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Understanding and measuring corporate culture

Futurpreneur | November 22, 2011

Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF Mentor, tesh@shaw.ca

Managing Corporate Culture article series

In my last article, One person’s path to great corporate culture (and happiness and fortune), I wrote about my company’s need to improve corporate culture in order to maximize the long-term potential of our competitive advantage. But what is corporate culture, why is it important and how do you measure it?

Definition of corporate culture

There are many definitions – the one that made the most sense to me is “the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders (e.g. customers) outside the organization.”

Importance of corporate culture

Corporate culture affects the way you and your employees behave towards each other and towards customers and suppliers. Good corporate culture promotes good behaviour and results in highly productive, happy employees with low turnover. It also brings about loyal customers that value the services/products that your company provides – all of which maximize the fun and profits of your organization. Many studies show that without a doubt, the quality of corporate culture is directly linked to the performance of an organization.

How to measure corporate culture

The best way is to conduct:

  • A customer survey and
  • An employee survey

These surveys will provide you with measures of customer satisfaction and employee engagement – two critical components of a positive corporate culture and solid corporate performance.

There are a number of organizations that can be hired to conduct either or both of the above surveys. I would be happy to provide the names of those that we used.

How do you describe an engaged employee? To me, this is someone that:

  • Is intellectually and emotionally bound with the organization
  • Feels passionate about its goals
  • Is committed to live by its values
  • Gives 100%

My next articles will identify the priority areas that we addressed to build a great corporate culture and in doing so provide further evidence that it is the cornerstone to corporate (and personal) success. Fortunately they are not as complicated as you may think.

If you have any questions or feedback regarding the content of this article, please email me (Terry Thompson) at tesh@shaw.ca.