12 Ways to Gauge if Your Workplace Culture Is Healthy
From monitoring attrition rates to assessing your culture, here are 12 answers to the question, “What are the best ways to gauge if your workplace culture is healthy?”
- Measure Your Attrition
- Conduct Anonymous Employee Surveys
- Analyze Social Attendance
- Ask, “Are Disagreements Productive?”
- Check if Appreciation Flows Naturally
- Track How Frequent Referrals Are
- Bring in Independent Culture Auditors
- Can Your Team Access a Flow State?
- Look for Employee Cooperation
- Ask, “Are Your Employees Exceeding Expectations?”
- Assess Team Dynamics
- Provide an In-Depth Talent and Culture Assessment
Measure Your Attrition
In this employee climate, employees have many choices for employment. With that being the case, a simple way to gauge your work culture health is to simply look at your attrition. This can give you a snapshot of where your work culture is at.
High attrition can mean a lot of things but should be a big red flag that your workplace culture is suffering. The excuse that your company has high turnover naturally is a way of simply disregarding that you have a work culture problem.
The fact is, employees don’t leave a workplace that they enjoy as much as workplaces they don’t. So, knowing that if you see your company attrition being high and continuing to rise, you know there is an issue.
Mark Smith, Program Chair, University of Advancing Technology
Conduct Anonymous Employee Surveys
One way to gauge the health of a workplace culture is to conduct an employee survey. Surveys can be a useful tool for gauging the health of a company’s culture, as they allow employees to share their honest opinions and feedback.
Surveys can help to identify areas where the company culture may be falling short, such as lack of communication, lack of support, or lack of opportunities for growth and development. It is important to choose a survey method that allows employees to provide honest and open feedback and to ensure that the survey is conducted in a confidential manner.
Anonymous surveys are the best way to ensure confidentiality and honesty in the employees’ feedback. The results of the survey can then be used to identify what needs to change and take steps to improve the workplace culture.
Analyze Social Attendance
One of the methods I personally use to assess the ongoing health of our company culture is attendance at team lunches, social events, and wellness campaigns. In essence, I track who and how many people show up to every optional event outside of work, or at least required duties.
We frequently hold happy hours, team-bonding days, holiday parties, and more. It’s a big thing for me, as I believe it helps to boost morale, team bonding, and engagement, but I also leverage these events to measure how we are doing at a company level with respect to culture. If attendance slips at these events, I take it as a sign of declining health.
Why would someone not come to an optional event over an extended period? Perhaps because there is friction with their manager or coworkers, or perhaps because they are disengaged. Either way, I believe attendance at social events is instructive of how our company culture is faring.
Ask, “Are Disagreements Productive?”
In healthy organizational cultures, there are often a lot of disagreements. Disagreements about product changes, processes, how to go to market, what the strategy should be, and even what activity to do at an all-hands.
But while the disagreements may be heated, they are always about the substance of the issue and never about individuals’ characters or traits. They foster open discussion and ultimately lead to better ideas, unique insights, and more refined plans.
In less healthy organizational cultures, either disagreements become personal, nasty, and mean, or they simply never happen. Those two extremes represent different kinds of cultural problems, but if either one is a regular occurrence, you should take a step back to assess and work on the culture.
Check if Appreciation Flows Naturally
Recognition is not forced in a healthy workplace.
I’ve often seen recruiters, leaders, and HRs pushing hard on employees and senior executives to practice recognition and sing praises for employees while also encouraging peer-to-peer recognition. Practicing recognition is great, but in a healthy workplace, recognition flows naturally and becomes a part of the workplace.
A healthy workplace culture means that any member of the organization can’t resist praising their colleague for their awesome work. Without bosses reminding employees to praise others, that factor is a massive indication that the workplace culture is healthy, with employees’ behavior being more appreciative and kind to others.
Simply stated, a workplace where team bonds are strong enough and recognition, praise, and gratitude flow naturally is a sign of great team collaboration and a more cohesive unit.
Track How Frequent Referrals Are
Having employees refer friends, family members, and professional contacts to open postings is a great way to demonstrate that your workplace culture is healthy. This shows that employees are confident in the company and its values and that they are willing to vouch for the company and recommend it to their connections.
It also shows that employees are engaged in their work and are satisfied with their job. This can help attract top talent to your company and create a positive reputation for your business.
Bring in Independent Culture Auditors
There are a great number of organizations that label themselves as culture auditors, such as Great Place to Work, for example, and they can be very useful for getting the type of information from your employees that can be difficult to get from internal means.
What many of these companies do is run a series of anonymous surveys on everything from in-office feel, work-life balance, the food in the canteen, etc. These surveys are not only a great way to do a pulse check on where you are; they are also a great way for employees to vent their grievances without being worried about any repercussions, as the external agencies make it extremely clear that employers will not have any granular view on their responses.
Can Your Team Access a Flow State?
There isn’t a single right answer to what makes a great company culture. Indeed, one of the strengths of individual company cultures is in how they differentiate themselves from other businesses. You want to focus on creating a great culture for your company and people that will attract and retain the best talent for your specific business.
That said, in my experience, a healthy culture is one that promotes flow.
If you’ve ever had an experience where you got so absorbed in something that you completely lost track of time, where hours passed like seconds or a moment seemed to unfold in slow motion, then you’ve experienced flow. It’s a feeling of being completely in the moment, totally absorbed and focused on what you’re doing.
Healthy cultures support people to experience this sense of flow as often as possible by doing things that are challenging, not easy; tackling challenges they’ve trained for; rising to the challenge, not getting stressed about failing; and mastering the situation.
Look for Employee Cooperation
A way to gauge if your workplace culture is healthy is by assessing how well employees are working together. For example, looking for collaborative projects where different departments cooperate can be a good indicator.
When people from different areas of the organization are joining forces towards a particular goal, it signals that everyone is comfortable enough to explore opportunities with their coworkers and management inspires their involvement. This sends a message that staff cooperation is welcomed in the company, which may influence future collaborations and consequently result in creating healthier work atmospheres.
Ask, “Are Your Employees Exceeding Expectations?”
To determine whether the culture in your workplace is productive and healthy, you MUST have this data. Employees who are happy in their jobs, feel supported, and have a positive work environment are significantly more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Are your sales teams just meeting their quota, or are they pushing the envelope because they all have a vested stake in the company’s success? Employees will work hard for managers and companies that support and encourage their professional growth.
Assess Team Dynamics
By assessing the thoughts, actions, and interactions of the team, the culture plays out in how we behave in meetings, how we greet each other in the morning, and all the interactions and actions that we take for granted are also a huge part of building or breaking down our culture. So, slow down, watch, and listen, and you will get a good sense of the culture in a team and across a department.”
Provide an In-Depth Talent and Culture Assessment
To fully assess whether your workplace culture is healthy, an organization must assess itself across multiple factors such as engagement, flight risk, leadership scores, DEI, and communication, to name a few.
But a custom analysis that takes your organization into account is essential (core values, goals, schedule, budget, etc.). obtain a true reading on the culture, employees must feel safe providing feedback, and data must be heavily guarded to protect their opinions.