4 Areas to Assess Your Company Culture

4 Areas to Assess Your Company Culture
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Should You Assess Your Company Culture?
We think you that should assess your company culture if you are not performing at your peak or if you are undergoing shifts in strategy, leadership, or people.

Just Like Everyone Has a Personality, Every Company Has a Culture
Personality is a conglomeration of characteristics or traits — the way individuals think, feel and behave. For example, some people are naturally sociable and friendly; others, as in the cartoon, are anti-social and irritable.

In an organization, corporate culture is the way employees think, feel, and work. Corporate culture is how things get done.  A company’s “personality” or culture includes the values and assumptions that influence key business practices and behaviors. Culture is often best exemplified in company leaders and in who they choose to hire, fire, and promote.

Workplace Culture Matters
No longer just a nice-to-have, corporate culture has become integral to a company’s success. When your culture aligns with your business strategy and when you hire talent that fits with your desired culture, you will outperform your peers.  In fact,

  • Recent research from Harvard Business School found that an effective culture can be the reason for up to half of the difference in performance between organizations in the same business.
  • Our own organizational alignment research found that cultural factors account for 40% of the difference between high and low performance in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, and employee engagement.

How to Assess Your Company Culture
If corporate culture is so important, we should have some way to measure it. Only then can we know how well positioned we are in the marketplace vis-à-vis the competition. To assess the viability of your culture, we offer four aspects of culture that lend themselves to a system of metrics:

  1. How Aligned Are Your Strategic Drivers?
    The foundation of every company strategy is the alignment of its vision, mission, and values. We call these three important components “strategic drivers.”

    We define vision as what the company hopes to become – the business it will be in tomorrow.  Effective vision statements focus on unique, inspiring, challenging, motivating, and memorable future possibilities.

    Powerful mission statements lay out the organization’s business and fundamental purpose in a manner that is short, believable, relevant and achievable.

    Meaningful corporate values describe your fundamental beliefs that guide your most important decisions and actions.

    If you want to get a sense of your corporate culture, start by determining if employees understand, believe in, and are committed to your vision, mission and values. Check around and ask your employees from one end of the enterprise to the other. If there are gaps, there will also be holes in the culture you are trying to create.

  2. How Well Do Employees Communicate within and Across Teams?
    Our organizational alignment research pinpointed information flow and transparency as one of the top five factors in creating higher performance.  An open culture is distinguished by the ease and flow of moving ideas and suggestions from one employee to the one who can evaluate and implement them.

    Check to see that there are no barriers to formal and informal channels of communication and a culture of collaboration.

    Are your employees be able to send, receive, and understand information and innovative thoughts freely?

  3. How Agile Are You When Change Is Needed?
    Market responsiveness was the most influential alignment factor and change agility, how well leaders and employees respond to key changes required to remain competitive, as the third most important cultural factor for high growth companies.

    Stay on top of what is happening on the front lines. Seek feedback from employees on what they observe of the competition so you are not caught flatfooted when you need to make shifts in product mix, sales approach, or resource allocation.

    How well do your employees respond to change?

  4. How Accountable Are Employees for Their Performance?
    Every employee should clearly understand what is expected of them in their job and how their success and failure will be measured — accountability. Then it is up to management to see that performance standards are clear, transparent, fair, timely, accurate, and maintained.

    For those who excel, see that suitable recognition and rewards are given.  And by the same token, for employees who perform below expectations, see that there are consequences. When performance accountability is high, people know where they stand, are clear about where they need to go and know what they need to avoid.

    Do your people know where they stand?

The Bottom Line
Strong cultures help companies perform.  Assess your company culture regularly and keep track of how your culture is developing because it matters.

if you want to see if your culture is aligned with your strategy, download Do You Have The High Performance Culture Required to Drive Your Strategy Forward?

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