Many organizations have shifted to focus on their workplace culture to address recruitment, retention, and employee experience. As the conversations have evolved, leaders have struggled to put a finger on exactly what culture is. Defining workplace culture is simple. It’s the “how” of getting work done. That includes your employee’s day-to-day experience of working.

Employees feel workplace culture in different ways. Quantum Workplace research shows the top three aspects employees feel culture the most are:

  • The company’s mission and values
  • How the company recognizes and celebrates employees
  • How the organization approaches employee performance

But culture isn’t just something to work on when you need to recruit and retain. You should be continuously measuring your culture, analyzing what works and what doesn’t, and being intentional about your workplace culture. A strong, engaging and resilient culture can help your business thrive through good times and trying times.

But even strong cultures can be toxic. That’s why culture should be aimed at engagement. To engage employees, organizations need to have an engaging culture. Using an engagement survey can help you understand how employees are experiencing culture and where opportunities are to strengthen engagement.

How Do I Measure Culture?

You should measure culture similarly to how you measure engagement—with feedback. Creating a culture of feedback and asking employees about their experience gives you the information you need to create an engaging work culture.

Using a robust annual engagement survey, you can measure communication, trust in leadership, manager effectiveness and recognition. This will help you determine what’s going well and what can be improved. Over time, you will be able to see how your culture is trending with each question and pinpoint if your actions are working. This not only measures culture, but engagement.

By surveying employees, you’ll help reinforce a culture of feedback that will help culture be consistent over time and not become something you only concentrate on when employees start leaving.

How Do I Know What I’m Looking At?

Sending a survey is not enough. You’ll need to analyze the data and dive into your people analytics to make connections to what is going on in your organization.

When you’re reviewing the data, ask yourself:

  1. What story does the information tell you? What are the strengths? Opportunities? Are these different than what the organization believes or promotes?
  2. Are there trends? Do different teams experience culture similarly? Or are there differences between teams? Are there demographic differences between generations or genders?
  3. What steps might help move the needle? What are the greatest opportunities that will help you recruit, retain, and engage employees?

Take your employee feedback and connect it to other metrics you’re tracking. Using intelligent dashboards, you can uncover insights that help you quantify the information and be more intentional about your workplace culture.

Learning Opportunities

Here’s four metrics to look at in coordination with your culture feedback:

  • Referrals – Do employees tell their friends to apply? How many applicants were referred by current or former employees?
  • Turnover – What is your turnover rate? What does your exit survey data tell you about why employees might be leaving?
  • Performance – Are you on track to hit company goals? What departments are hitting their objectives and targets?
  • Communication – Is leadership consistently following up on employee feedback? Do employees feel comfortable providing feedback? What’s the survey response rate?

Your survey tool should have customized dashboards and analytics built in to make it easy to dive deep into what is going on within the organization. These dashboards can help you link your culture to business success.

Using dashboards can help you relate culture questions to other metrics and see trends over time so you’re always in tune with your workplace culture.

All the quantitative measurements are great but don’t forget to consider qualitative information. Review the data points alongside the open-ended comments instead of just concentrating on your final score.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Once you’ve gathered feedback and analyzed the data, you need to use the information to create a plan to move the needle on culture. Employees want to feel their voice has been heard. Show them they’re a valuable part of the organization by taking steps to improve their experience. Here are some tried and true ways to strengthen your culture.

  • Involve your managers. Encourage your managers to make meaningful improvements to the employee experience so employees feel valued.
  • Evangelize your mission. Connect day-to-day employee tasks to the company’s mission so employees understand why their work matters.
  • Prioritize recognition. Recognize employee behaviors that relate to the organization’s core values, so behaviors and expectations are reinforced.
  • Connect the dots. Align employee goals with organizational goals so employees can see their contributions in action.
  • Leverage employee ideas. Collaborate with employees on what improvements can be made to work processes.
  • Focus on flexibility. Foster flexibility and creativity to improve employee performance.
  • Create a continuous feedback loop. Consistently ask for employee feedback, analyze the data, and act on insights to not only improve work life for employees but to create a culture where employees will succeed.

By integrating a culture strategy with your organization’s feedback strategy, you can make sure culture never falls to the back burner. Building an engaging culture will help your employees be successful and lead to business success.

Want an in-depth look on workplace culture? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Company Culture.