A guide: understanding and improving your organizational culture along with three examples of highly successful organizational cultures to take inspiration from
Have you wondered what an organizational culture actually means? Apart from the vague descriptions you might have read online about how employees interact, organizational culture is a concept that includes a lot more than just how employees interact and operate.
Speaking in terms of a firm, the organizational culture would comprise the firm’s basic personality, or the essence of how its employees communicate and carry out various processes required to achieve collective goals. It is, nevertheless, an enigmatically complicated entity that keeps surviving and evolving as a result of shifts in leadership, strategy, and several other factors.
It can also be defined as the self-sustaining pattern of behaviour that determines how things are done in an organization.
Culture is something that is difficult to define, yet everyone recognises it when they experience it. Similar to how you can get a sense of someone's personality by looking at them, you can determine the culture of an organization by looking at the arrangement of furniture, what they brag about, what members wear, and so on.
Members of an organisation tend to pick up on the culture of that organisation sooner than one can ever imagine.
Developing a winning corporate culture within your organization boosts recruitment efforts and increases retention rates. The types of candidates you attract and the personnel you keep have a direct impact on your company culture.
And so, a positive corporate culture is just what you would need to attract the best job prospects and keep them on board as employees. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a winning company culture that reflects your beliefs and matches with your entire objective. It's a difficult, however not impossible task, and here’s why having a good organizational culture is so important:
Employee engagement is defined as an employee's level of interest in, motivation for, and connection to their work and company. And so, it's no surprise that high levels of employee engagement are associated with winning business cultures.
Strong corporate cultures provide employees with a reason to stick around and to do so with zeal. Employees with a winning culture establish strong bonds with their peers, company, and position, improving their work experience and increasing their engagement.
Your company's values and beliefs, as well as the underlying assumptions held by employees in your organization, form the foundation of your culture.
In a nutshell, your company's basic principles are brought to life through your organisational culture.
Your organization’s culture has a bigger impact than you know, on employee satisfaction and engagement. If your corporate culture values teamwork but a person prefers to work alone, they are unlikely to be satisfied at your organisation.
While you won't be able to please everyone, you may attempt to create a company culture that balances your employees' individual requirements while also aligning with your organization's objectives. Thus, your staff will show their appreciation by increasing their productivity and performance.
Studies show that organizations that provide a favourable candidate experience enhance the quality of their hiring by 70%. You can't hide your company culture from job seekers; they'll be able to get a sense of it almost instantly and use it to make a decision. Thus it is important to prioritize developing a corporate culture that promotes a strong and compelling brand image to prevent losing top prospects' attention.
In most cases, leaders do have a strong awareness of their organization's culture. However, they simply haven't made that sense conscious enough to be able to learn from and lead within the culture effectively.
Diverse people within the same organisation may have different perspectives about the company's culture. This is especially true when it comes to the perspectives of the organization's top and bottom levels.
Here are four elements to understanding your company's culture, as well as the criteria for determining whether it needs to change.
Every firm, whether consciously or unintentionally created, has a culture. This culture comprises the set of values, goals, ethics, and expectations that guide and affect employee conduct.
If you want to create a certain type of culture, it's not enough to just say so. To build a roadmap to achieve those changes, you must first figure out what present habits need to change. It is thus critical to first establish your current corporate culture before attempting to change it.
It is crucial to analyze your company's priorities if you want to learn more about your culture. These objectives and initiatives show what your company values and what it does not ,both explicitly and implicitly.
The behaviours that are encouraged, tolerated, and discouraged in your workplace make up your company culture. It's best to go straight to the source, i.e., your employees. This will help you figure out what kind of people make up your organization. Consider ways in which you can gather input on which behaviours are now beneficial to the company and which should be avoided or altered in order to elevate your firm.
SUPER TIP - If you're interested in engaging with your team to understand your knowledge of your organisation's culture, here's something to help you start with.
Every organization is different, and all of them have a unique culture to organize groups of people. Adopting a culture that matches your people and your goals- is the only right way out to understanding and developing an organizational culture.
Now when it comes to types, there are over five to eight types of organizational culture, out of which only a few are amongst the popular ones. They are as follows:
A clan culture is people-focused in the sense that the company feels like one big happy family. This culture follows the motto of being together throughout everything. Clan culture comprises a highly collaborative work environment that is super flexible where every individual is valued and communication is a top priority.
Market culture mainly believes in competition and growth, where losing isn't considered as an option. These are organisations that are more concerned with external success, i.e., profitability than with internal contentment.
Everything is measured against the bottom line; each position has a goal that is aligned with the company's overall goal, and employees and leadership roles are frequently separated by several degrees.
Companies with hierarchical cultures stick to the traditional business structure and value quality over quantity. These are businesses that place a strong emphasis on internal organisation, with a clear chain of command and various management tiers that separate employees from executives. Employees are typically required to obey a dress code in addition to a rigid structure. Hierarchy cultures have a set of rules to follow, making them predictable and risk-averse.
Adhocracy cultures are rooted in innovation and risk taking and go by the motto- risk it to get the biscuit. These are the businesses that are at the forefront of their fields, looking to produce the next great thing before anybody else has even begun to ask the appropriate questions. They must take risks in order to do so. Individuality is valued in adhocracy cultures because employees are encouraged to think creatively and contribute their ideas.
A good company culture not only consists of one or a combination of the above mentioned types, but should also be something that stands out from one’s competition.
It is not something that can be achieved within a snap of a finger, but takes a considerable amount of time, understanding and planning to emerge as an organization with a great culture where employees are productive, happy and satisfied.
Here are a few examples of organizations with commendable culture to help you take inspiration from:
Google is known for being an excellent employer that has pioneered many of the perks and advantages that startups are now known for. Google's employees are a hardworking, talented, and an enthusiastic bunch.
For its employees, Google's corporate culture is a treasure trove of perks and bonuses. Free meals, employee vacations and parties, cash bonuses, open speeches by high-level executives, employee recognition, gyms, and a pet-friendly atmosphere are all available at Google. It's no surprise that Google's company culture is the gold standard by which all other IT firms are judged.
The video conferencing technology company -Zoom is known for its amazing culture, and with good reason: their emphasis on people. The business has a reputation for genuinely caring about its employees. Zoom even encourages employees to bring loved ones to work so that teammates and coworkers can meet the individuals who work behind the scenes, who inspire them, and for whom they work.
Netflix's corporate culture is based on the principle of "people over process." They have a set of ideals in which they strongly believe and which they want their employees to live out in their job.
The foundation of the organisation is a strong sense of loyalty and ownership. Their goal is to pervade the workforce with their values and philosophies in order to motivate and urge people to support innovation in order to achieve higher growth.
Zappos' culture is now well-established and well-known. They concentrate on hiring to keep things going. The goal of the hiring process is to discover people who share the company's values. Zappos devotes a significant amount of time and resources to employee team building and culture promotion. They want every employee to embody the company's principles.Customers can even tell that Zappos staff are happy.
DHL is unique in how it benefits from its dynamic, multicultural environment. With a variety of programmes, such as the unique integrated learning platform that fosters talent development, the organisation looks after its employees throughout their careers.
Another pillar is workplace wellness, which includes annual events and long-term activities to protect employee health.
LinkedIn was even on Glassdoor's 2020 Best Places to Work list, but two characteristics aren't mentioned enough: devotion to people and a focus on five principles: transformation, integrity, collaboration, humour, and results.
Hubspot has appeared on numerous best-of lists. It does not end here. The marketing, sales, and service software firm is ranked first on this list of the finest places to work. The explanation for this is simple: Hubspot's company culture revolves upon its people.
Warby Parker has been creating and selling prescription glasses online for over a decade now. Warby Parker's company culture inspires "culture crushes," run by a team dedicated to culture, making it one amongst the several reasons for the company's success. Warby Parker provides its employees with a positive work environment by organising enjoyable meals, events, and programmes, always ensuring that there is an impending event to look forward to.
How does a corporation maintain such a high level of creativity and excellence at the same time? Well. we would never really know. At Pixar, everything is a work of art and employees are encouraged to be their true “creative” self. The essential ideals of the animation studio inspire the entire culture.
Pixar believes that if you want to be creative, you must be innovative in everything you do. This can even be seen throughout Pixar, especially in the design of the company's "cubicles," which are sometimes shaped like cute little huts.
Twitter employees can't get enough of the company's culture! Rooftop meetings, amicable coworkers, and a team-oriented workplace where everyone is motivated by the company's goals have prompted this acclaim.
It's impossible to beat having team members that are pleasant and friendly to one another, as well as excellent at and enthusiastic about what they do. There is no programme, activity, or set of regulations that can compare to having happy and pleased employees who believe their work counts.
You would notice that most of the organizations read about a while ago, have similar perks and bonuses, but keep in mind that these do not entirely determine your organization’s culture. The way employees are treated, as well as the level of ownership and trust they are given, is the key aspect of any and every company culture.
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‘Onboarding: How to get your new employees up to speed in half the time’ - George Bradt, founder and Chairman PrimeGenesis
Did you know that a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%?
However, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job at onboarding new employees.
This clearly states that while employee onboarding has a direct impact on the bottom line, most organizations miss out on how to get it right.
Don’t let that happen to you. To onboard new employees like a pro, keep reading.
By definition, an onboarding survey is a questionnaire that is administered on new hires to gauge their initial experience and level of satisfaction, in an attempt to understand their engagement and retention potential.
As an HR, you can get multiple insights from an onboarding survey, including:
It can help you estimate how long the employees are likely to stay and how you can further optimize your onboarding process to make it more aligned with employee expectations.
An effective onboarding survey can help you reflect on your performance through the onboarding process, which directly impacts KPIs for organizational success, including:
93% of employers believe a good onboarding experience is critical in influencing a new employee’s decision whether to stay with the company. At the same time, 25% of a company’s new hires would leave within a year if the onboarding experience was poor.
20% of new hires are unlikely to recommend an employer to a friend or family member and an onboarding survey can help you identify the reasons for the same. However, new team members who were asked to provide feedback prior to their start date also had a 79% increase in willingness to refer others. Thus, illustrating how onboarding surveys and feedback can impact eNPS.
Employees with exceptional onboarding experiences are 2.6x more likely to be extremely satisfied with their workplace and 70% say they have ‘the best possible job’.
77% of employees who went through a formal onboarding process were able to meet their first performance goals. However, 49% of individuals who failed to reach their first performance milestone had no official onboarding instruction. An onboarding survey can help you determine the effectiveness of your onboarding process.
In addition, your new employees might also have an inclination towards providing feedback as a part of the onboarding survey, which you will lose out if you don’t conduct the same. Research shows that only 26% of new employees recall being asked for feedback on their candidate journey and the hiring process before their start date wherein 91% of new hires are willing to provide this feedback.
Now that you understand the importance of an employee onboarding survey, let’s quickly discuss how to effectively run an onboarding survey.
You must coincide your employee onboarding survey with important milestones for the new employee in the organization. Mostly, these milestones coincide with the end of the first few months. Thus, you should circulate your onboarding survey after 30, 60 and 90 days respectively, with different objectives for each. Furthermore, you can send interim surveys in case you feel the need, for instance, when the employee starts a project, or when the orientation process is over.
“Effective employee onboarding isn’t about swag, stickers, & company value pamphlets on their desk the 1st day. But, how you help them understand their goals & how co values are interwoven in operating are more important.”- Suhail Doshi, founder and chairman of Mixpanel, Inc.
Based on the milestones or cadence you have set up, it is important to identify areas you would want to cover with each milestone. For instance:
In the first 30 days, you should focus on themes like:
In 60 days, you can touch on themes like:
By the end of 90 days, focus should shift towards:
Once you have decided the themes, you can start building questions, a snapshot of which is covered in the next section or you can download the template now here. The themes can be fluid across milestones, depending on the context for your organization.
Once the milestone arrives, you should roll out the onboarding survey and drive participation. It is important to explain to your new employees why the onboarding survey is important and how they can fill it up. Give them the requisite time, deadlines and communicate what will be the next steps to encourage them to participate.
Simply rolling out the survey is not enough. You must reach out to your new employees to remind them to fill the onboarding survey as amidst numerous new things, they might lose track of it. Don’t push too hard, yet send subtle reminders to get genuine responses. For instance: employee survey tools such as SuperBeings integrate with chat tools like Slack, Teams, Gchat to send personalized nudges to fill out the survey in the flow of work at set intervals as well as allows them to participate directly without switching context.
Unlock a wide array of survey questions and employee analytics. See how SuperBeings can help
Once your onboarding survey responses are in, slice and dice them to get insights into what your employees feel and leverage the data points to further refine your onboarding process to facilitate engagement, retention and advocacy from the beginning.
Taking cue from the section above, here are 50+ onboarding survey questions that you can leverage to gauge the pulse of your new employees as they complete different milestones.
You can also download these questions as a template and use it whenever you need. Click here to download
By now, it would be very clear to you that an employee onboarding survey can help you in multiple ways to create a high performance culture. It can enable you to augment retention, engagement, satisfaction and advocacy among employees to ensure that there is minimal turnover and you are able to attract high quality talent. Ensure that you roll out an onboarding survey at 30/60/90 days frequency to check onboarding experience, knowledge transfer, manager support, role clarity, etc.
You should focus on other forms of employee feedback on culture, training and development opportunities, level of engagement, manager effectiveness, workplace collaboration, work-life balance, among others.
Finally, you should focus on leveraging technology and automation to add efficiency and effectiveness to your onboarding survey and process.
Research shows, automating onboarding tasks resulted in a 16% increase in retention rates for new hires.
Thus, consider partnering with a survey platform which enables you to:
When it comes to performance management for employees, you would agree that feedback plays an important role. However, only offering positive feedback and appreciating the performance of your employees is not enough. You need to give them an equal amount of constructive feedback which is specific to ensure high levels of performance. If you feel that your employees may not embrace constructive feedback, think again.
Research shows that 92% of people believe that constructive feedback is effective at improving performance.
In this article we will help you understand how you can give constructive feedback and examples you can leverage.
Constructive feedback is essentially a tool that most forward looking professionals leverage to help others in their team with specific and constructive inputs on areas where one’s performance can be improved. Put simply, if you have an employee who doesn’t pay attention to detail, constructive feedback involves helping them acknowledge that this is a problem area, and more than that, enabling them with the support to overcome the same. It involves not only identifying a performance problem, but also, providing action items and ways to address the same.
Now that you have an understanding of what constructive feedback means, let’s quickly look at some of the top reasons why constructive feedback is important. Constructive feedback:
When delivering feedback, you must understand the difference between positive and constructive feedback and ensure that you use both of them where they fit the best. Here a quick distinction between positive feedback vs constructive feedback:
In a nutshell, positive feedback is a reinforcement tool, whereas constructive feedback is a mechanism to facilitate development.
With an understanding of the fundamentals of constructive feedback, let’s quickly jump to the best practices which can help you deliver constructive feedback in a nuanced and effective manner.
The first thing you need to focus on is ensuring that the timing of the constructive feedback is ideal. For instance, a busy period when the employee is putting in a lot of effort may not be ideal for giving them feedback about their performance from three months ago. At the same time, ensure that you provide constructive feedback regularly and consistently, to avoid recency or primacy bias. However, don’t offer feedback when you are angry about their performance either.
Before you get down to giving the feedback, set the tone. Share with the employee the purpose of the meeting and make them comfortable prior to sharing your reflections. It is important that you build trust so your employees can share their perspective and don’t feel intimidated by what you have to say.
Once the context and tone is set, start sharing your reflections. Your focus should be on sharing what you have observed about their performance. However, ensure that you also share how the same is likely to impact their career growth as well as organizational success. For instance, if you are providing constructive feedback about missing deadlines, you can use the impact of losing clients for the organization and a casual attitude marker for the employee.
When sharing reflections, use specific examples of when you noticed a particular behavior. For instance, in the above example, you can share instances of when the employee missed his/her deadlines. Ensure that you use examples which illustrate a pattern, rather than a one off incident, which is very uncommon. Furthermore, always use concrete examples and not interpretation of what you hear or see.
With constructive feedback, your focus should be on helping the employee improve their performance and work on their areas of development.
However, simply pointing out their weaknesses or negatives in their performance will not help. You need to also talk about some of the positive aspects of their performance and how those qualities can help them absorb and implement their constructive feedback.
Emotional intelligence is extremely important when delivering constructive feedback. You cannot be apathetic towards your employee when delivering the same. Put yourself in their shoes to choose your phrases carefully. We will share some examples in the next section. Also, use your EQ to read the situation when you are delivering the feedback. If you see that the employee is getting uncomfortable, take a pause and comfort them first. Read their gestures and body language to ensure that the employee is not feeling attacked.
Like it or not, constructive feedback involves pointing out one’s weaknesses and areas of improvement. However, you should refrain from equating the performance of the employee with his/her personality or whole self. For instance, if someone misses deadlines, encourage them to be more organized or prioritize important work, than labeling them as a procrastinator.
While you are delivering the constructive feedback, you have to make sure it is a dialogue.
The idea is to give the other person enough room to share their side of the story.
Try to understand whether or not they agree with your feedback and how they perceive the same. They may share the lack of support or resources, which have resulted in a weak performance. Be open to some reverse feedback as well. Again, your EQ must be at play here. If your employee has an outburst, or reacts negatively, you need to stay composed and calm them down.
Once you and your employee are aligned on the areas of improvement, the most important part of constructive feedback is to provide adequate solutions to address the performance challenges. Don’t give abstract or vague solutions like be punctual if the employee misses deadlines. Rather, give very specific and action oriented solutions which are directed towards a particular outcome. The idea is to collectively understand the cause of the weak area of performance and use concrete solutions to remedy the same.
Now that you have shared some potential solutions, you must revise the top action items with your employee to avoid any confusion. At the same time, you should focus on creating a time bound plan with key milestones to ensure that development is taking place. Summarize what was discussed and how you will proceed from there. Best is to set up a date to review the progress to ensure constructive feedback is paid heed to.
Read our article on Start Stop Continue Feedback to give action oriented feedback
Here are top 20 constructive feedback examples that you can use during your next conversation. To make your constructive feedback more effective, we have also illustrated examples of what you should steer away from.
I would really like to know how you have progressed on the tasks assigned to you last month. It would be ideal if you could share a progress update on what has been achieved with a small summary of challenges/ support needed at the end of every week to ensure everyone is on the same page.
You have not kept your team updated about your work, this is highly unprofessional.
I was going through the work you submitted last week and I can see you have put in a lot of effort. However, I could see that there were some small errors and inaccuracies in the report across multiple sections. I believe that if you proofread your work thoroughly before turning it in, it will reduce the number of iterations and improve your quality of work.
You seem completely distracted as you have been submitting flawed and below average work, this will not be tolerated.
I understand that you are working on multiple projects, however, you need to ensure that the most important projects are not overlooked and their timelines are not missed. Therefore, I would suggest you create a list of tasks you are working on and check with the respective reporting managers on the priority and set clear expectations to ensure that no deadlines are missed.
You have missed your deadline again, it seems like you are not serious about you work.
I see that you have been able to achieve only a part of the goals that you set out for this year. Maybe you were trying to spread yourself too thin. I would suggest you reduce the number of projects you are working on and ensure that the goals you set you are able to achieve. Furthermore, you must be vocal about the support or resources you need to achieve your goals.
Are you even serious about your work, your level of goal achievement indicates otherwise.
I see that you have been taking some time off lately, without any prior intimation. Let’s try to understand if there is a particular reason for the same. We can work on your schedule to make it more flexible.
You have been missing all meetings lately, this tardiness is not appreciated.
I see that you are excellent at execution of ideas. However, I believe that you need to focus more on coming up with solutions on your own. I would suggest participating more in the brainstorming sessions and coming up with solutions. Try to think on your own, before you reach out to others with the problem.
You lack any problem solving capabilities, and will be stuck to execution for the rest of your career.
Constructive feedback is integral to organizational success. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
While performance management has been a key priority for organizations, for a long time, year end reviews were considered to be the most effective way to facilitate the same. However, recently organizations are observing a shift towards continuous performance management with an introduction of the performance management cycle. This article will focus on different aspects of the performance management cycle and how it enables unlocking the potential of high performance teams.
Before going into the diverse aspects, you should first understand what a performance management cycle essentially is. If you have an idea of what continuous performance management is, you’re already a step ahead in the understanding. Performance management cycle primarily is a way or a model in which you evaluate or focus on the performance of your employees throughout the year. The idea is to break down the different elements of employee performance into different stages and focus on them consistently. It starts with setting goals and ends with rewards for a job well done, which leads to setting of new goals and the performance management cycle resets.
While you may want to divide your performance management cycle into any number of stages, mostly there are four stages.
The first stage, at the very beginning of the performance management cycle, focuses on creating a plan for the performance ahead. The idea is to have a clear understanding on what your employee must achieve and how you will eventually review and evaluate them. During the planning stage, you and your team member, collectively should:
Thus, the planning stage of the performance management cycle sets the tone for the year ahead and ensures there is clarity at all levels.
Once the goals have been set in the planning stage, you enter the monitoring stage of the performance management cycle. This stage essentially focuses on ensuring that things are moving as planned. The idea is to ascertain that your team members are more or less on track for specific milestones outlined as a part of goal setting. Additionally, this stage will help you address any performance challenges that you may observe, sooner than later. Monitoring stage includes:
The monitoring stage essentially focuses on tracking the performance of your employees against the set goals to provide constructive feedback and help them perform better.
The third stage of the performance management cycle comes into existence towards the end. It involves reviewing the performance and providing ratings based on the established KPIs and metrics. While this is the formal review process, if you have been constantly monitoring the performance of your employees, this will essentially be a consolidation of all the reviews and feedback shared overtime. While delivering performance reviews, ensure that you:
Since you have been connecting regularly with your employees, the reviews will not come as a surprise to them, but will help you monitor the trends of their performance and guide the next stage for the employee’s professional growth.
Finally, the rewarding stage in the performance management cycle acts as a culmination to one cycle and sets stage for the commencement of the next. The objective is to take into account their performance over the performance management cycle and create a culture of rewards and recognition to celebrate and appreciate high performance. Some of the quick ways to reward your employees include, giving them:
This stage is important to make your employees feel valued and motivate them to keep the performance going. It will also push average performers to step up their efforts and enable you to create a high performance culture.
Now that you understand the various stages of a performance management cycle, let’s quickly look at why the performance management cycle is important for your organization. It will help you:
In addition to the above mentioned benefits, a performance management cycle can help you build a high performance culture in a number of ways. Some of the top aspects include:
What constitutes high performance can be abstract. For some, closing 5 deals can be high performance, for others, it might be closing 15. Planning stage in the performance management lifecycle will help your employees understand what constitutes high performance and thus, proceed towards it.
A key part of the performance management cycle is the rewards and recognition. When employees feel their performance is being valued and recognized, they tend to double up their efforts, leading to a high performance team.
Monitoring and tracking followed by 1-o-1 conversations can help you communicate with your employees regularly. Not only will you track their performance, but will also listen to their concerns or challenges and offer them feedback. Such conversations and feedback have a positive impact on performance, leading to a high performance culture.
One of the foundations of high performance is enabling your team members to undergo the right training. Performance management cycle can help you understand which training is important for your employees at which performance stage, realizing high quality results.
As a manager, there are several ways in which you can unlock the true potential of a performance management cycle. You are one of the key stakeholders who plays an important role in every stage of the cycle. Here are a few tips that can help you augment the effectiveness of the performance management cycle:
A performance management tool can significantly help you streamline your performance management cycle by offering the following benefits.
Get automated performance snapshots of your employee’s performance over the 9 box grid to track performance trends over time and provide reviews without recency bias.
Leverage guided templates with AI based suggestions for your 1:1 conversations with employees during the monitoring stage based on performance over time. Receive suggested talking points for goal-centered conversations.
Look at historic feedback to see improvement in performance and compare performance over time. You can also compare performance of peers over specific parameters.