Part of the reason to measure culture is to figure out if it is as strong as you think it is – and where it is weakest. It isn’t an inherent pillar of culture, so I haven’t mentioned it yet, but be sure that as part of your survey work you’re pulling the right demographic information to figure out where your hot spots might be (without impacting anonymity of results, of course). Is it a particular region? Function? Business unit? Manager? It’s part of the reason we built a tool to help companies slice their data granularly. Any one of these profile pieces can help to target your training and audit resources more effectively, taking your program farther.
The next two pillars to talk about:
Observing and Reporting Misconduct – This pillar is at the crux of the culture evaluation. Are your people comfortable coming forward and telling you what is going on? What motivates them to do so (or not do so)? What barriers stand between them and raising a concern, and are they barriers you had any idea existed? What are their preferred methods for reporting? Without a good understanding of the channels being utilized by employees, do you know whether issues are surfacing? In other words, don’t assume that 30 calls a year on your hotline mean all is well; over 80 percent of employees usually say their manager is their preferred reporting channel. Do you have a simplified intake channel that lets managers load those questions into your case management system, and do your managers know how to use it? If not, you likely have no idea what is really happening inside your organization.
This category should also measure employee fear of retaliation, which is the number one reason traditionally provided for not raising a concern (along with “I didn’t think the company would do anything about it.”)
Organizational Justice – Do you have an organization where, to quote Animal Farm, all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others? Equally important, do your employees think you do? Make sure your culture survey looks at employees’ perceptions of whether the company holds wrongdoers accountable and the awareness of disciplinary actions taken. It is critically important to assess what your employees believe happens when people violate ethical standards. Is there one standard for the average employee and a different one for the “golden child”? You can readily measure your ethical culture by asking people questions such as what they believe it takes to get ahead in your company.