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The Essential Guide On How To Measure Culture In A Company Successfully
Company culture is a determining factor for employee satisfaction, retention, and productiving. And since “what gets measured gets improved,” learning how to measure culture in a company is an important task.
Measuring culture in a company can be a difficult task. Companies have become increasingly more complex, with so many different workplace environments coming forward and the generational changes of the workforce. The workplace is changing at higher rates than we’ve seen in a long time, especially following the wild flexibility that was prompted by COVID lockdowns. This has left companies with one BIG question to answer…How do you measure company culture? And even more, how do you adjust the workplace to support your employees and raise satisfaction? Read on.
What Is Company Culture (And Why Is It Important?)
The culture of a company is one of the most important aspects to be aware of. In its most basic form, company culture is the set of values that make up a company and are widely shared throughout the workplace. It’s the determining factor for employee satisfaction, retention rates, productivity, and ultimately, company success. Learning how to measure workplace culture is essential, but it can be difficult to navigate, especially as a company grows.
Why Is Company Culture Difficult To Measure
Many companies rely on yearly surveys and questionnaires to assess how their employees are feeling about the workplace. The insight the company can receive from these heavily depends on how accurately their employees review the company…and self-reporting doesn’t have a great history of being overly accurate.
Many people won’t truthfully report their experience with the company this way, whether it’s due to their desire to be well-liked by their colleagues and bosses, a fear of being ‘found out’ if they report unfavorable results, or simply because they don’t think what they say will even matter. This leaves the results being skewed in a way that makes it difficult for the company to get an accurate representation of their workplace culture, therefore, making improving it nearly impossible.
So…Where do you start?
Important Factors For Measuring Company Culture
Consider these five components when measuring your company culture—they are great places to begin gathering your information.
How individuals communicate with each other is paramount to company culture, as it shapes the way they understand the information they are sharing with each other, and it also influences how they share that information. What may be even more telling about the company culture is how the different departments communicate with one another. All communication has a starting point, and if the individual departments of the company converse poorly with each other, the employees of each will follow suit, ultimately leading to a deterioration of communication altogether.
How people see themselves in a company has a great effect on the culture within. By hiring diversely, and assigning roles within the company in the same manner, you are ensuring you’re an equal opportunity employer, while also providing people the opportunity to see themselves as part of the company. This is a great way to show people how they would fit within the workplace, and display how high they can go with the company as well.
If your company culture greatly varies with each new assessment, then it’s essential that you reevaluate how you’re supporting the determining factors of your workplace culture. Every area of your company should be consistent in how they are encouraging their employees and the environments they’ve created for them, as well as how they maintain the changes they’ve implemented. View each sector of your business as a whole and not as separate areas of the company, so that they all run cohesively with one another.
A telling factor when measuring the culture is how your employees treat the company and respond to its values and demands. Often, when there is a lack of alignment with the values of the company, the employee fails to be a productive member and can often bring harm to the culture of the company as a whole. Evaluating how employees manage themselves at work, and the standards they hold for themselves can be an important factor when developing your strategies to shape the culture of your workplace.
Your management is the driving force for your employees, and ultimately they help determine how your employees view the workplace environment and the company itself. They are a direct reflection of what your company values, so it’s imperative that they have a great amount of respect for their role as a leader in the workplace, and understand the responsibility of upholding the company values.
How To Measure Company Culture Successfully
1. Define Your Company’s Ideal Culture
Know what you’re working towards. Decide what your company values are and publish them so they are easily accessible to anyone in your company, or anyone considering your company as a future employer. Consider asking questions like:
“What impact do we want this company to have on our employees and the people we serve?”
“What is our company mission, and how can we uphold that?”
2. Share Publicly Available Company Reviews
Think of sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. These sites not only allow for employees, both past and present, to rate and review the company anonymously, but it also allows people to rate how helpful the review was. Sites like these also list the ratings by category such as work-life balance and pay & benefits, among others. This can quickly tell you how people are experiencing your company.
Sites like these provide you with a greater possibility of honest feedback about their experience with the company, and often, people will include what they’d like to have seen from the company to rectify the situation. Not only are they telling you what’s lacking, but they’re even doing some of the legwork by directly sharing how it could be changed from an employee’s point of view.
3. Welcome, Encourage, And Utilize Employee Suggestions
Implement a way for employees to provide anonymous feedback, preferably through a third party with strict confidentiality rules to protect your employees while also encouraging more open, honest viewpoints. Consider offering them a way to regularly submit suggestions to upper management for consideration. Take this one step further, and regularly send out the top few options from those that you’d be able to implement, and allow your employees to vote on them. This gives everyone in the workplace a chance to be involved and help influence decisions. When people feel like they are genuinely a part of something, and get to be directly involved in the decisions being made, they are much more likely to have higher satisfaction rates and stay with the company for longer periods of time, boosting retention rates (and becoming even more desirable to newcomers!)
4. Review Financial Records
This may seem like an odd place to look for hints about the culture of a company, however, it can be quite revealing. These records will show you the rawest form of what a company values because a company will put money into its highest priorities first, and cut funding short for areas that hold less value.
Consider this: think about the last time you heard about a company giving big bonuses or salaries to CEOs that were wildly disproportionate to the rest of the company (or even went against their mission as a whole). When you learned about the rates these individuals made, how did you feel? Did it change how you viewed the company? Did it change how you interacted with that company? This is why financial records can be so telling. Where the money is going greatly impacts the culture of a company.
5. Review Annual Reports
By reviewing the annual reports of your company, you can gain some deep insight into your company culture almost immediately. These annual reports will show you the levels of productivity throughout the workplace, which are often a direct reflection of the culture within. Higher productivity rates, as well as the level of quality of work, will reinforce the positive culture you’ve created. However, if productivity is not where you would have expected or hoped it to be, then the culture of your company may need some improvement.
6. Measure The Culture Of The Workplace Regularly
This isn’t a one-time occurrence where you measure the satisfaction rates of your employees once and assume it’ll never change. There are a variety of things that will shift the culture of your company over time. Things like promotions, department shifts, new hires, and new procedures all have a vital role in influencing the company culture.
Make a schedule for measuring the culture of the company regularly, so you can adjust to any changes quickly and easily. Not only will this make the measuring process easier by having smaller amounts of data to go through each time, but it will also increase your company culture on its own because it shows your employees that you genuinely care about their experience in the workplace.
Measuring and maintaining a workplace culture that is individual to your company, and aligns with the values within, is essential for the successful growth of your company and the people that make it exceptional. Measuring the culture you’ve developed within your company can be a difficult task, but with the right resources and a genuine desire to provide a workplace that stands above the rest, you can most certainly elevate your company culture and maintain it for years to come.
Remember that this is an ongoing process and creating a workplace culture that people are thrilled to be a part of will skyrocket your company’s performance, increase retention, and cultivate success.