Tracking the development of your culture is as important as the initial identification of what you want it to be.
Your company may well have a stated mission and set of values to which people are expected to direct their energies. These things should support not just your internal culture; your ultimate business success is fueled in part by the strong culture you seek. Individual departments in your company may even have their own values as they look to develop their team cultures.
But, how strong is your culture? Is it just a few signs or placards with empty words on them or is it actually embodied within your employees? How can you tell the difference?
Objective measurement matters
Just like with any initiative you undertake, measuring the progress of your culture is important. If you haven’t stopped to do this in a while, maybe now is the time to take a current pulse. While company culture is not tangible, it is measurable. The metrics by which you track your culture will depend in large part upon the values that you wish your culture to map to.
For example, if you want to provide a positive work-life balance, you might choose to track how many of your employees routinely work or answer emails at night, on the weekend or while on vacation. If you are trying to promote a culture of well-being, keep an eye on how many people sign up for your company-sponsored lunchtime yoga class. Look at each one of your core values and track at least one objective metric by which you can gauge your progress or need for improvement.
Include employee perceptions
While you obviously want some objective points of measurement, it would be remiss to ignore the more subjective element of employee opinions or perceptions. If nothing else, what your employees think—or tell you they think—of your culture can be valuable feedback as to the effectiveness of your efforts.
When asking people for their views on your culture and your values, you could also test their factual knowledge on those values. Are they able to identify at least one or two of the values without choosing from a list? The more they instinctively know your values, the more likely they are to be able to help bring them to life.
Shared beliefs, consistent behavior
Because culture is about so much more than a bunch of words on walls, it’s important to see how people actually behave. The shared attitudes and values that are part of your vision should be manifested in how people approach their jobs and work together. It should also be manifested in how you structure your teams. For example, if a collaborative atmosphere is important to you, assign responsibilities such that teamwork is required in order to achieve goals and complete projects.
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do is to regularly monitor your culture to avoid problems from developing and spiraling out of control. You can even let our two-part series on culture guide you:
- E-Book for HR Professionals: 4 Steps to Culture Strategy & Implementation
- E-Book for Managers: 10 Steps to Creating a Company Culture That Shines