Earlier this year we hosted a webinar on measuring and improving Employee Engagement. Afterwards, we got a lot of questions about mapping and changing the company culture. That's the reason why we created a blog on this topic, explaining how to gain insight into an organization's culture and how to translate these insights into improvements.
Watch the webinar on measuring and improving employee engagement here.
What is company culture
Let's have a look at the meaning of a company culture first.
A company's culture is a combination of values, norms, and behaviors that are shared by all employees within the organization. They are actually 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.
Company culture examples
We all know examples of organizations that have managed to distinguish themselves from the competition by ‘getting it right’, the global front runners 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 the 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 take action on their own behalf when it comes to making customers happy.
These types of company culture are often characterized as:
- customer-focused, honest and open, attentive and surprising;
- open to each other, caring, personal;
- learning and growing is encouraged;
- flat organizations, little hierarchy, a lot of individual responsibility.
To map and change a company culture
Changing a 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 do 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.
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 actually have an effect. A continuous process is a prerequisite for being able to improve the company culture.
Five tips for measuring and improving the culture
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Keep going after obtained insights. Make sure it is clear at a glance on which points your organization scores well, and what the points of improvement are. Based on this information, you can implement points of improvement in a strategic and structural manner, on an operational and individual level.
- Make sure your reports 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.
Culture Scan survey example
An example to ask employees how they experience the company culture is the eXperience Culture Scan, one of CYS' Voice of Employees programs.
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 value each other
- We value learning and growing
- We value leadership
By asking to what extent employees agree with the statements, you get a complete picture of how far the organization is from the 'ideal corporate culture'.
Examples of statements
- Our employees share a strong personal connection with each other
- Our company makes the most of the talents and creativity of its employees
- In this company, the personality and talents of each individual matter.
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.
Employee Energy Pulse
How are you?
The eXperience Culture Scan maps out how employees see the organization. It is an employee survey about company culture. You can use the Employee Energy Pulse (EEP) to map out how the employees themselves are doing. EEP measures the energy balance of employees: what does and what doesn’t give them energy and why? Hereby, the focus lies on the factors that intrinsically motivate the employees. By combining these two, you get an even more complete picture.
This blog learned you all about a company culture, what it is, how to measure it and tips on how to improve. Would you like advice on mapping out your corporate culture? Feel free to schedule your consultation here.