What is the company culture?

Let’s have a look at the meaning of a company culture first.

Definition: Company culture

A company’s culture is a combination of values, norms, and behaviors that are shared by all employees within the organization. They are unwritten rules. Do we address each other formally or informally? How do we greet? Is it okay to contradict a manager? What are the working hours? All matters relating to culture.

The culture is not immediately visible and is learned. Once it is established, all employees will behave accordingly. It goes without saying that some people within the organization have a greater influence on the company culture because of their position or knowledge.

Company culture examples

We all know examples of organizations that have managed to distinguish themselves from the competition by ‘getting it right’, the global frontrunners in the area of employee engagement and customer experience: Amazon, Coolblue, Netflix, Google, Apple.


When looking at these companies’ culture, it quickly becomes clear that similarity can be found in cultural aspects. Often there is a strong focus on interpersonal relationships and on celebrating successes. Employees have the freedom to act on their own behalf when it comes to making customers happy. These types of company culture are often characterized as:

  • Customer-oriented, honest and open, attentive and surprising;
  • Open to each other, caring, personal;
  • Learning and growing is made possible;
  • Flat organisations, little hierarchy, a lot of individual responsibility.

To map and change a company culture

Changing corporate culture is not easy. Just like customer experience, this is something that concerns the entire organization. Culture impacts all departments, and not just the Human Resources department. And since it’s not immediately visible and it’s in the DNA of employees, it isn’t easy to change the culture.

Culture change requires a real understanding of today’s corporate culture. The first step is to examine it, map it out, and make it tangible. Improvements become visible and it helps to identify what needs to be changed in order to get closer to your goal.

Mapping corporate culture, how do you approach that?

But how to map the corporate culture? Where do you start? It is important to start a dialogue with employees. Talk to them. What do they think about customer orientation? Are they listening to each other? How is the hierarchy experienced? In this way, you find out what the values and norms are and how people behave.

Set against that what you find important as an organization, where you want to go and what the goal is. By comparing this with the values, norms, and behaviors your employees experience, you create a ‘gap’ and identify areas for improvement.

Automatic mapping

You can of course talk to everyone personally or randomly per department. But to get a complete picture, a feedback tool helps you to automatically measure how employees experience the culture.

Do this on a regular basis and not just once. A continuous conversation is a must if you want to change the company culture. Regularly measure the actual situation, analyze, improve, and then measure again to find out whether the implemented improvements have an effect. A continuous process is a prerequisite for being able to improve the company culture.

Five tips for measuring and improving company culture

  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Companies spend a lot of time setting up cultural research methods. Choose existing programs that have proven themselves already. It will save you a lot of time and you can learn from them.
  2. Make it a continuous process and make the right decisions based on continuous insight into the corporate culture. This is only possible if you automate it. By continuously mapping out the culture in an automated way, you know at any moment how your organization is doing and where to improve.
  3. Make it easy and fun. Don’t serve employees long questionnaires, just a few questions at a time. With, for example, a mobile app, it becomes easier to answer questions, especially for employees who don’t sit at the computer all day.
  4. Keep going after obtained insights. Make sure that it is clear at a glance on which points you score well as an organization and where there are areas for improvement. Based on this information, you can implement structural improvements at a strategic, operational, and individual level.
  5. Make sure your reports with insights into the company culture are always up to date with the latest data and insights. In the fast-paced world in which we live today, you no longer get away with outdated data.

Sample questionnaire Culture Scan

An example of asking employees how they experience the company culture is the eXperience Culture Scan, one of the Voice of Employees programs from CYS.


The eXperience Culture Scan is based on the Service Excellence Model. This model is comprised of nine organizational elements that describe the aspects of business operations that influence provision of play a major role in delivering an exceptional customer experience. One of these nine organizational elements is a company’s ‘culture’.

How does it work?

The eXperience Culture Scan asks your employees how they see their company’s culture. There are 48 company culture survey questions, grouped into 16 subcategories and four main categories. The four main categories each relate to one aspect of the culture, which global leaders in the field of employee engagement and customer experience have in common:

  • We value our customers
  • We appreciate each other
  • We value learning and growing
  • We value leadership

By asking employees to what extent they agree with the statements, you get an idea of how far the organization is from the ‘ideal corporate culture’.

Main cultural areas

Examples of propositions

  1. Our employees share a strong personal bond with each other
  2. Our company makes optimal use of talents and creativity of employees
  3. In our company, the personality and talents of each individual count

Of course, we don’t expect you to ask your employees all these statements in one go. You decide for yourself how often, for example once a week, and how many statements at a time. The software remembers who has answered which statements so that after a few months you have a complete picture of the company culture and where there is room for improvement.


In this blog you have been able to read what a company culture is, how you can map it and tips for improving it. Would you like advice on mapping out your company culture? Then schedule a free consultation.

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