Assessing Your Organization’s Culture

You want to attract, retain and engage the best talent that your company needs to excel. Besides being a tall order in and of itself, one thing that can stymie the entire process is when your organizational has a less than stellar organizational culture. This can be a hard thing for candidates to assess without yet having the experience of being an employee. Unfortunately, this can easily result in new hires leaving the job once they realize just what the culture really is, and deciding it’s simply not a good fit for them.

whatdoyouknowaboutculture

This begs the question – what do you really know about your organization’s culture? You might have a very general sense that it either is or isn’t a great place to work, or that it has its good points as well as areas that need improvement. But really nailing down your knowledge of this is a crucial piece of hiring and retaining great talent. Without knowing the ins and outs of your company’s culture, how else can you assess whether or not a candidate is a good fit? How else can you come up with an action plan for addressing culture problems that stand in the way of retaining top talent?

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A great first step in assessing your organization’s culture is to take a reflective look at its mission, purpose, values and vision statements. The often contain hidden clues about company culture if you read a little bit between the lines. Follow that up with talking to several managers and employees about these statements to find out if your reflections are on track.

Then take a look around your company’s physical presence. How people dress can be a powerful indicator of the attitudes and beliefs they hold about this workplace. Pay attention to how people interact with each other, and how they react and interact around stressful situations. Also see what you can learn about culture in the company’s advertising – the route by which it initiates contact with potential customers.

Another way to go about assessing your organization’s culture is to ask questions about it to the people who work there on a day-to-day basis. If your organization conducts any kind of annual employee survey, consider adding a bank of questions to it that cover cultural indicators. Some good topics to consider include the following:

  • The Company is a good community neighbor
  • The Company is a good steward of the environment and protects natural resources
  • The Company measures success of culture change initiatives through the Employee Opinion survey
  • The Company culture promotes employees to stay within the organization
  • The Company supports honest two-way communication between Managers and Employees
  • I have a sense of security in my job
  • The Company new employee orientation includes information about our culture
  • Employees at the Company regularly share and exchange ideas
  • Open and honest communication is an important part of the culture at the Company
  • Employees are valued as an asset to the Company
  • Employees are free to express their concerns and complaints
  • Employees are generally friendly and willing to help you if needed
  • Employees work hard to accomplish goals and objectives
  • Management at the Company is competent and ethical
  • Managers foster an organizational culture that promotes learning and creativity
  • The Company respects my dignity and recognizes my contributions
  • Others treat me with respect at work
  • The Company fosters an environment where diverse individuals can work together effectively
  • The organizational culture at the Company enhances teamwork
  • Our culture encourages high performance and process improvement
  • Our culture promotes a balance between work and family life.

The survey items listed above were gleaned from the HR-Survey.com website’s corporate culture section, and represent a great start to delving deeper into understanding your company’s culture. Combine those efforts with your examination of the company’s vision and mission statements and what you observe as outlined above and you’ll be well on your way to knowing a whole lot more about your organizational culture.

December 18, 2014   Updated :March 20, 2015   corporate culture, employee engagement, organizational culture, retention, talent management   

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