Culture Crash Course Lesson 3: Measuring Employee Engagement & Company Culture

Measuring Employee Engagement and Company Culture

When we first answered the question, “What is company culture?” we started by identifying the differences between company culture and employee engagement. Because the two are closely related, many organizations group them into the same category. However, as we saw, the two terms refer to very different growth opportunities within human resources.

For example, an employee working in a positive company culture might describe that culture by saying, “People hold each other accountable for their actions,” or “My team continuously looks for ways to improve.” These positive cultural attributes enable the employee to become more engaged with his or her workplace and make engagement-focused statements like, “I love working with my coworkers,” and “I feel motivated to give my best.”

Thus a strong company culture creates a backdrop that allows individual employees to flourish.

Unfortunately, it’s rare that organizations today “get it right” with culture or engagement. Almost a third of employees, 26%, are “actively disengaged” from the work they do, while only 13% of employees are considered “highly engaged.” Just consider the impact that ratio could have on a single team, let alone an entire organization struggling to stay competitive and innovate at the highest levels.

It’s clear to high-performing companies that the solution is to start measuring employee engagement and company culture, and 64% of organizations do so annually. But there’s just one thing — culture doesn’t happen just once a year. So, how much can we really expect from once-yearly reviews?

As the social contract between employers and employees changes, empowered employees and job candidates must be re-engaged and re-recruited every day to stay engaged and connected to the work they do and the organizations they do it for. Employee engagement and company culture need to be measured more frequently in order to be as accurate as possible. Unfortunately, only 8% of executives are currently measuring employee engagement on a monthly or more frequent basis. Furthermore, executives tend to be overly optimistic about engagement levels in their company. This is exactly why we created the CultureIQ methodology — to help companies truly understand their company culture and take action on it, on an ongoing basis.

Given the nuanced difference between employee engagement and company culture, it can be confusing to decide which factor your team should measure. Because culture feeds engagement, CultureIQ likes to start with culture. We ask employees to rate the strength of 10 qualities common to high-performance companies, and combine these strength scores with an employee Net Promoter Score to create an overall CultureIQ score. This is one way to quantify company culture, but if you are interested in creating your own culture survey, follow these best practices.

what is culture

The data you glean from measuring company culture will help you identify the root causes of or hindrances to employee engagement. Using this methodology, we help our clients prioritize their areas of focus and make strategic decisions about how to increase engagement.

The main benefit of this process is that it translates a previously vague topic into terms your C-suite understands– metrics.  It enables you to establish accountability around the topic, to identify trends over time, and to dive into data to uncover interesting correlations.

In other words, measuring employee engagement and culture helps you elevate company culture internally and approach it strategically.

We’ve outlined some of the most current research on the importance of company culture and employee engagement, but its value really boils down to an enhanced ability to listen to your employees and make informed decisions about your culture. Measuring employee engagement is not simply a challenge for the present — it’s a challenge for the future. Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers and Generation X as the largest generation in the American workforce and the largest living generation. And since 70% of Millennials want to be creative at work and expect their employers to focus on mission-driven problems, how your company addresses culture and employee engagement will decide whether or not your company can recruit and retain the most talented candidates.

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