7 Ways to Assess Corporate Culture

Corporate culture can elevate or harm a business. Just like management pays attention to their human, energy, finance and physical resources, they should pay attention to and periodically assess corporate culture.

Culture can be defined as a set of values, beliefs and behaviours that guide how a company works and it differs from one company to the next. While one might have an Innovative culture, another might thrive under an employee-focused culture.

Culture informs not just how employees treat customers but how they treat each other. When a company has a positive culture, the benefits are numerous. For this reason, companies need to assess their culture, to check if it is where they want it to be and to adjust it if need be.

Here’s how to assess your corporate culture:

Define the culture you would like to have

To do this, start by defining the company’s values. Values, amongst other things, help to guide what a company wants to do. If your values are unclear, you can refine them to create values that will boost company culture.

Clear values help when it comes time to assess corporate culture because management can reference behaviours against set values.

Include employees in this assessment by including questions on culture in your monthly or yearly reviews.

Questions about how they are demonstrating the desired culture and values can be included along those ones about the performance of their work. Should there be a mismatch, a company has the opportunity to reevaluate their practices.

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Survey your employees

There are certain parts of culture that are not expressly defined. These things may just form and continue happening. For instance, employees may decide to contribute money to buy every teammate a gift for their birthday even if leadership has not told them to.  This can become part of the culture.

This is a positive example but there are negative habits that can also seep into the culture. There are also certain things that leadership would want to be part of culture but are perhaps being interpreted differently by staff. A culture assessment would help to get everyone on the same page.

Assess corporate culture by surveying employees. The responses you get will clearly show if the culture you have is the one you want to have. A specific question you might ask if you want to foster a culture of employee growth is: Do you feel that management provides enough support in the area of employee growth? Ask for examples and recommendations as well.

Look at your metrics

Assess corporate culture by looking at metrics from different departments. Examples include metrics on absenteeism, productivity and engagement. When these are high, there is a strong likelihood that corporate culture is positive.

Metrics across departments can also allow you to determine which departments are struggling and devise ways to support them. While culture should be company wide, you should make further investigations to learn if an execution of one aspect of the culture is not working for a section of your employees.

Get feedback from external stakeholders

Your external stakeholders such as customers, governing bodies and the general public can help you to check the pulse of your company culture.

Some of the feedback you get might be unsolicited, however organisations can take deliberate steps to seek feedback from customers. The feedback can lead you to reexamine and even make improvements that support the development of a positive corporate culture.

How prospective employees can assess corporate culture

Culture plays a role when it comes to recruitment. Employees are attracted to companies that have a culture that is positive. If you are researching a company before making the decision to work with them, an assessment of their corporate culture may help you to make a decision.

Do your homework

To assess the corporate culture of the company, do some research. Check out their website, read articles written about and by them.

Sometimes, the best way to get a read on the culture is to ask people who already work at the company. If there is no one you are comfortable asking, sites that rate employers such as Glassdoor will give you some insight into their corporate culture.

It is also important to have an awareness of your own preferences. Do you want to work in a fast paced company or are you looking for a more casual workplace? Look at the information you gathered and you will see if the culture will align with what you want.

Ask questions during the interview

The portion of the interview where a candidate gets to ask questions is another good way to assess corporate culture. To get a clear picture, ask for examples. A question like “ Can you share how employees are developed?” will let you know if it is a company that is committed to the growth of their staff.

Pay attention to how the interviewer responds and what they leave it. Sometimes what is not said is just as important as what is said and can be a good indicator of the culture at the company.

If you are given a walkthrough of the premises as part of the interview, take note of how people are dressed, how they interact and how they are seated. All this can help you assess the corporate culture of a company.

Look at their social media

Social media will give you a picture of a company’s culture. Unlike their website which has only information from the company itself, social media will have different voices. There will be communications from customers, clients, employees and others.

If you are interested in a company that is socially conscious, their social media activity will likely show this. You can also read up on those organisations they partner with for their CSR efforts to reveal more about the company’s corporate culture.

In Summary

Corporate culture is a topic of interest to both the internal and external stakeholders of a company. When it is positive, the benefits range from increased employee engagement to higher brand love. When it is not, toxic work environments and loss of productivity might be sighted.

The good news is that with deliberate steps, including periodic assessment, a company can make sure that its culture is positive and healthy.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.