Impact of Organizational Culture (With Sample Survey)

Your organizational culture directly impacts nearly every aspect of your company’s performance—from employees’ levels of productivity to their satisfaction, engagement and quality-of-work. The atmosphere and attitudes within your workplace affect how well your workforce cooperates and whether or not employees feel a connection to the company and the work they do each day.
 

Maintaining a strong and positive corporate culture helps employees feel more valued and motivated and fosters collaboration which, in turn, helps increase operational efficiency and drives revenue. Organizations that offer a healthier and more inclusive environment are more likely to meet critical objectives and attract and retain top talent.
 

However, understanding company culture and identifying where your business needs to improve can be challenging. To help, here is a simple company culture definition as well as several tips to help you create a better experience for your workforce.
 

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What is organizational culture?

A company’s organizational culture is the combination of values, beliefs, behaviors and social environments that guide the way people and teams interact with each other, customers and leadership.
 

Generally, two things illustrate a company’s culture: employee habits and emotional responses.
 

Habits are the automatic behaviors employees adopt over time, such as punctuality, appearance, and conduct, as well as how they approach conflicts and address one another in both formal and casual settings. For example, a positive habit may be that employees always greet each other with a polite smile or a wave when passing in the hallway.
 

Emotional responses refers to how people express themselves when reacting to various situations. For example, a negative emotional response may be a pattern of angry outbursts throughout the sales team when an important deal falls through. A positive emotional response may be employees cheering for a teammate who overcame a challenge or exceeded a goal.
 

What to consider when assessing your organizational culture?

The first step to improving your company culture is to assess existing habits and emotional responses and identify possible areas of opportunity.
 

Here are three questions to ask as you evaluate your culture:
 

  • Do employee behaviors align with the company’s values?
    Take time to list your company values, and then consider whether employees’ actions reflect those values and uphold the integrity of your organization. For example, if one of your values is quality service, observe how people in public-facing roles interact with customers. Are they consistently providing a positive experience with every person who interacts with the brand and ensuring all customers needs are met to the best of their abilities? If company values and employee behaviors aren’t aligned, your culture likely needs to be addressed.
  • What are the most common moods and attitudes?
    Are employees mostly positive and energetic or stressed and inactive? Consider everything from employees’ tone and body language when they interact in meetings and around the office as well as the language used in emails and other messages. If employees are friendly, polite and inclusive of each other’s ideas, this is indicative of a positive culture. However, if employees are short with one another or seem afraid to speak up, this could be a sign your culture needs work.
  • Are workspaces comfortable and well-equipped?
    The work environment should support and reflect the company culture. Consider whether the spaces are inviting and appropriately furnished. Also, look to see if employees have all the tools and technology they need to complete their job duties as efficiently and effectively as possible. For employees to develop and maintain the good habits that drive performance, your organization needs to provide adequate facilities.

 

How to create a strong company culture

Changing your company culture is challenging. In most cases, you’ll have to modify the way employees interact by shifting long-established habits, which can take a significant amount of time and effort.
 

However, the faster you identify the changes you need to make and begin building a better culture, the sooner you can spread better habits. Over time, positive behaviors will become more permanent, and the negative patterns that once threatened your culture will begin to disappear.
 

Here are five ways you can strengthen your culture:
 

1. Ask employees for feedback

Start by asking employees about their impression of your organizational culture. It’s best to do this through anonymous surveys because people are more likely to be honest when they’re confident their thoughts and opinions won’t reflect poorly on them. Consider gathering feedback quarterly to determine whether the corrective actions you’re taking are driving results.
 

Here is a small sample employee culture survey:
 

Rank the following statements from 1 to 5 with one being “I strongly agree” and five being “I strongly disagree.”
 

 

  1. We have a positive culture.
  2. This company is accepting and inclusive.
  3. I agree with organizational values.
  4. This organization supports all employees to do their best.
  5. I would describe this as a happy workplace.
  6. Employees always treat each other with decency and respect.
  7. The workspaces are clean, comfortable and inviting.
  8. Employees maintain positive attitudes.
  9. Employees are motivated to do their best work.
  10. Employees are recognized and appreciated for their work.

 

2. Correct negative behaviors quickly

If you observe an employee displaying a poor attitude or acting disrespectfully towards a peer, manager or customer, be sure to address the situation immediately. Often, employees develop new habits by observing others, and by stopping negative actions as soon as they happen, you can prevent them from spreading throughout the organization.
 

3. Recognize and reward positive behaviors

If you observe an employee who consistently maintains a positive attitude, always offers top quality service, treats others with kindness and respect or displays other habits you want to establish as the norm within the company, take time to recognize them publicly. By rewarding the right behaviors, you can ensure employees continue these habits and, over time, others will adopt these behaviors, too.
 

4. Ensure managers lead by example

Leaders have a tremendous impact on organizational culture. When hiring and promoting people for leadership positions, make sure their leadership style aligns with your culture. For example, if you have an open, creative and collaborative culture, it’s best to select leaders who are more democratic than autocratic. Additionally, ensure all managers understand the areas of opportunity and your plans for making improvements. Because leaders often set the tone within their teams, they’re in the best position to effect change.
 

5. Create more functional and inviting workspaces

When arranging new workspaces, focus on creating areas that are bright, comfortable and outfitted with all the technology and equipment your workforce needs. While overhauling workspaces alone isn’t always enough to change behaviors within your company, it’s essential the work environment accurately reflects the culture. When people feel better about the space they’re occupying and have all the tools necessary to do their job well, then they’ll be more likely to uphold the positive behaviors you’re seeking to advance.
 

To provide the best possible organizational culture, make an effort to regularly reassess patterns and behaviors and look for areas of opportunity. By consistently striving to improve the working environment, as well as the habits and emotional responses of your workforce, you can reduce turnover, boost employee engagement and increase overall performance.
 

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