell us the truth. Don’t say one thing when you mean something else.

  • Fairness

    In order for me to have a sense of fairness, explain to me the reasons behind the decisions.

    The workforce is saying to management: If you explain to me the reasons why decisions are made the way they are, I can accept that. I may not agree with the decision but at least I understand why you did what you did.

  • Be recognized as an individual

    Work to see me as an individual. Get to know my unique talents that make me who I am. Acknowledge my contributions.

    The workforce is saying to management: I don’t know you. You don’t know me. I never see you except when something bad happens. How could you possibly know what contribution I am making to the organization.

Want your own blue cube? Drop us a line, and we’ll ship one to you.

Jeffrey R. Miller, PhD, CIH, CSP Office: 865.576.7912Mobile: 865.440.6337

The relationship between perception and performance

A basic question that is sometimes asked is, “why do we even care about perceptions of the workforce?” We care about the perceptions of the workforce because ultimately they impact individual performance and that impacts organizational performance.

30,000 nuclear workers surveyed on safety cultures in their workplaces

30,000 nuclear workers surveyed on safety cultures in their workplaces

ORAU has performed periodic, comprehensive evaluations of nuclear industry workforces and practices in an effort to monitor and continuously improve safety culture.

Read More

ORAU is a safety leader among government contractors

ORAU is a safety leader among government contractors

ORAU has been recognized for more than a decade as a DOE Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site for Safety, through our management of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the U.S. Department of Energy and the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site for the National Nuclear Security Administration. We have received DOE’s VPP Star of Excellence Award each year since 2005. With this tradition of safety excellence, we have helped ORISE become one of only nine DOE sites across the nation to be named a Legacy of Stars site. Learn more about the culture of Safety at ORAU.

Our Experts

Jeff Miller

Jeffrey R. Miller, Ph.D.

Expertise: Occupational exposure assessment, safety culture evaluation, chronic beryllium disease worker protection programs

  • Chair, American Board of Industrial Hygiene, 2017-2018
  • Keynote speaker, International Symposium on Beryllium Particles and Detection, November 2017
  • Co-author, “Guide to Monitoring and Improving Safety Cultures,” Energy Facilities Contractors Group, April 2017
  • Team member, design team for $6.5B Uranium Processing Facility Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Presenter, American Industrial Hygiene Association, Fall Leadership Conference, October 2017
  • 14 years of senior leadership experience; six years as a CEO

Certifications: Certified Industrial Hygienist, Certified Safety Professional®

Davyda Hammond

Davyda Hammond, Ph.D.

Expertise: Safety culture evaluation, environmental health engineering, qualitative data analysis, statistical analysis, survey administration and evaluation design, project management

Hammond has a wide-array of experience in the design, planning, and execution of nuclear safety culture evaluations for DOE contractors, national laboratories, and commercial customers. She has a doctorate in Environmental Health Engineering, with expertise in both engineering and public health. Her areas of research interest and emphasis include environmental and worker health, research methods, risk assessment, health education, energy systems, and mechanical design. She has 15 years of health and safety research, project management, and engineering experience obtained through her work in industry, academia, and Federal service. She has presented her research at multiple national and international conferences and in several scholarly, peer-reviewed journals.

Matthew J. Shaffer, Ph.D.

Matthew J. Shaffer, Ph.D.

Expertise: Industrial/organizational psychology, organizational culture evaluation, nuclear safety culture assessment, surveys, focus groups, leadership, employee engagement, data analysis, and training

Shaffer has extensive experience evaluating organizational culture, with expertise in survey development and administration, focus group facilitation, and both quantitative and qualitative data analysis and interpretation. He has a doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology with an emphasis in leadership and employee engagement, two key factors in the understanding of and effectiveness of organizational culture.

Contact us

For more information or to schedule an organizational culture consultation, contact Dr. Jeffrey Miller at 865.576.7912 or jeff.miller@orau.org.

For more information about contracting with ORAU, contact Angela Holmberg at 865.576.7618 or angela.holmberg@orau.org.