Organizations have tried to measure company culture for many years with mixed success – everyone wants to understand it, but doing so is really hard. A piece of research from Gallup summarized it like this, “Few things are as important – and sometimes as difficult to grasp – as an organization’s culture.”
The digital transformation of the workplace over the past two decades and the rise of remote work means that culture has become more digital. The majority of most knowledge worker’s “office” interactions are now conducted through technology like email, chat or video calls. Slack had 12 million daily active users (DAUs) in 2019, compared to just 0.4 million in 2014 and Microsoft Teams reporting a staggering 115 million DAUs in November 2020. To understand company culture, organizations need to understand these digital interactions.
Traditional efforts to understand culture usually use tools like exit interviews, surveys and focus groups. But, with the development of machine learning and big data analysis techniques, we now have additional tools to help analyze these digital interactions and crack the culture code. Measuring company culture based on employee’s digital interactions and then correlating culture to other performance data helps organizations understand how their culture affects business outcomes like retention, engagement, employee effectiveness and revenue.
What benefits can this type of analysis offer? Here are three to consider:
- A deeper understanding of culture than traditional survey data allows – Using a statistical technique called factor analysis we can identify seven manager behavior groups that often occur together throughout a user base. The Cultivate platform can measure these groups of behaviors and help an organization create an overall culture map. Since this analysis is based on employee’s digital behavior, it is often considered more objective than measurements like surveys (which can have issues with bias) and can turn up findings that no one thought to ask about.
- Culture impact on business KPIs – If a particular business unit is struggling, comparing their digital norms and culture to another business unit that is higher performing could reveal behaviors that may be causing the issue. For example, if analysis shows that higher-performing business units share more information and opinions and give more recognition within their teams, then those behaviors could be targeted at the lower-performing business units to help improve business performance.
- Opportunities to change culture – Once an issue has surfaced, culture analysis can provide organizations an action plan of how to remedy the issue. In the example above, the lower-performing business unit could create a plan to recognize team members for their work more often and share their thoughts and opinions in response to input more often. For instance, managers could set ten minutes aside at the end of each day to thank team members for work they’ve completed and make a point to say “Thanks, here’s what I think…” when a team member shares their opinion. Without an accurate understanding of what digital behaviors contribute to culture, creating action plans like this is much more difficult.
Lining up all of these factors isn’t easy, but once you put them all together the benefits can be extraordinary. Imagine being able to understand how your company culture supports or hurts your business goals, understanding the changes your organization needs to make to reach them, and having a roadmap for getting there.
Cultivate is a digital leadership platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to provide in-the-moment feedback and tools to enterprise employees. Our mission is to help build stronger workplace relationships, and empower people leaders and employees to be more effective, engaged, and balanced.