Measure Your Company Culture With These 7 Insightful Questions

4 min read
Jul 2, 2015

Measure Your Company Culture With These 7 Questions by TINYpulseMore and more, job candidates are choosing a company because of its culture rather than its promised paycheck — and it’s not just a fad. Your company culture has to hold water and stand the test of time. If not, it could be costing you lots of money.

According to Columbia University and TINYpulse:

  • Companies with a rich culture show job turnover at 13.9%

  • Companies with poor culture have a turnover rate of 48.4%

  • 64% of all employees do not feel they have a strong work culture

Company culture has a direct correlation to company success. But how do you know if you have a rich, thriving company culture? To start, ask yourself these seven questions.

#1. Is Our Office Environment Comfortable?

Let’s start with the basics. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, before we as humans can be innovative and creative, we have to satisfy our basic physiological and safety needs. We need air, food, and water. We need to feel safe from threats. This seems obvious, but take inspiration here, leaders. Set up a comfortable working environment with a coffee maker, water fountain, supportive chair, enough desk space. Don’t crowd people in or the safety risk will kick in in our brains.

This doesn’t mean you have to have space-level ergonomic chairs and an in-office waterfall. Just treat your employees right in a space they can feel comfortable getting down to work.

#2. Is My Communication Effective?

The best way to find out if your communication is effective is to ask. Embed feedback into your company culture. Ensure all of your employees feel like they are being heard, and that they are being communicated to clearly. Communication has proven to be a real issue at many companies, leading to poor employee engagement.

According to Gallup:

  • Engagement is highest among employees who have some form of daily communication with their managers

  • Engaged employees report their manager returns their messages within 24 hours

  • 65% of employees who don't feel they can approach their manager with any type of question are actively disengaged

One way to overcome the hurdle of employees being able to approach managers is with an anonymous feedback system. Weekly or even bi-weekly, employees can complete a short survey about job satisfaction, happiness, and anything else the company wants to measure.

#3. How Can I Help My Employees’ Wellness?

This is everything from encouraging a work-life balance that diminishes stress to paying for a comprehensive medical care plan. Think about both physical and mental well-being. You don’t have to have a gym on site — but it definitely wouldn’t hurt. Think about rebates for local gyms, having yoga classes on site even if they’re just taught by another employee, and offering paid half days for employees to visit the doctor. Happy, healthy employees are productive employees, and that’s good for everyone.

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#4. Are My Employees Aligned With Company Values?

This step can start in the hiring process. Recruiting and hiring should focus not only on whether the candidate can literally get the job done, but whether they’re a match culturally and values-wise. Your company culture means nothing if your employees don’t live it. Be sure to clearly communicate the company values — and do it often. Hang them up in the office and always pull the core values back in to every discussion about how the company is doing.

Employees who live and breathe your company culture become ambassadors spreading the message across social media and other venues. They help you find other great cultural matches for open positions. And ensuring that your employees are on board with the company values starts from the leader and trickles down.

#5. How Am I Recognizing My Employees?

Actually, we can even step back: Am I recognizing my employees? If the answer is no, this is the first thing to fix. Employee recognition programs are crucial to a thriving culture.

According to SHRM/Globoforce and Psychometrics:

  • Companies with employee recognition programs have workers that report 28.6% lower frustration levels and 48% higher engagement levels

  • When asked what management could do to improve engagement, 58% of employees said “give recognition”

Even more effective is an employee recognition program that aligns with your company values. It’s important to be specific so employees know exactly what they’re being rewarded for. So it's probably best to abandon the meaningless “employee of the month” label. Instead, reward employees who have truly lived by a company core value with their work on a specific project or a particularly helpful customer service experience.

And you can be clever with awards; they don’t all have to be cash. Instead, think outside the box and offer a paid day off, a massage, a trip to a play, or even send a cleaning service to their house.

#6. Am I Limiting My Employees?

Many employees, particularly millennials, report having an entrepreneurial spirit. According to Creative Live, 60% of millennials put themselves in that camp. Instead of squashing it, foster it. Build in opportunities for innovation and creativity. Adobe has made a name for itself with its Kickbox project, an open-source program where employees can run experiments to come up with ideas for helping the company. Google came up with the 20% program, where 20% of an employee’s time is left for more creative “passion projects.”

#7. Am I Encouraging Collaboration and Friendships?

You might think that workplace friendships are a distraction, but you’re not seeing the whole picture. According to Globoforce, 89% of workers say work relationships matter to quality of life. And you as a leader should always be prioritizing employee quality of life. Sponsor weekly or monthly group lunches and take the team outside of the office once in awhile for bonding — even if it’s just a backyard cookout at your home. Your employees don’t have to be best friends forever, but positive work relationships are an excellent step toward a vibrant culture.

If you want to have a thriving organizational culture, all you have to do is ask yourself the right questions.



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