How is your organization culture health?
Are there gaps between your organization’s existing culture, and the best practices of purposeful, positive, productive work cultures? How can you address those gaps, improve culture health and build an amazing work environment for employees, customers, and stakeholders?
The creation of a valid, reliable culture assessment is no small task. When we first built our culture assessment, we did an extensive literature review and meta-analysis of culture change research and of best practices around the globe. We continue that study regularly to ensure that our profile assesses the right cultural elements today. Our culture change clients tell us we’ve got it right.
Indicators of corporate culture health
Indicators of corporate culture health include the answers to these questions:
- How well does your current company culture support the desired performance as well as maintain consistent employee engagement?
- Are your customers pleased – maybe even thrilled – with the products and services you provide and how they are treated by your staff?
- Do current and potential employees believe your company is a great place to work?
- Do your customers deliver positive “word of mouth” about your company, your team members, and your products and services?
Most senior leaders are unaware of the powerful impact that culture health has on their organization’s performance and on employee engagement. An effective culture change process helps educate senior leaders about their responsibilities to proactively manage their company’s culture. Those activities include role modelling and reinforcing performance and values expectations, holding all staff accountable for those expectations, and refining those expectations over time as your market and opportunities evolve.
The culture health assessment
The items on our culture change assessment describe the best practices of high performance, values-aligned cultures. We use a six-point rating scale (an even-numbered scale prevents respondents from select a neutral, mid-point answer, which doesn’t provide you with actionable data):
- Strongly Disagree
- Slightly Disagree
- Slightly Agree
- Strongly Agree
We do not provide a response category titled “don’t know/doesn’t apply.” Why? Because all of these questions are relevant.
Samples from the culture health assessment
Here are a few sample items from our culture assessment for your consideration:
- Team members understand what it takes for our organization to be successful today.
- Individual team members’ personal purpose and values are aligned with our organization’s purpose and values.
- Team member performance plans include both ends goals (results) and means goals (valued behaviors).
- Declared team values are the foundation of team decisions and actions.
- Our work environment fosters trust among team members.
- At work, team members actively praise and encourage each other.
What is a “good” response to these items? We want to see scores at the 5-6 level for every item, across the organization, from frontline employees to senior leaders. That kind of alignment to these cultural best practices does not happen casually – it happens only with consistent focus by the senior leadership team and leaders across the organization.
Culture health workshop
As part of the two-day process kickoff workshop for the organization’s senior leadership team, we typically complete two different culture assessments as pre-work and analyze the results together during the session:
- The first context is of the senior leader and his/her direct reports ranking their executive team. In previous posts here I’ve stated the vital importance of an aligned senior leadership team that proactively manages their company culture with “one heart, one mind, one voice.” This data helps the senior leadership team understand what gaps exist today and enables action planning to close those gaps across this team.
- The second context is from the “frontline,” assessing how employees rank the organization on these key questionnaire items. This “overall” perspective is important as it helps the senior leadership team understand culture gaps perceived by their “first customers” – their employees – and begin action planning to address those gaps.
S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He shares insights on organizational culture, servant leadership, employee engagement, and workplace inspiration.
He writes books and articles and records podcasts.
In his free time, he’s a working musician with the Brian Raine band in Denver, CO.