What is Columbi – what is the concept all about?
Current situation analysis and a way forward
The basic idea behind the Columbi concept is that the individual’s commitment, understanding and ability to influence his or her situation generates a creative and positive environment – and thus also an attractive workplace.
A Columbi consists of two parts: a survey and a workshop. The survey of the group is conducted by means of a digital interview that provides an up-to-date description of the specific situation. The result is then processed in a workshop where all participants jointly create activity plans. This combination provides comparable quantitative figures as well as qualitative information that together displays the current situation, a tangible way forward which also creates commitment and a sense of involvement during the course of the work.
It started in the 1980s
The Columbi concept has its roots in the 1980s. It was then that the social partners in the labour market became increasingly interested in work environment issues and the well-being of the employees at their workplaces. In the past, the physical work environment had been the main focus, but from the 1980s onwards, an increasing emphasis was placed on psychosocial aspects.
It was recognised that a good psychosocial work environment, among other things, leads to greater well-being, increased commitment and less absence through illness, and that this in turn affects the entire workforce’s performance – a fact that still applies today. The interest in measuring the complex relationship between work environment and soft values such as well-being and health was thus aroused at this time. The idea was then, as now, to work together with those concerned, both to map the current situation and to see what needs to be improved.
The methodology as well as the method of mapping has evolved over the years, from manual individual surveys to digital and cost-effective IT solutions.
The basis is knowledge of human behaviour
The starting point for a Columbi is that our subjective interpretation of the outside world determines our actions. This in turn is based on research on how we process information and handle or adapt to different situations. The scientific support for this reasoning is, for example, found in Ben Shalit’s method, The Wheel and Richard Lazarus’ Coping Theory.
The Columbi concept is well-proven and is also based on extensive empirical evidence from surveys conducted both in Sweden and abroad.
Columbi can easily be adapted to different languages, cultures and situations and there is no limit on the number of participants.
Carrying out a Columbi
In a Columbi survey, participants can individually and anonymously give their subjective view of a specific situation and describe what they perceive as significant, positive or negative and what opportunities they believe they have to influence. But it is the group’s overall and combined results that are summarised in an analysis and presented in a report.
The survey also generates a value, a Columbi index, which is a measurement of the team’s well-being, commitment and efficiency at a given time. When the survey is repeated at a later date, the index number demonstrates the team’s combined development over time.
The second part, the Columbi Team Challenge work-shop, is just as important as the survey. With this tool the team processes the results from the survey, puts toghether activity plans and sets goals. This is the key success factor for the team’s involvement and development.