Mar 18, 2014

An organization’s culture consists of the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that employees share and use on a daily basis in their work.

The culture determines how employees describe where they work, how they understand the business, and how they see themselves as part of the organization. Culture is also a driver of decisions, actions, and ultimately the overall performance of the organization.

So how would employees describe the culture of your organization?

Positive and negatives from employees

Some of the common positive attributes we hear are:

  • This is a fun place to work.
  • We are results oriented.
  • Everyone here cares about each other.
  • This is a great place to learn and grow.

Conversely, here are a few of the negative descriptions we hear from employees at some organizations:

  • You can’t speak up without fear of retribution.
  • I don’t feel trusted to do my job.
  • We work in silos.
  • I don’t see how my work contributes to the overall goals of the company.

Cultures are either created organically or through deliberate and consistent planning and action. The best organizations understand their culture and take careful steps to manage and promote it effectively.

The 12 attributes of a strong culture

One of the ways organizations begin to manage their culture is to gather feedback from employees to see how aligned they are with the current and/or desired culture. A good way to do this is to define the desired cultural attributes and then measure them through an employee survey.

Here is a list of 12 cultural attributes that we typically use as a start:

  1. Respect/Fairness;
  2. Trust/Integrity;
  3. Change/Adaptability;
  4. Results Orientation;
  5. Teamwork;
  6. Employee Engagement;
  7. Responsibility/Accountability;
  8. Learning Opportunities;
  9. Meaning/Purpose;
  10. Communication;
  11. Decision Making;
  12. Goals/Strategy.

What attributes should you leverage?

Each of these attributes includes three to five items that define the attribute in more detail and provide more insight into how the culture works.

Once you have your survey results, decide what attributes you want to keep and leverage and develop a strategy to eliminate those that are toxic. This is the first step to getting employees aligned with a culture that will drive success.

Have more attributes to add to the list? Please share in the comments.

This was originally published on the DecisionWise blog.