Company Culture: Where am I?
In our previous post, we explored what company culture is and how it affects your organization. Now, let’s explore what steps you can take to diagnose your culture.
Step 1: Identify your priorities
By now, you’ve decided that you want to improve your company culture. As the previous blog post illustrated, however, company culture is a broad area.
Imagine you were coaching someone who wanted to improve herself. Sure, she’d like to be more athletic, read more, learn three languages and get a better job, but you know that she will just end up running around in circles if she doesn’t narrow her scope.
Likewise, take your time to prioritize what you want out of your organization. Do you want to improve your rate of customer satisfaction? Do you want to decrease office turnover? Do you want to grow your in-house talent? Get a shortlist of objectives to start you off.
Step 2: Gather outside information
Once you have an idea as to what you want to improve, it’s time to get some perspective. Feedback is crucial to crafting a positive culture. Depending on what area of culture you want to focus on, you may need feedback from a variety of sources. Consider the following information sources in your search:
- Businesses in your supply chain
- Consultants and experts
While all the above can help with various areas of feedback, virtually all culture projects must engage
one audience in particular: your employees.
Employees are the eyes and ears that will give you perspective on areas of your business that you may never think of. Their day-to-day experience and the attitudes they have towards their work will invariably affect all aspects of your culture, so you will want to know what they are thinking.
But how do you make sure your feedback is useful? If a manager asks directly for feedback, employees may feel like they need to censor themselves or put a spin on their experiences. While an anonymous feedback system (something like a suggestion box) may give you that needed anonymity, you may also run into difficulty in crafting the right questions, as well as not having the ability to effectively follow up.
Consider looking for outside help. An HR consultant with experience in culture-building may be the answer to your needs. Not only will having an outside party provide you with a neutral perspective, but the right consultant will have the experience needed to get the right information.
Step 3: Compare & contrast
Now that you have all necessary feedback, compare your own assessment to those you have gathered. Where is the overlap? Where are the areas of disagreement? Did the respondents give you an important perspective you didn’t consider?
Use all this information to revisit your original vision. If necessary, revise your goals before. Keep in mind that the goals that you chose not to focus on don’t have to be abandoned altogether, they just aren’t what you’ll be starting your project with.
Step 4: Identify your assets
If you’re going to overhaul your company culture, it’s important to take stock of what you have. As stated above, you likely have access to an HR consultant in the area, but there are many other tools you have at your disposal. Consider:
- Enthusiastic employees who can serve as “champions” of your change
- Existing feedback systems and data that can help you along the way
- Regularly scheduled meetings in which you can initiate change
- Training and orientation materials that you can use to assist in change
As with your feedback sources, the tools you will take advantage of will vary depending on your budget and your goals. If you are looking to promote a customer care-focused culture, you may be willing to invest in LinkedIn learning courses geared towards client satisfaction. You may also have a selection of customer care veterans who are willing to mentor new hires.
In our next blog post, we will be looking at how to build a team and get your company focused on improving its culture.
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