You’ve done everything you can think of to build a great culture. But how do you know if it’s working? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to check in and get a general feel of your culture climate.
#1 – How much of themselves are your people bringing to work?
If your people are bringing all of themselves to work, chances are, news ideas and perspectives will always be shared. There will be less conforming to ‘groupthink’ or posturing, and more self-expression and healthy debates of things that truly matter. Decisions are made faster, innovation is more constant, and work quality is better.
#2 – Is information exchanged freely and transparently?
In companies with great culture, staff are kept aware of what is happening from the top, which helps them better understand their role in the big picture. Among peers and across departments, important information are shared willingly, to help advance the company’s goals.
A good litmus test for this question is whether departments, project managers, and team supervisors are only sharing progress updates with each other in formal meetings or informally, across the hallway, at the coffee machine, and over lunch.
When teams are speaking frequently, in less formal settings, progress is sped up, and bottlenecks and redundant work are avoided.
#3 – Is there a bigger vision than just generating shareholder value?
What you focus on, is what you will get from your staff. If your vision focuses on a monetary value, then that’s what you’re going to get from your staff – conversation about how much money they are getting from you.
However, if your vision is a cause or a reason for being, you create a conversation that extends beyond monetary achievements or being the leading company in your industry.
Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why wrote : ” “If the leader of the organization can’t clearly articulate WHY the organization exists in terms beyond its products or services, then how does he expect the employees to know WHY to come to work?”
A powerful, compelling WHY is the beginning of a great culture. With it, your people will more likely be driven by the work and the outcome it brings.
#4 – Are people self-motivated instead of relying on carrot-and-stick incentives?
In companies with good work cultures, people take personal ownership of their results. They will go the extra mile to bring in a sale or keep a customer happy. They behave in such a way not because they have to, but because they want to.
It is very difficult to drive these sort of behaviours without a strong culture – in the absence of which, managers tend to have to resort to strict KPIs to make sure people behave as expected. Often such KPIs achieve the opposite of its intended effect – by demotivating people and leaving them feeling ill-equipped to achieve results they feel no ownership over.
#5 – Do people spend time outside “work mode” together?
Time outside of “work mode” will look different for every company and across different industries. For some, it may be after-work drinks, coffee or a meal; for others, it may be more structured team outings, outdoor excursions, sports, or team potlucks.
People in companies with great work culture look forward to spending time with each other instead of trying to avoid it. They understand that besides the opportunity to spend time with fellow colleagues in a more relaxed settings, such activities provide “collision” opportunities – or opportunities to network, strike up a new collaboration, or bounce ideas off someone else.
#6 – Do you frequently hear laughter around the office?
This question isn’t referring to the demeaning, condescending type of laughter, but a genuinely tickled, happy, and amused type of laughter. In an environment with a strong culture, you will notice that colleagues not only work well with one another, but connect on various levels, swapping jokes, bonding over shared interests, and doing their part to uphold a positive working environment.
A supportive, positive culture equals happy employees, and happy employees equals productive employees.
In summary, great work culture boils down to an environment built on mutual trust, respect, and shared values. If you answered ‘No’ to any of these questions, it may be a sign that your organization’s values are not articulated well enough, or there may be issues blocking mutual trust and respect among your staff.
By digging deeper to uncover the root issues, you can then take steps to address it and start working towards a thriving work culture.