8 Quick Ways to Measure Your Company Culture

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HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, February 6, 2023

Company culture may seem too nebulous to measure, but failing to take the temperature of your employees’ attitudes and motivation can be detrimental to business.

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8 Quick Ways to Measure Your Company Culture

Company culture shouldn’t be left to chance. Just like other areas of your business, it requires proper understanding and a strategy to ensure you’re moving it in the right direction. Measuring company culture is the first place to start. You need a baseline to begin from and then periodic monitoring to determine how much progress has been made.

Deciding on the methods and the metrics to achieve this can be daunting. After all, culture can seem a lot more nebulous than many of the clearly-defined facts and figures businesses deal in. Ways to measure workplace culture tap into your biggest resource - your employees - and it’s in their best interest to help make the process a success.

Techniques and tools to measure corporate culture

No two businesses are the same, and it’s important to look at the nuances of yours when deciding on the best way or ways to measure your workplace culture. Whichever approach you take, it’s an important step towards developing and maintaining a happy, healthy and motivated workforce.

1. Employee surveys

Distributing culture surveys to employees is one of the most straightforward methods of taking the temperature of your workforce. They can provide a benchmark from which to work and then track the progress of strengths and weaknesses over time. Consistently using the same metrics will ensure you build up a complete picture.

As well as including questions on engagement, communication, feedback and motivation, be sure to ask about the systems and processes that are in place too. These areas are often overlooked, but can have a profound impact on empowering staff and how work is carried out. If infrastructure is hindering company culture then you’ll want to know about it.

2. Staff focus groups

A useful tool to use in conjunction with culture surveys is the focus group. It’s an effective way to explore recurring issues that emerged in the questionnaires in more detail. Organizing effective focus groups requires planning and setting up parameters to ensure they don’t descend into chaos.

Things to think about in advance include:

  • Who should be involved in the focus group? Does the issue only affect certain departments or would having a cross-section of employees be useful?
  • What would be a manageable size for a group? Having multiple well-organized groups is better than a single unwieldy one.
  • Set a time limit for the groups and stick to it.
  • Emphasize the need for examples and behaviors to be shared, not opinions or rumors.

3. Exit interviews

The potential to gain honest information about company culture from an outgoing employee shouldn’t be overlooked. Issues in the work environment can have a direct impact on staff turnover, but even if it hasn’t contributed to the reason for leaving, they may feel more confident in speaking candidly about their experience once they’ve resigned.

Learn more: Employee Feedback: Can Exit Interviews Ever Be Honest?

Actionable insights gleaned from exit interviews can help to improve hiring decisions and personnel management going forward. If turnover is an issue at your business, this is an approach to measuring company culture you can’t afford to overlook. Nobody wants to hire and lose top talent.

4. Incentives and rewards

Implementing incentive and reward schemes can help to improve company culture, but they can also offer insight into the mindsets of employees. Are they recognizing each other’s achievements by putting co-workers forward for prizes and are innovation budgets being requested to drive new ideas at the company?

Embracing such schemes demonstrates staff are engaged with the business and associate their own success with that of the company. Curiosity and growth are important mindsets within company culture and demonstrate a desire to go beyond just picking up a paycheck.

5. Traditional metrics

Performance metrics, such as reduced customer complaints, improved quality scores and better business operations, give a glimpse into the motivation of employees. Healthy company culture is important as it facilitates the smooth running of the business and drives results.

This means honing operations and processes and achieving success can contribute to measuring culture. An empowered and agile workforce that achieves results is a good indicator of what’s going on behind the scenes.

6. Number of employee referrals

You wouldn’t recommend coming to work for your company if you thought the culture was below par and neither would your staff. Employees recommending your organization to others can act as a barometer of their satisfaction. Tracking this metric can be done formally or informally, depending on what works best for your business.

If you want to go down the formal route, then logging employee net promoter scores (eNPS) can be effective. Don’t just look at how likely recommendations are to be made, but also why. Logging both the good and bad will offer useful insight into your company culture.

7. People analytics tools

People analytics tools can be used to look at a variety of factors within your workplace. They will provide performance snapshots, information on turnover trends, chances of flight risk, and narrative insight into your entire organization.

Select tools that offer a dashboard to bring all these metrics together and have the functionality to produce reports and visualizations. Then you can sync this people data with your business data to establish how the two interact and the best ways to improve outcomes for all parties.

8. Anecdotes

Anecdotal feedback is an effective way of establishing patterns or themes within the workplace. All such instances should be properly documented and reviewed regularly by leadership to build up a picture of the corporate culture. They don’t have to be solely face-to-face anecdotes and can include social media posts or comments on sites such as Glassdoor.

If you find you don’t have much anecdotal evidence to go on, there’s a really simple exercise you can carry out with your employees. Ask them to complete the following sentence for you: I don’t know why [your company name] doesn’t just ____. The answers will be succinct, allowing you to identify key issues very quickly.

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