If you are like many savvy leaders today, you understand how important it is to understand and protect your culture. A culture survey, when done properly, will reveal what your employees think are the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are in place on a daily basis at work. Your corporate culture determines employee participation, drives decisions, impacts innovation, and substantially influences the overall performance of the organization.
So, let’s say your team has agreed to take a corporate culture survey, they invested considerable time and effort and you clearly conveyed why it is important to the organization. You got a nice return of 89 percent participation and are now ready to put the results to work. What’s next?
As part of the overall culture survey process, communicating the results to the team is paramount. There are a few ways to do this:
Town Hall – you gathering the entire team for a group discussion on the results
Management Meeting – only management are present to preview and analyze the results together.
Small Group – results are filtering down to individual teams once the full scope is understood.
Regardless of how you decide to approach communicating the results, all involved should have full access to the information.
Your employee portion of the culture survey is about perceptions, and rightly or not, perception is their reality. Assigning “right” and “wrong” labels to opinions devalues those who were honest enough to express their true feelings. So consider the results their truth. Bothered by some of the comments? GOOD! That is what you are looking for: the survey uncovers what is NOT being said when you are in the room.
Here is an example of the power of a culture survey:
One company executive team likes to think of themselves as being a “fresh” and a solid long-standing employer. They have low turnover at the top, and decide to conduct the survey to “validate” their perceptions. What gets revealed? They do have stability and do believe they are innovators in their field by adding mobile technology to their workflow. But the survey results come in with terms like old-school, bureaucratic, and limited possibility of advancement. So they added current tech, but the old regime still sits at the top.
If you want to attract and retain up-and-coming talent, changing this type of cultural perception is imperative.
Commit to putting your survey results into action, this will show the entire company that you are willing to change to make things better. Consider working with a certified team coach to reveal both the perceptions and agreed upon alternatives in a setting that is safe and collaborative. Allow your employees to offer solutions to the perceptions, and ask that the leadership team remains objective and open-minded. This approach will enable you to mine wonderful ideas and create a refreshed workforce that will help you implement real change.
Remember, change takes time. It can often take up to two-years to see a shift in culture. Don’t be impatient and don’t get discouraged, you WILL realize changes in incremental and sustainable way.
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