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6 Listening Strategies to Measure Company Culture

2 Aug 2019 - Blog

If you want to improve or change your company culture, you need to begin by measuring it and tracking it over time. This is how you can reliably measure company culture.

According to Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe culture to be critical to company success. Furthermore, when companies have a strong company culture, they inspire more confidence and engagement in their workforce. Despite this, only 19% of executives believe their company has the “right” culture — and 20% of employees believe their companies don’t assess company culture at all.

At People Insight, we work with companies daily to improve their employee experience and the company culture that will help them to achieve their business objectives.

Given the importance of culture and purpose to attracting and holding onto talented staff, It’s necessary to establish what the employee experience is really like, how engaged employees are and what the company’s values are perceived to be vs. the desired culture model. By getting to grips with — and measuring — the company’s existing culture, we can help them achieve cultural consistency and alignment between values, behaviour and culture.

So what are the best listening strategies and methods your company can employ to measure company culture? In our recent Culture in Financial Services report, we discussed six ways companies can measure their company culture. Remember — measurement and cultural assessment shouldn’t be a one-off occurrence. It should be an ongoing and comprehensive listening strategy to ensure you are involving your people, understanding what they need and adapting to these needs. 

1. Continuous Candidate, Joiners and Leavers Surveys

When discussing culture and how to measure it, it’s best to start at the beginning — with your interview candidates and recent recruits. Surveying new and prospective employees helps you to understand how your brand, culture and values are perceived by those not overly familiar with your company. It also sheds light on the fairness and efficiency of your current recruitment process, as well as perceptions of your hiring managers. Most importantly, this listening strategy provides a metric for how your culture is actually perceived, vs. how you would desire – a metric you can track not just at the beginning of the employee journey, but right the way through.

The more insightful data you collect, the better equipped you are to improve your recruitment and onboarding processes and make them more streamlined and conducive to great performance. Collecting data over time also reveals trends in employee engagement so that you can draw conclusions based on other notable changes within your company or to its processes.

Similarly, leavers surveys allow you to determine why employees have decided to hand in their notice or why they became disengaged with your company and its values. Again, this is powerful when compared to data from earlier in the employer journey, shedding insights about the point at which engagement may fall.  

2. Employee Surveys

At People Insight, we have created a robust employee engagement model based on client research and expansive literature reviews. This information allowed us to design the PEARL™ model. PEARL provides our clients with a well-benchmarked employee engagement score that shows business leaders how happy employees are with various aspects of their organisation. The model analyses a company’s sense of Purpose, how Enabled they are to do their job well, their level of Autonomy, how content they are with Recognition and reward — and their attitudes towards Leadership.

Employee engagement surveys can provide valuable data that accurately reflects the company’s culture when designed with this purpose. Such surveys also reveal the commitment and morale of employees and how aligned they are with your company’s values.

3.  Pulse Surveys to Check in on Key Action Areas

An employee pulse survey is a frequent and fast listening strategy. It has a shorter question set that employees answer as often as you can act; be it monthly, quarterly, or whatever suits you best. 

Pulse surveys allow companies to see quickly how any changes they have implemented have landed. They also help managers understand how organisational changes — whether big or small — have affected the culture and the employee experience, including employee engagement, motivation and morale. 

4. 360 Feedback Aligned to Values-Based Behaviours

360 feedback can allow individuals ( leaders, managers or employees) to see how well they align to the values and behaviours supporting the organisation’s culture. At People Insight, we encourage the use of 360 feedback to increase self-awareness, promote dialogue and develop working relationships. 

Using a tailored approach to 360 feedback, you can learn how people within your company engage and communicate with each other. You’ll also discover how supportive employees are of one another and whether there are any toxic elements you need to address and root out.

5.  Listening Posts: Internal (Face to Face or Virtual) Focus Groups to Deep Dive and Crowdsource Actions

After conducting an employee engagement survey, it is worth progressing with an employee focus group to really deep dive into pressing issues and crowdsource opinions for improvement. Such a meeting can validate and clarify the results of the employee survey. It can also unearth the root causes of certain issues and provide deeper, valuable insights into how managers and business leaders can improve the company culture and offer more support to employees.

Focus groups allow employees to contribute to the discussion and to be heard. Be sure to let employees know there will be no penalty for expressing their thoughts or feelings during this focus group and always take action following a listening post.  Otherwise, employees will believe this is an activity your company periodically carries out and simply pays lip service to.

Of course, its not just after a survey that you might do this. At TSB, listening groups allow employees to:

  • Discuss current business topics and report their insights to the exec & board
  • Have open conversations with leaders during a change initiative about their experience of the change
  • Share ideas about how to shape changes locally in their teams

6. Social Media Scanning

When considering listening strategies and tools to measure and assess company culture, social media activity and interaction may not have been top of your list. However, it’s a useful consideration. Social media scanning can tell you a lot about how aligned your employees are with your values, how excited they are about their work and how enthusiastic they are about the company’s mission. 

Ideally, you want your employees to live and breathe your company culture. You want them to become ambassadors and spread the word across social media. If your company has an active and enthusiastic social media presence, it is more likely to develop an enticing reputation for prospective hires. Employees who are engaged in the office and on social media will spread the word and help your company to find hires that are great cultural matches for your organisation.

Read more about how we have helped companies revolutionise and enhance their company cultures through a well developed listening strategy by viewing our case studies

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