The first question, really, is why would you want to measure your culture? Doesn’t it just evolve and trail the organisation as a reflection of the work you do and the industry in which you operate?
We believe that culture has a strong influence on profitability. The reason for measurement is to control it and ensure it works to support your interests.
Culture can be deliberately controlled, and it does have an effect on profitability that can be positive or negative.
Like a garden that grows wild if left untended, your company culture can fail to deliver the required boost to performance if you leave it to evolve without measuring it, changing it and measuring again – the essence of control.
The question then becomes, what do you measure your culture against?
Culture can be measured through gauging employees’ responses to a range of questions exploring their values, their expectations and behaviour at work. Changes in responses to a standardised test instrument can be measured over time, showing you how your culture is evolving. Proxy measurements like client satisfaction and productivity can also be measured and compared in different time periods.
But without a reference point to evaluate change towards or away from a targeted ideal culture, such measurement offers little value.
In our view, whole company culture should be measured against the cultural values, beliefs and behavioural expectations of the senior team.
We measure culture at two levels, and then conduct an analysis between the two measurements to derive recommendations for action.
First, we interview the senior management team (and, depending on the size of your company, other levels of management as well). Based on those interviews, we modify our cultural assessment tool (or CAT) to capture the expressed values of the team along with a standardised value set we have developed from our experience.
In a second pass, we capture a snapshot of the senior team’s cultural beliefs, assumptions and related behaviours with the CAT. This becomes the reference point for alignment within the rest of the company.
Then we take the same tool and apply it to the employee body, or a sufficient representative sample.
We analyse difference between the two measurements to determine if action is required to address gaps, and we make recommendations where necessary, supported by the evidence at hand.
Our recommendations are presented in a written report and an interactive workshop.
Endorsed recommendations are costed, if necessary, and assigned for action to relevant team members with a requirement to report back to the senior team on their implementation. Policy changes are announced to the whole company where they are relevant and we can assist in their communication. Other communications to build employee trust and engagement are also executed.
Changes are allowed time to bed in before the CAT is tested again – no earlier than six months later. Changes between the first and second assessments are noted and actions are repeated, modified or dropped to influence cultural alignment with the senior team’s cultural reference point.
The process can be repeated indefinitely, to ensure a continually evolving culture that is matched to the business plan and reflects the values of the leadership team and equity stakeholders.
The benefits of a positively-aligned culture are significant. To measure and influence your company culture, call us on 1300 36 20 27 or fill in this form.