How to Measure Culture Change: 8 Methods for Your Business

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How to Measure Culture Change: 8 Methods for Your Business

Culture change is a big undertaking, which requires a lot of effort and big investments in terms of resources. It requires a focused effort of leadership, management, and employees over a long period. If done correctly, it can have a monumental outcome for your employee experience and the business results. 

For this reason, measuring culture change is necessary to know how your business is progressing and what impact the transformation has on your business. Let’s discover how to measure culture change and understand how your culture is transforming!

What is culture change?
Why should you measure culture change?
How to measure culture change

What is culture change?

Culture change, also referred to as cultural transformation, is a set of activities an organization undertakes to change the behaviors and mindsets of employees to achieve strategic goals. A culture change is usually a gradual process that can be observed over a medium to a long period of time.

The trigger for a culture change is when the current culture of the business doesn’t align with its vision, mission, core values, and strategic objectives. This misalignment indicates to the leadership that the culture has become a barrier to achieving the organization’s goals. 

A business commitment to culture change shows employees that the transformation isn’t just lip service but rather a concerted effort in the right direction. 

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Why should you measure culture change?

Measuring culture change requires a mixture of quantitative metrics and qualitative techniques. By measuring culture change, you’re able to: 

  • Evaluating the success of your initiatives – You can assess if the culture change initiative has the desired impact. As you’re investing a lot of resources and effort into creating culture change, you need to understand if it’s bringing you the results you expected, and if not, why not.
  • Showcasing the results – You can show the impact the culture change has on your business in a measurable way, which helps you speak the business leadership language. Cultural change requires a time and money investment, so showing the outcome and results is essential. 

    Alongside organizational structural changes, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella had the goal to transform the culture to ensure they reach their goals. A new Microsoft vision was developed, which was “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” 

    Prior to the restructure, employees lacked a sense of purpose, and engagement scores were quite low. Through various culture initiatives and realignment of their purpose, Microsoft was able to get back on track. One of the outcomes was notable stock price growth:
  • Uncovering points of improvement – If the desired results aren’t there, you can use data to look into what you can improve and how to cement the culture change further. By understanding how your transformation is progressing, you’re able to uncover obstacles in the internal and external environment.

How to measure culture change

Measuring company culture, as well as measuring culture change, is not easy. You have to identify how to translate the culture into measurable elements, and you want to measure the outcomes of the change. Here are some ways to measure culture change: 

1. Identify KPIs relevant to your culture change goals

Rome was not built in a day, and so too changing corporate culture is not a quick fix. A KPI (key performance indicator) provides a quantifiable measure of your culture change over a period of time. It indicates the milestones along the way to let you know you’re on track and acts as a benchmark to provide insights to make better decisions in the future.

It’s also important to connect the culture change results to business goals like revenue and profitability.

Let’s have a look at an example.

Culture change goal: Develop greater enthusiasm for innovation in the company by the end of the year. 

  • 5% increase in revenue generated from recent innovations.
  • 10% increase in the use of the company’s idea submission board.
  • 10% increase in the number of actionable project ideas submitted by employees.

Any change from the starting point of the year to where the organization is now would be a result of the cultural change.

Of course, to ensure there is clarity in measurement, ensure that an initiative is tied to a KPI. So, if you’ve made effort to make it easier to submit ideas to the idea submission board, the KPI “10% increase in the use of the company’s idea submission board,” is a good example of how to measure such an initiative.

Another example: 

Cultural change goal: Build a culture of learning in the organization by 2024

  • 10% increase in the use of external learning platforms (e.g., Udemy, LinkedIn Learning). 
  • 7% increased participation of employees in learning programs. 
  • 5% increase in satisfaction rates for leadership learning programs. 
How to Measure Culture Change

2. Use the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI)

The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument helps you identify what your company culture is like and how it differs from your desired organizational culture. You can also use the assessment to measure culture change over time by comparing the before and after results.

Developed by Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn, the tool identifies four types of company culture. The company culture exists “along with a competing values framework,” which are:

  • Flexibility & Discretion vs. Stability & Control
  • Internal Focus & Integration vs. External Focus & Differentiation

Using these values, Cameron and Quinn group organizations into four cultural categories:

Competing Values Framework - Culture Types
  1. The dynamic, entrepreneurial Create Culture (Adhocracy
  2. The people-oriented, friendly Collaborate Culture (Clan)
  3. The process-oriented, structured Control Culture (Hierarchy) 
  4. The results-oriented, competitive Compete Culture (Market)

An organization will typically have elements of all four types of organizational culture, with one prevalent culture:

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Prevalent Organizational Culture Example

Based on the results of the initial assessments, you can develop and implement various culture change initiatives to help you progress toward your desired type of company culture. After some time has passed, you can conduct the OCAI again and evaluate how the culture has changed.

3. Use the Organizational Culture Inventory®

The Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI®) is another diagnostic tool that enables you to measure culture change. It uses over 35 years of research and measures the attributes of company culture relayed to the behavior and performance of employees. After completing a survey, it reveals the collective beliefs in the organization, behavioral norms, and thus the foundations for culture change. 

Once the company completes an OCI culture assessment, responses are profiled on the Human Synergistics Circumplex to unveil the norms within the organization. 

Similar to OCAI, you can conduct the assessment multiple times and see how your culture change is progressing.

4. Keep track of your Glassdoor ratings

You can see how your Culture & Values rating is developing on Glassdoor throughout a specific period of time. This indicates how your employees’ perception of your company’s culture is changing.

The company ratings on Glassdoor are based on recent employee feedback, which is calculated through a proprietary rating algorithm. The more recent the review, the heavier its weight on your company’s rating. So, it’s a good measure to understand if any recent culture initiatives have shifted your ranking.

A Glassdoor ranking looks something like this:

Tracking your Glassdoor ranking is especially important if one of the goals of your culture change is to improve your employer branding.

5. Conduct a sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis is increasingly used in HR to understand what employees are thinking. A variety of text-based data like onboarding and offboarding feedback, performance reviews, etc., is analyzed through dedicated software. It can help you see how employees perceive your organization’s culture. 

For example, suppose the goal of your culture change is to promote the feeling of belonging with the ultimate goal of retaining a diverse workforce. In that case, you can analyze the sentiment around this (next to your retention data). 

Sentiment analysis software analyses a variety of qualitative sources: 

  • Diary notes / comments
  • Performance feedback check-ins
  • Offboarding data
  • Compliance policies
  • Policy updates
  • Client feedback
  • Any textual records
  • Employee survey feedback

Through the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP), the combinations of phrases and words from the above sources are classified into positive, negative, or neutral and scored on a scale from -1.0 to +1.0. Here is an example from intelliHR

Sentiment Analysis Example

You can conduct sentiment analysis on a regular basis to understand how the culture has been transforming.

6. Organize a focus group

An employee focus group is an effective way to have a moderated discussion to gather specific feedback on your company culture. To measure whether there has been any culture change through your focus group, conduct them periodically and note any changes. You would be able to notice the changes through the analysis of your focus group’s results (identify key trends; analyze actual quotes from the focus group; develop a formal report). Some examples you might ask include: 

  • What company culture shifts have you noticed in the past quarter? 
  • How would you describe internal communication in this company? (If your goal has been to improve internal communication)
  • How does the company help you with your professional development? (If your goal is to improve the learning culture)
  • How would you define the leadership in the company? 
  • How do you believe the company defines success? 
  • Do you feel the company is committed to diversity and inclusion? 

You should formulate the questions based on the culture change you want to observe. And the same questions should be asked again after a defined period of time so that you can compare results and measure culture change.

7. Measure your eNPS

Employee net promoter score (eNPS) is frequently used to measure employee engagement in a survey. Employees answer the question “On a scale from 1-10, how likely are you to recommend this organization as a place to work?” or “Based on your experience, how likely are you to recommend our organization to a friend or colleague?”

Improvements in your eNPS might be a good indicator of the success of your culture change efforts.

Check out how to evaluate your eNPS results in our explanation here.

8. Employ a dedicated culture measurement tool

Dedicate culture measurement tools are also useful when measuring culture change at your organization. Some of them include: 

  • CultureAmp is a powerful platform that uses continuous listening, feedback, and various development tools to improve employee engagement and performance over time. The various metrics provided by CultureAmp can measure the success of your culture efforts over time. 
  • Perceptyx uses employee surveys, social listening, and people analytics to gather insights within the organization. It is a useful tool to turn your culture data into insights and measure change over time.

A final word

The ways you choose to measure culture change will depend on the goals you’ve set for the transformation. Combining several methods of measuring culture change will give you an excellent insight into the impact your change initiatives have had.

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