Masterclass: How to measure corporate culture

26 Mar 2020 By Justine James

Assessing your workplace culture will ensure you have the right environment for employees to thrive in, says Justine James 

Corporate culture is the values and belief system that guides ‘how we do things’ in an organisation, and measuring it is important for many reasons. 

But how long is a piece of string? It can be challenging to ascertain what you are measuring because organisational culture is difficult to quantify. Essentially it’s the workforce that makes a business a success, so ensuring you’ve got the right environment for people to be the best they can is really important. 

The benefits of measuring are twofold. It can outline positives and negatives, and provide clarity on what you’re doing well, what you could be doing that you aren’t already, and any damaging elements to your culture. Then you can talk authentically internally and externally to attract and retain the talent that will thrive in your culture.

If your organisation has already identified different aspects of the culture you would like to foster and measure, then you can hone in on those to determine what data sets to collect. If you are starting from a blank sheet, you will need to define what your culture is and create an employee value proposition (EVP), which underpins workplace culture. 

There are multiple ways to measure corporate culture. The most popular method tends to be pulse surveys or technology but there are a range of different, more personal approaches. You can organise drop-in sessions, which can be done anonymously – like a confession box – to tell you what is working, or not working. 

Another method, which also links into EVP and culture, is to have ‘thank yous’ or ‘recognitions’ for certain behaviours. It’s a good way to gather data over time to see whether the workforce is demonstrating the right behaviours and culture, and if any aspects are particularly valued and championed among your employees. 

Most companies fall into the trap of using off-the-shelf surveys to measure culture, but a bespoke approach will ultimately provide the most usable data: what works for one may not work for another. 

Measuring is the easy part, but the challenge is making those results resonate within the organisation and actually doing something with the findings. You need to have a clear action plan to use the data to push your culture forward, so employees can feel at their happiest and most authentic in the workplace.

Justine James is managing director of talentsmoothie 

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