Your Current Culture

According to ERC, a training, consulting, research, and HR support services firm, workplace culture is the character and personality of your organization. Your workplace’s unique values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, and behaviors are what set you apart from other businesses and what makes up the core of your culture. While you might already know what you want your workplace culture to be, whether it is to be positive, inclusive, or centered around wellness, you might not know that you should first evaluate your current culture before you make any changes.

Evaluating Your Workplace Culture

Evaluating your current workplace culture is an important step because it can help find the gaps between the culture you want to attain and the culture you currently have. In other words, it helps serve as a guideline for what you need to change or improve. Listed below are the steps for elevating your workplace culture from The Balance Careers:

  1. The first step is to remove yourself emotionally, and try to view your workplace as an impartial observer. Then, do a “culture walk” where you walk through the workplace and just observe interactions. Ask yourself questions like: “How are employees interacting with each other?” “Are there any conflicts? If so, how are they resolved?” “How do middle managers interact with employees?” “How do senior leaders interact with middle managers and employees?”
  2. As you answer these questions, watch for emotions. As Susan M. Heathfield, a management and organization development consultant, states “emotions are  indications of values.” Employees will only express obvious emotions about things that are important to them.
  3. As you interact with and observe employees, pay attention to the topics that are being discussed, especially in meetings. Are the subjects that you think are important, such as performance goals, customers or expected sales growth, being mentioned? This is a good indicator of your culture, as well as whether or not you and your employees are on the same page.
  4. Pay attention to the little details as you walk around. Look at what personal items are displayed on desks, how common areas are designed, the kind of food people bring to work. Every aspect of the workplace can give you an idea of the culture.

Additional Steps

Once you have done your initial observance, you will have a better idea of what questions to ask during culture interviews or culture surveys.

  • Interviews: Face-to-face interviews are best conducted in small focus groups so you can watch how employees interact with each other as they answer questions. When you are on a fact-finding mission such as figuring out a company culture, stick to indirect questions. Heathfield suggests: “What would you tell a friend about your organization if he or she was about to start working here?” “Who is a hero around here and why?”, or something along those lines.
  • Surveys: When it comes to surveys, choose to custom design one based on the information you collected during your culture walk. While there are plenty of culture surveys to purchase, most will have questions that are not relevant or beneficial. When distributing surveys, make sure to offer several ways of completing it to ensure maximum participation.

By following these steps, you will discover the positives of your current workplace culture, or you will receive the guidelines and encouragement you need to improve your culture. For more information, click here!

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