When you think about auditing, culture is probably not something that immediately comes to mind. But, at its essence, auditing is about taking an unbiased snapshot of an account or organization’s current state. Because a great corporate culture benefits your company, it makes sense to regularly assess its health.
To audit your culture, we suggest looking at a few key areas: company identity, employee satisfaction and engagement, and the hiring process. Great cultures must be nourished, grown, and constantly improved. Assessing your company’s culture in its current state is the first step.
Who Are You?
As a leader in an organization, core values are your bread and butter. These values not only give your business an identity, but they also make it easier for employees to understand the overall mission of the company as well as the type of environment you’re trying to build.
Core values aren’t new. In fact, most companies already have them. But being diligent and evaluating your values and how they relate to your current corporate culture is critical. If asked, could your employees recite your values? Do you reward members of your team who go above and beyond in living these values? Core values are the heartbeat of your culture, and making sure employees not only know these values but also find them relevant and inspiring will help you build a great culture.
Additionally, your workplace environment should mirror your core values. If you claim to be collaborative but everyone sits in cubicles, getting employee buy-in will be tough. Evaluate your space. What does it say about your company? If you’re going to talk the talk, you’d better walk the walk.
Employee satisfaction is extremely important because it moves in tandem with culture. As one rises, the other does, too.
You can measure and monitor employee satisfaction in a few different ways. The first technique is by using customer engagement surveys. While this is definitely not something new (they’ve been around since the 1920s), companies like TINYpulse are making it easier to track data from employees.
In addition to surveys, simply observing your employees can also tell you a lot about your team’s satisfaction. Often executives hide behind closed doors and don’t understand the everyday lives of their team, but by taking laps around the office you’ll learn a lot about the current state of your company’s culture. Is there a healthy hum to the office? Do employees chat with one another or is it silent?
Of course, it’s important to note that people express themselves in different ways. But regardless of introverts versus extroverts, there are definitely red flags. If people appear stressed or bored at their desks, you might need to dig deeper into some underlying issues.
Measuring Employee Engagement
Although often lumped together, employee satisfaction and employee engagement are not the same. Engaged employees are not only happy with their job, but they are also dedicated to the overall mission of your company, participating in activities that aren’t necessarily noted in their job descriptions.
Measuring employee engagement is going to differ in each workplace depending on the types of programs you have established. At Element Three, we encourage our team to recognize their peers and supervisors for going above and beyond in representing our core values by nominating individuals to receive an awesome block. Spoiler: they’re LEGOS. As employees gain more awesome blocks, they’re rewarded with gift cards (and really cool LEGO creations displayed on their desks). Because we monitor submissions on a monthly basis, we can measure how engaged employees are based on the number of nominations submitted.
Other ways to monitor employee engagement is through non-work activities. Do people grab drinks after work? Is there an office kickball team? When people genuinely like their coworkers, everyone wins.
Culture Audits in the Hiring Process
Hiring individuals who will add to your culture is critical when making the decision to bring someone on. Culture is delicate, and you don’t want one bad hire to tear the whole thing down. When you interview candidates, make sure that you not only have a strong understanding of the culture you’ve built, but also how the individual – no matter how qualified they may be – will ultimately work with your team.
At Element Three, cultural fit is nonnegotiable. If the most “qualified” candidate walks through our doors but we know they’re going to be a jerk, we can’t hire them. During the interview process, make sure to think about how this person will fit with your company’s culture. Questions to measure the candidate’s conflict resolution and maturity in the workplace have also worked well for us in the past.
Finally, once you hire a new employee you should familiarize them with your culture throughout their onboarding. Basic habits like using Slack instead of email to communicate may seem normal to you but completely foreign to a newcomer. Cultural onboarding, on top of job-specific onboarding, can help new employees comfortably navigate the ins and outs of your business.
Last But Not Least, Look to Leadership
As a leader in your organization, make sure to take a look at yourself. Culture flows down from the top. If the leadership in your company neglects the culture and core values, odds are that your employees will follow suit.
Culture takes a lot of hard work. Be diligent and recognize that a great company culture doesn’t just happen. Auditing might not be the most exciting endeavor, but the impact it can make on understanding and developing your company’s culture, happiness, and vision is worth it in the long run.