How To Know If Your Company Culture Needs Fixing
Company culture can often feel too subjective for leaders, making it difficult to measure whether you’ve crossed any sort of threshold of overall “good” or overall “bad” internal company culture. And what makes it even more complicated is that there are so many things that impact any company’s culture – from the people, the environment, the “vibes”- where do you even start if you wanted to change something about your culture?
While we can’t provide an easy answer to that, here is a list of introspective question that can help you self-assess your current company culture. Going through this exercise can help you find out which side of the line of good or bad you’re on – and what you can do to start improving.
Evaluating the current state
Answer the following questions honestly with a true or false response:
- Most employees who leave the organization end up leaving for reasons unrelated to their work environment, such as retirement, higher education, or personal obligations (decided to stay home with a new baby, decision to move to a new geography or had to care for an aging parent, for example).
- Every employee is provided opportunities to learn and grow, both within the scope of their role and also for their long-term career trajectory (tuition reimbursement, CME reimbursement, company provided development courses, etc).
- The organization takes documented and prompt action to correct both verbal and nonverbal disrespect, hostility, gossip, maliciousness, and other negative behaviors between staff members.
- People are waiting in line to join the organization. In other words..time-to-fill on most open positions is low and some positions are even filled with top talent from industry competitors.
- Some of the organization’s most successful initiatives in the past year came from employees below manager level.
- Most of the time, over half of the staff attends after-work events (such as socials, picnics, holiday parties, etc.) when attendance is optional.
- Everybody has a clear job description, and every job description provides guidance on both core responsibilities and level of autonomy; employees know which decisions they can make independently and which decisions should be escalated.
- Qualified internal candidates are given preference over external candidates when management positions become available.
- There are usually or always internal candidates for open positions above entry level in the organization.
- The company mission and vision exemplifies itself in everyday business, from how people communicate on a regular basis to how the company approaches decision-making across different departments and how the organization impacts others in the community.
- Employees who aren’t carrying out or accurately reflecting the mission or vision are coached and given clear expectations.
- The work employees do is meaningful; employees feel proud of the work they do and the impact it has on their community and their world.
- When one employee is in need (facing illness, financial troubles, etc.), his or her coworkers step up to help out.
- Most performance issues are resolved between an employee and his or her direct supervisor.
Diagnosing company culture
Count the number of times you answered true and the number of times you answered false. If you answered true 11 times or more, your company is in great shape! If you answered true less than 11 times, your company culture might need a closer look or even an overhaul.
Taking the next step
If the self-assessment above helped you recognize that your company culture is in great shape, then your focus is on maintenance and filling in the gaps. First, identify the areas that need the quickest attention by honing in on your “false” responses. Then, ask yourself which initiatives have led to your success and create a plan for maintenance, taking into consideration that the values of today’s graduates are evolving and changing and may require adaptation and adjustment to the strategy.
If the self-assessment helped you recognize that your company culture needs help or even a complete overhaul, avoid getting overwhelmed by starting with one component of engagement at a time. Develop a strategy that answers to all of the most important aspects of engagement through small, scheduled steps over a 12-36 month period.
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