How To Measure Company Culture

Abby Haralson

How do you measure something as intangible and complex as culture? Since “culture is how employees’ hearts and stomachs feel about Monday morning on Sunday night,” (thank you Bill Marklein, founder of Culture Crossing), it’s hard to capture data on those feelings. But doing so is vital to understanding the health and success of your company.

Let’s dive into the strategies that can help you get a better look into your company’s cultural health.

What Is Company Culture?

First, the definition and then the application. Company culture is the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of your organization. It’s the personality of your company, manifesting in how employees interact, the values they hold, and the goals they pursue.

Why Is It Important to Measure Company Culture?

Data drives better decisions. If you think something cultural is affecting client retention, knowing how to measure company culture can give you answers on how to act. A strong, well-defined culture can lead to:

  • Higher employee retention
  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Enhanced team collaboration
  • Increased innovation and productivity

All great things, right? Knowing where your culture stands helps you make informed decisions to foster a positive and productive work environment.

How to Measure Company Culture: 5 Strategies

Use these strategies on how to measure company culture from the perspective of an employee who’s observed lots of execs and managers over the years.

1. Surveys

Surveys are one of the most straightforward ways to gauge company culture. They allow you to gather direct feedback from employees about their experiences, satisfaction, and engagement levels. Use a mix of quantitative questions (e.g., rating scales) and qualitative ones (e.g., open-ended questions) to capture a comprehensive view.

Example Questions:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the company’s work environment?
  • What changes would you like to see in our workplace culture?

It’s a well-known fact: most people don’t like filling out surveys. You might get better results if you reward team members for filling out surveys and keep them to a minimum throughout the year (one or two per year).

2. One-on-Ones

Regular one-on-one meetings between managers and employees can provide valuable insights into the company culture. These conversations allow employees to voice their concerns, share feedback, and suggest improvements in a more personalized setting. It’s also an excellent opportunity for managers to demonstrate their commitment to addressing cultural issues.

Pro Tip: Make these meetings a routine part of your management strategy to ensure ongoing dialogue and feedback.

Pro Pro Tip: Don’t randomly schedule a one-on-one meeting with employees without telling them what it’s about. Non-accredited research done by your author shows that this leads to firing anxiety 100% of the time.

3. Performance Metrics

Analyzing performance metrics can reveal a lot about your company culture. Metrics like employee turnover rates, absenteeism, and productivity levels can indicate underlying cultural issues. For instance, high turnover might suggest dissatisfaction, while low productivity could point to a lack of motivation or engagement.

Key Metrics to Track:

Another part of performance metrics can come from your employees. Are they taking lots of sick or mental health days? Do they use their vacation days or are they scared they’ll fall behind? Are there consistent issues with meeting deadlines? These are all signs of a struggling culture.

4. Measurable Recognition & Rewards

A culture that values recognition and rewards can be measured by tracking how often and how effectively employees are acknowledged for their contributions. Implementing a structured recognition program, or a culture operating system, can help you monitor this aspect of your culture.

At Lemonade Stand, we use Build Then Bless. It has a dashboard for team members to send each other shouts (along with money given by Lemonade Stand) and events tracking so team members can celebrate each other’s milestones.

It shows us how our team communicates, celebrates, and supports each other, giving us a clear view of our culture.

5. Observation

Sometimes, the best way to understand your company culture is by observing it directly. Attend team meetings, observe interactions, and note the overall atmosphere. Look for signs of collaboration, respect, and enthusiasm—or the lack thereof.

Observation Tips:

  • Take note of body language and engagement during meetings.
  • Observe the dynamics in communal areas like breakrooms, or if you work remotely, how people interact in whole team meetings or activities.

How to Measure Company Culture With a Culture Operating System

One of the most effective tools we’ve used to measure and improve our company culture is the Build Then Bless platform. Build Then Bless started as the Lemonade Stand mission, turned into $50 each month for every employee to spend on people in their community, and has become a software our team uses to build our culture.

Build Then Bless gamifies employee recognition and lets team members reward each other for their hard work. It builds unity, trust, and engagement within the team, all while providing valuable data on employee recognition and culture.

Could Your Company Benefit From a Director of Happiness?

Assigning someone to specifically measure and nurture your company culture can mean the difference between measurable results and shots in the dark. This role focuses on ensuring that cultural initiatives are implemented effectively and that employees feel valued and heard.

A Director of Happiness is responsible for:

  • Monitoring cultural metrics and making necessary adjustments.
  • Facilitating open communication between employees and leadership.
  • Promoting recognition and reward programs.
  • Ensuring alignment with company values.

Having a dedicated individual in this role emphasizes the importance of culture and ensures ongoing attention to maintaining a positive work environment. There are other names for this role—culture executive, culture manager, etc.—but we love Director of Happiness because that’s exactly what they’re doing—helping our employees and clients feel happier!

Want a Measurable Way to Build Your Company Culture?

If you’re trying to find out how to measure company culture, I’m cheering you on! Only the best executives and managers want their employees to love coming to work on Monday morning. Lemonade Stand has helped me feel that way because of Build Then Bless. 

Schedule a demo to find out how this program helps Lemonade Stand have a 93% employee retention rate.

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