Five Tips For Measuring Culture


August 2019

Emily Castle

The latest Code of Governance comes with new and greater demands on Leadership Boards – especially when it comes to measuring company culture. Not only do you need a clearly defined and activated culture strategy, but now you need to assess and monitor it’s performance too.

Measuring company culture is something we’ve done with global brands across different sectors – so here’s the five key things we’ve learnt from our experience working with a FTSE 100 technology business:

1. Start with a culture ambition
Before you can start measuring your culture, you need to understand what you’re measuring. You need to build a culture model that’s grounded in reality – not something that’s generic or overly academic. Using qualitative and quantitative data from your people, your business and your industry you can define where you are today and where you want to be in the future. This is your cultural ambition, your target culture, and informs everything.

2. Make it uniquely yours
The right measures are the ones that will drive your business performance – don’t accept anything generic or off the shelf. To work towards your unique cultural ambition calls for a tailored measurement approach. For one client, their culture model and measures were fully aligned and driven by their values. However, for another client, the measures were aligned with a culture framework that laddered up to their brand purpose and customer promise.

3. Get practical and grounded
Culture can be perceived as too abstract to measure, that’s why it’s essential to make the measures practical and grounded. By creating a criteria, you’ll guarantee effective measures that really tell you what’s happening in the business. For example, track uptake of tools to share learnings, to measure collaboration and innovation. These measures can be built into a bitesize or detailed dashboard that gives a clear picture to Leadership and HR, whilst shaping what’s next.

4. Build on what you have already
Luckily, we don’t recommend starting from scratch. By doing an audit of what you already measure, you’ll find things you can re-purpose to apply to your cultural ambition. But don’t let this stop you from introducing new measures! Think about what will tell you something truly insightful and bake that into your framework.

5. Use it as a catalyst for change
Assessing and measuring culture isn’t just some tick box process – it’s a starting gun for driving real change in your business. As we know change takes time… so this long-term approach to measuring culture change allows for accuracy and guides the business to what the next area of focus should be.

Every company culture we work on is different, but these five key learnings span sectors and sizes. Let us know what lessons you’ve learned and what you think about these tips – do they reflect your experiences?