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Organizations can conduct culture audits themselves or hire third-party services to audit them. In some businesses, leaders conduct audits every few years to ensure the workplace culture is positive. Some managers and business owners may choose to conduct culture audits after major company changes, such as a merger or change in management.
The final written report of a culture audit provides an overview of your company’s culture by looking at the following:
- Leadership styles
- Company policies and processes
- Company vision
- Behavior in the workplace
- Communication styles
- Working environment
- How others see your culture
- Employee incentive programs
- Employee programs, such as employee resource groups or social groups organized by the company
- Employee views
Why Conduct a Culture Audit?
Research shows how important company culture is to the success of a business. In fact,89% of highly engaged employees claim the culture in their organization is positive. Additionally, companies with good corporate culture report 4X higher revenues!
A culture audit can make your culture clear. Keeping company culture at the forefront of everything your company does helps integrate the concept into your business. That way, every employee feels like a part of the time, no matter where they’re working.
In addition, a culture audit can do the following.
- Pinpoint culture problems. A culture audit can help uncover dissatisfied employees, communication problems, and other issues that may not be so obvious.
- Help build a stronger workplace culture. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. By taking the pulse of your workplace culture, a culture audit helps you target areas for improvement.
- Give your workers a voice. Employees may not always get a chance to speak up when they notice a culture problem. A culture audit opens up the floor to workers to voice their views.
- Evaluate your efforts to improve company culture. Maybe you’ve started celebrating some holidays, have created a culture committee, or have taken other steps to create a great workplace. Culture audits can show you how your company culture is improving, so you can make any needed adjustments, continue initiatives that are successful, or change those that aren’t working.
- Help you retain talent. Studies have shown that 48% of employees who feel they are working at a business with a poor company culture will start seeking new employment. A culture audit can help you find out if your employers are unhappy, so you can make changes before they leave.
Conducting Culture Audits: Tips and Best Practices
Now that you know the benefits of a company culture audit, here are some tips to make the process a success.
Plan the process
Before you launch your culture audit, you need to define the process. Here’s how:
- Determine the goal. What will your culture audit assess? Are you noticing problems, or do you want to measure success of culture initiatives you’ve already implemented? Consider what kind of culture you want to build to fulfill your company’s mission and goals. For example, if you want to grow quickly as a business, a culture audit may determine whether rapid growth is negatively impacting your employees or whether they are inspired by this company goal.
- Create a team, timeline, and budget. Assemble a team from different departments to conduct your culture audit. Leaders, directors, and managers from marketing, accounting, HR, and other departments can all give you different perspectives on culture. Once you have a team, decide when you need the final audit report and how many resources you can spare.
- Create a framework. Looking at your audit goals, create a plan that will help you meet them. Who will you ask about company culture? Will you conduct surveys or interviews? If so, what questions will be asked?
Once you have completed the prep work, it’s time to start gathering data.
Conduct anonymous, voluntary surveys so your employees feel comfortable answering honestly. Surveys can help you evaluate how workers experience company culture on a daily basis. This can help determine if workplace culture is developing the way you want it to.
You can use an employee management app, like Connecteam, to easily poll your employees. You can send out polls and surveys directly in the app and employees can fill them out right from their phones. You can even announce the initiative to everyone at once on the company newsfeed and receive results in real time. This is particularly useful for businesses with employees who work in multiple locations.
Questions to ask include:
- In a few words, how would you describe our company culture?
- Could you describe a recent situation that captures what our workplace culture is like?
- What are our goals and mission?
- How well do you think our company reflects the image we project to the world?
- What do you think would improve our company culture?
- What works in our workplace?
- What doesn’t currently work in our company and in how we do things?
- How do people talk to each other and communicate with each other at this company?
Interviews and group chats
Ask your work team if anyone is willing to chat in a group or in one-on-one interviews about company culture. You can set up these chats virtually with an employee chat app or set aside time to meet with employees in person.
Group chats and interviews won’t be anonymous, but they can create conversations with more depth than surveys. You can ask follow-up questions and have ongoing discussions this way. Keep the atmosphere casual and consider perks like gift cards or snacks as a “thank you’s” to those who take part.
It’s beneficial to keep an open attitude and avoid pushing back against employee opinions, especially those that aren’t positive; doing so is likely to shut your employees down and make it harder to find out about the exact issues you are looking for.
If you use feedback forms, customer surveys, or other ways to get customer reviews, look at the information you’ve gotten from these sources. Search online for reviews and comments left about your company. This can give you an idea of what the public experiences when interacting with your company and its workers.
A review of your workplace
Your auditors may also want to look at the workplace itself to get an idea of company culture. You might want to look at the following areas.
- Your physical workplace. If you have a central office, how does the workplace feel? Does the look and experience of the workplace feel consistent? If you have uniforms for your workers, what kind of impression do they make? Does that impression reflect your culture? Do the colors, logos, and signs of your company reflect your intended workplace culture?
- Your virtual workplace. If you have employees working in different locations, what are their experiences like? Are they included in workplace activities and events, including celebrations? If you use an online app to communicate, does the look, functionality, and feel of the app reflect the culture you want?
- Employee behavior. Walk around with your workers and observe. What behaviors and communication are common? What are the expectations? How do people greet and talk to each other? What language and expressions do they use? How often do workers talk to each other? How often do team members say positive, supportive things to each other?
- Events. What do you celebrate together as a company? How do you recognize accomplishments? If you can, look at photos or videos of past events. Do these reflect the culture you want to build? Are there any types of events and celebrations that may be missing?
- Leadership perspectives. Talk to leaders to get their perspectives on company culture. Is it a priority for them? Do they think company culture is positive, and how do their opinions match employee views? Do leaders talk to workers often? How well does the leadership team know employees and managers?
- Operations and practices. What rules, processes, and policies are in place? How are they communicated? What kind of culture do your policies, processes, and rules support? Are hiring, training, onboarding, disciplinary, and firing processes consistent with your company culture?
- Social media. If your business uses social media, do the images and tone of your online content reflect the company culture? What are people saying about the company online?
Analyze your findings
Once you have gathered information, you may have lots of separate pieces of data. A good way to analyze is all is to go back to your audit goal and look at the data through that lens. If you wanted to uncover any hidden problems, focus on any suggestions or negative comments you have found.
If you wanted to evaluate the impact of a new cultural initiative, divide your data into comments about the company before and after the initiative, so you can compare the two.
Look for themes and trends. If multiple people suggest there is a communication problem, you want to pay attention.
Report what you have learned
Once you have reached some conclusions, compile a report you can share with leaders and team members. This report should summarize what you have found and provide some recommendations for changes you can make.
Make changes based on your findings
Audits are just one part of the process of managing workplace culture. Even if you find you are going in the direction you want to be going, make sure to take action based on your findings to continue positive trends and fix any problems.
Culture Audits Help Your Company Grow
Company culture is incredibly important for employee engagement and productivity, as well as your bottom line. A culture audit allows you to evaluate the culture at your business and find areas that need improvement. At the end of your audit, you should have a report you can share with leadership about your conclusions and suggestions for a workplace that’s more in tune with the company values and goals.
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