Measuring Company Culture (A Definitive Guide)
Over the past couple of years, company culture has shifted considerably. This singular fact hasn’t eluded employees. Notably, 1 out of every 3 employees has stated that they’ve noticed culture changes over the past two years. That said, change is almost certainly going to continue whether or not you’re investing in it. To keep steering in the direction needed, it’s important for employers to take note of their culture.
The importance of company culture measurement
Culture measurement could be done in various ways, from formal surveys to more personal conversations. However, they all have the same goal; better understanding leading to more effective decision-making. Regardless of the means, company culture measurement is able to give keen insight from everyone in your company, identifying the working parameters and the ones that aren’t.
The practice requires input from every employee. Both individual contributors and leaders could have the same ideas or thought processes. As such, Important insight into where to invest resources and focus energy is given.
For any organization not measuring culture, improvement would be hard to achieve. Summarily, culture data causes you to:
- Discover actionable and deep insights about your current culture state
- Find opportunities and obstacles
- Discover when and where to focus
- Engage in better communication with better context
- Enable team alignment around your goals and efforts
- Foster a culture that is more inclusive
- Improve performance, retention, and engagement
How culture can help business productivity
Culture entails how things are done within your company. It deals with how you recognize employees, communicate, create alignment, set goals, and give feedback. Seeing as your workforce is impacted by culture on a daily basis, it’s not surprising that it’s able to boost employee performance, retention and engagement.
As the focus is placed on building a culture that positively affects performance and engagement, your employees are bound to get better equipped to achieve your business goals. That said, proper culture isn’t a one-off project. For it to be done right, intentionality is required. Data and insights should also spearhead the process.
What should be measured in your company culture
To build a company culture that boosts business, team, and employee success, the key is to focus on employee engagement. How work gets accomplished can elicit a negative, neutral or positive effect on your employee engagement.
As increasing employee engagement becomes a priority, it’s much easier for culture strategies to pinpoint culture measurement. The entire process becomes more tangible. For engagement and culture measurement, it’s important to have a firm grasp on the emotional and mental connection employees possess with their teams, work, and your organization.
As you gain more understanding of the impact culture has on engagement, the full picture begins to unfold. From there, you’re able to discover culture opportunities and obstacles, also knowing where your focus should be placed for change to occur.
Key culture parameters to be tracked
A number of metrics in business can give you a lot of information concerning culture. Have a firm grasp on these parameters to make sure your company culture is going in the right direction.
If a company has a positive culture, employees will be motivated to work at their best. If it’s noticed that employees frequently come short as pertains to important tasks, your culture may be limiting their success rates. Any keeping tabs on productivity, you can discern whether or not your culture fosters employee motivation.
The amount of times employees refer your company can speak volumes about your culture. If your employees are known to recommend your organization as a great workplace, chances are that their everyday experience is seen as valuable. Referral tracking enables you to see if your organization is building a culture that engages, attracts, and retains its workforce.
It’s vital that communication lines across departments and from the bottom to the top are open. Employees should be able to conveniently share concerns, feedback, and concerns. However, if communication is usually followed up on with negativity, you may have a toxic culture. Pay attention to your employees and learn how communication works with them. You can learn a lot about your culture through this.
When it’s noticed that new hires and top performers leave in droves, chances are that a negative company culture may have a hand in it. This is particularly important as the average turnover rate in the US is roughly 36%. An employee’s day-to-day experience affects whether or not they decide to stay. This is why retention and turnover rates are major company culture indicators.
Tools useful for measuring and improving company culture
As stated earlier, it’s vital to constantly measure and optimize culture. Beyond the general parameters like communication and productivity, let’s take a look at the tools that can be used to pinpoint necessary information vital for culture measurement. Using the right means can greatly affect how you progress as an organization. Knowing not just what to measure but which tools to use and how to go about it is a boon to any organization intent on advancing.
To find what’s working or not working in your culture, employees are often the best people to ask. That said, employee surveys help bring their thoughts to bear.
Here are a few template questions that can help you kick off:
- My role in the organization aids in actualizing the organization’s end goal
- I notice traits across the board in our company that reflect the company’s core values
- I’m intimate with our company’s values, goals, and mission
- Our company is consistent in bettering the quality of products and services
- The work pace at our company helps employees function properly
- Our company culture is mindful of employee well-being and health
Make good use of lifecycle and engagement to acquire feedback at every point of an employee’s stay. This helps you have an in-depth understanding of the happenings in your culture. A holistic employee survey platform enables teams to empower employees and capture employee voices at every facet to boost their individual experiences. Let’s take a look at some of these surveys.
What is used to measure engagement is quite different from that for satisfaction. It’s a different ball game. Engagement involves measuring the effort company employees would freely give towards the goal of the company, not because of duty but because of motivation. This speaks of a willingness to go the extra mile.
This doesn’t necessarily mean staying longer than necessary at work. It could simply mean improving their skills on their own or adding extra value to the company by working cross-functionally. That said, companies should have an engagement plan for employees.
Open-ended engagement surveys allow you to measure how much your employees buy into the organization’s values and are able to take extra steps toward actualizing company goals. This is particularly valuable as an engaged employee is four times as likely to go above and beyond than one not engaged. That said, only about 13% of employees in over 142 polled countries are in the ‘engaged’ spectrum, as seen by Dr. Amy Armstrong’s study. This shows that it’s not the easiest task to drive engagement via company culture.
Essentially, culture surveys help you review the individual behaviors, practices, and beliefs of your organization as opposed to how they’re seen by your employees. These are particularly designed to assist companies in diagnosing and defining their culture to assess the health and alignment of the company culture strategy.
These surveys ask employees questions that pertain to how they observe behavioral patterns within the company. They differ from engagement surveys in the regard that, unlike engagement surveys, it’s not the individual’s personal thoughts on the matter but rather collective behavioral patterns noticed in the organization and possible causes of said patterns.
The results from culture surveys help the organization to fine-tune its steps in attempting to move from the behavioral patterns observed to those that will help advance the goals and objectives of the company.
As discussed already, culture involves measuring at the company/organizational level. Climate surveys, on the other hand, measure at team levels. Climate surveys give leaders data on the attitudes, sentiments, and views of those who work in smaller teams, complete with their functions.
Even if one turns a blind eye to the leadership benefit in assessing employee sentiment and finding what makes teams work well, there’s the fact that employees are also given the opportunity to be heard. As they’re given access to channel whatever thoughts and opinions they might have through a formal route, effectiveness in communication increases drastically.
Climate surveys give data that enable the organization to better understand employee needs.
In recent times, pulse surveys have gone on the increase. Even though they’re considered a bit similar to engagement surveys, the similarities end in the frequency and length of when both are conducted. Pulse checks help leaders with a snapshot of engagement within teams or the organization as a whole.
Seeing as data in pulse surveys is usually taken on a quarterly or monthly basis, a new parameter to the analysis can now be added, that being time. Pulse checks enable companies to track parameters at frequent intervals so trends can be plotted over them, reactions can be taken as needed, and improvements to actions previously taken can be modified.
It has been found that up to 48% of employees would quit their jobs due to poor organizational climate and culture. This reflects once more than measuring your company’s culture frequently provides you with vital data on how a great workforce and work environment can be retained.
If there’s one downside to a culture survey, it’s its broadness. Definitely, it’s not bad in itself because if every detail were captured in a culture survey, it would contain over a hundred questions. However, the noticed positives and negatives noticed in a culture survey help to kickstart another vital tool: a focus group.
If a particular area that needs improvement arises from any one of your surveys, it could help greatly to handpick individuals at various levels in your company for an hour or less to properly assess and improve on the problem.
All in all, measuring company culture is important for any organization that intends to achieve fast, actionable goals.
We’ve given a list of some of the most effective methods and tools that can be used to better understand your organizational culture. So right from engagement surveys down to pulse checks, all tools are important. Knowing when to use them is what makes all the difference. Utilized properly, you won’t only be able to effectively measure company culture, but you’ll also be able to steer it toward what your organization requires per time. For more information on how to infuse company culture measuring techniques, you can check here.