Company culture impacts employee engagement, retention rates, profitability and more. Culture also helps determine whether a job candidate will be a good fit with your organization. Learning to identify and describe your company culture will help you decide whether it needs modification and how to implement change.

Identify Your Company Culture

Begin by identifying your company culture. For instance, ask your employees to rate your culture through small-group interviews. Ask questions such as, “What would you tell a friend about your organization if they were about to start working here?”, “What is the one thing you would most like to change about this organization?”, or “Who is especially respected around here and why?” Also, ask your employees to complete surveys. You may purchase surveys with questions that have been proven reliable and validated or create your own. The results will guide you on what to do more or less of and what to stop or start doing. Further, objectively watch your employees interact. How do they engage and resolve conflicts? How do senior leaders interact with middle managers and employees? How do middle managers interact with employees? And, watch your employees’ emotions to determine their values. Are your employees engaged, interactive, excited, happy and friendly at work?

Describe Your Type of Culture 

You may find that your culture is best described as hierarchy, market, or adhocracy. In a hierarchy, the culture is a traditional top-down organization with several layers of management between leadership and employees. Employees at all levels have clear lines of decision making, authority, rules, procedures, and accountability that typically lead to streamlined production. In a market culture, the focus is on the company’s external environment over internal environment. For example, every position may be directly tied to customer support or profitability. In an adhocracy, culture is defined by assumptions that innovative initiatives lead to success. The focus is on developing new products/services. The culture emphasizes individuality, risk taking, and wearing multiple hats.

Modify Your Company Culture

See how your culture fits with the culture you want and modify accordingly. For instance, to create a hierarchy culture, hire more project managers and managers to implement processes and procedures for employees to follow. To create a market culture, consider adding financial incentives tied to customer satisfaction, consistency, product development or profitability. To create an adhocracy, adopt values of creativity and entrepreneurship.

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