What is company culture?
Let us first look at the meaning of an organizational culture.
Do we interact formally or informally? How do we greet each other? Is it okay to contradict your supervisor? What are the working hours? All things that relate to culture, for example.
The culture is not immediately visible and is learned. Once this is established, all employees will behave accordingly. Of course, some people within the organization have a greater influence on the organizational culture than others due to their position or knowledge.
Example corporate cultures
We all know of an example of companies that ‘do it right’, that have committed employees and are customer-oriented: Amazon, Coolblue, Netflix, Google, Apple.
If we look at the culture of these companies, it quickly becomes clear that there are many similarities. There is often a strong focus on interpersonal relationships and on celebrating successes and employees have the freedom to decide for themselves how they want to make customers happy. The culture of these organizations is often characterized as follows:
- 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.
Exploring and changing organizational culture
Changing a company culture is not easy. Just as customer experience is part of the entire organization, culture also affects all departments and not just the Human Resources department. And because it is not immediately visible and it is in the DNA of employees, changing the culture is not easy.
Culture change requires a real understanding of the current corporate culture. The first step is therefore to investigate, map and make concrete. In this way you know where you stand and points for improvement become clear. It helps to find out what needs to be changed to get closer to your goal.
Mapping corporate culture, how do you approach that?
But how do you do that, map the company culture? Where do you start? It is important to enter into a dialogue with employees. Talk to them. What do employees think of customer focus? 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.
Contrast that with what you as an organization find important, where you want to go and what the goal is. By comparing this to the values, norms and behavior that your employees experience, a ‘gap’ is created and you identify points for improvement.
You can of course approach everyone personally or by sampling per department. But to get a complete picture, a feedback tool helps you to automatically investigate how employees experience the culture.
Do this on a regular basis and not just once. Staying in constant conversation is a must if you want to change the organizational culture. Regularly measure where you stand, analyze, improve and then measure again to find out whether the implemented points for improvement actually have an effect. A continuous process is a precondition for improving the corporate culture.
Five tips for measuring and improving culture
- Don’t reinvent the wheel . Companies spend a lot of time setting up culture studies. Opt for existing smart studies that have proven themselves. You can learn from this and it will save you a lot of time.
- Make it a continuous process and make the right decisions based on continuous insight into the company culture. This is only possible if you automate it. By continuously mapping the culture in an automated manner, you know at all times how your organization is doing and what possible areas for improvement are.
- Make it easy and fun for employees. Don’t present them with long questionnaires, but only a few questions at a time, and a mobile app, for example, makes it easier to answer questions, especially for employees who don’t sit in front of the computer all day.
- Carry on after insights gained . 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.
- Make sure your insights reports are always up to date with the latest data and insights about organizational culture. In the fast-paced world we live in today, you can 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 derived from the Service Excellence Model. This model includes nine organizational elements that describe the aspects of business operations that influence the delivery of exceptional customer experiences. One of these nine organizational elements is ‘culture’.
How does it work?
The eXperience Culture Scan asks employees for their opinion about the organizational culture. The scan is made up of 48 statements, grouped into 16 subcategories and four main categories.
The four main categories each address one aspect of the culture shared by global leaders in employee engagement and customer experience:
- 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’.
Examples of propositions
- Our employees share a strong personal bond with each other
- Our company makes optimal use of talents and creativity of employees
- In our company, the personality and talents of each individual count
Of course, it is not the intention that employees are presented with all the statements at once. You decide how often, for example once a week, and how many statements at a time. The software itself remembers who has answered which statements, so that after a few months you have a complete picture of the organizational 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 .