The Ultimate Guide to Building Organizational Culture


The Ultimate Guide to Building Organizational Culture

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3 recommended techniques to use feedback to build, shape, and improve culture

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

Bill Gates, Founder, Microsoft

Now that we understand the importance of culture, its metrics, and the role of feedback in measuring those metrics, let’s focus on 3 recommended frameworks to generate and use employee feedback in developing organisational culture.

  1. Cultural Conversations

This is perhaps the simplest framework to understand and execute, though not by far the easiest. It involves approaching feedback collection directly from the source, without filter, anonymity, or moderation. One of the key components to be mindful of is to choose the right participants that accurately represent the employee workforce and its many layers.

Methodology: 1:1 conversation with a select set of participants from across the organisation


Before the conversation:

-    Set aside 30-45 minutes to conduct the conversation

-    Choose a day and time at which the meeting participant will be fully present in the conversation without facing distractions

-    Inform the agenda in advance and let the participant know that you intend to have a free-wheeling discussion

-    Prepare your questions before the discussion to ensure all points get covered

-    You will need to take notes during the discussion; a great way to do this is to record the conversation with permission from the participant

During the conversation:

-    Ask open-ended questions that let the participant share their thoughts freely

-    Encourage the participant to share experiences through stories to substantiate their views

-    Listen actively without applying your judgment or own lens of thinking

-    Notice nonverbal behaviours such as facial expressions, gestures, tone, volume, etc.

Participants: It is important to get a cross-section of your employee base involved in these conversations.

-    Senior leaders with the power to influence the organisation’s strategic direction

-    Senior/middle management who execute company strategy,

-    First-level producers/employees who will perform the transactional duties

Suggested questions by Superbeings as per our framework discussed prior:

-    What are the company’s greatest strengths?

-    Which aspects do you think need improvement?

-    What are some personal values that you hold?

-    Which of these would you like demonstrated in the organisation?

-    What are typical behaviours that our leaders demonstrate often?

-    What drives our employees when they perform their best?

-    What behaviours must one exhibit to be successful in this organisation?

-    What behaviours might come in the way of the progress of our organisation?

-    Which aspects of the organisation make you feel proud about working here?

Evaluation technique

-    Based on your notes, classify the responses to each question and add these to a common repository

-    Identify patterns and commonalities between responses across employee cohorts

-    Bucket common behaviours and identify values underlying these

-    Draft a value name and statement for each of these sets of behaviours

-    During the conversation, participants may have shared certain underlying assumptions. These must be classified separately from their responses to determine common themes

Application of findings

-    Loopback in with your key stakeholders to validate your observations and findings

-    The process may require 1-2 iterations to crystallize a set of values and cultural themes

-    Engage the leadership team to determine which aspects of the culture they would like to change to suit strategic requirements

-    Build hypotheses around these that could get tested through employee feedback


It is recommended to review the findings and their relevance in the organisation by conducting the entire exercise annually. The participants should be a mix of new respondents and those from the previous session. Compare findings year on year, evaluate their alignment with the strategic initiatives undertaken, and generate reports on their success parameters.

2. Pulse survey


-    A pulse survey is short and conducted frequently at regular intervals. It has a few questions, preferably under 10, to ensure stakeholder interest and retain engagement.

-    The objective is to gauge employee pulse on a set of parameters over a while and measure the performance of engagement efforts.

-    An employee pulse survey aims to get data-driven insights into the overall employee experience and track whether it is transforming for the better or worse. 


-    Determine length

Identify the number of questions to ask in the survey, preferably single digit. Some organisations have even tried having just one focused question, which has generated valuable insights.

-    Determine frequency and schedule

Based on the number of questions, decide how frequently the survey should go out and on which days of the week/month. Invariably, length and frequency are inversely proportional. This means that the lesser the number of questions, the more frequently it can be conducted, without causing survey fatigue.

-    Identify parameters to measure

To create a survey, it is important to identify the culture metrics that need to be measured. While a long survey might capture all parameters at once, a shorter one like a pulse survey needs to be crisp and direct. Based on the frequency and length, choose one theme like Work-Life Balance or Creativity & Innovation and share questions on the same for a particular time frame. 

-    Identify the mode of use

Any pulse survey you create must focus on the user experience it can deliver. Identify the device your employees most use to answer the survey and make sure the survey is calibrated for a positive experience. This would determine the number of words in each question, the format, etc.

What questions to ask?

Below are some sample questions we consider at Superbeings, which is based on the framework we discussed prior:

-    How happy and satisfied are you at work?

-    Do you feel confident about sharing your opinions?

-    How often are you appreciated for your work?

-    Do you have a clear understanding of the benefits and incentives offered?

-    Are you satisfied with the current wellness practices?

-    Do you have a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities?

-    Would you recommend others to work here?

-    How would you rate the learning and development opportunities presented to you?

-    How much do you trust the organisation’s leadership?

-    What do you think about the work culture?

-    How open and transparent is the communication at all levels?

-    Do you face any challenges in communicating with your colleagues and managers?

-    How often does your manager take interest in your career development?

-    How often does the leadership seek your feedback?

-    Are you satisfied with your growth in the company?

-    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

-    Do you have access to all the resources to unlock your potential?

-    Do you feel motivated to give your 100%?

-    Do you feel like a valued member of the organisation?

-    Do you think you are a perfect fit for your role?

·   Insight Generation and Implementation

Use an effective pulse survey tool like Superbeings to collate and analyze survey results. The exercise then moves to effective and transparent communication of results and the generation of actionable insights using results uncovered. It concludes with the implementation of initiatives/steps to improve/change the organisational metrics addressed in the survey.

Benefits of doing a Pulse survey

-    Quick turnaround

Short and crisp, they are to the point and don’t require a lot of thought. Hence, they take less time to complete and employees can respond to a pulse survey much faster than a regular long annual survey which requires greater time and attention.

-    Real-time insights

Since pulse surveys are conducted frequently, they can deliver real-time insights. It is important for organisations to address any issue from the very beginning rather than to wait for the year to end. Real-time insights from an employee pulse survey can empower organisations to make alterations and changes in their approach to engagement as early as possible and gauge their effectiveness.

-    Higher rate of completion

Given the limited number of questions, the rate of completion for a pulse survey is significantly higher. When employees don’t have to answer lengthy subjective questions that require a lot of thinking and structuring, their response rate is much higher. 

-    Greater engagement

While the primary objective of an employee pulse survey is to measure engagement, they also gradually become a source of augmenting engagement. Contributing to these surveys becomes a part of their routine and as employees see the impact of their responses in real-time, they tend to become more vested in the exercise.

-    Display value

Frequent surveys demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to its employees. Annual surveys are typically perceived as a check in the box and don’t excite much employee confidence. However, frequent surveys build employee trust in the organisation’s intent to listen to their voice, make efforts to address the gaps between expectation and reality, and improve their wellbeing.

-    Directed focus

Pulse survey makes directed focus possible. Unlike annual surveys which seek to cover a vast range of subjects, pulse surveys enable organisations to work at a micro-level and fix one culture metric at a time with a directed focus. This way, each aspect of engagement gets adequate attention and makes it strategically actionable.

3. Employee engagement Software/Tools

What are Employee engagement software solutions?

They offer curated tools for engagement and manager development designed to help managers streamline their day-to-day operations. The platform collects daily employee feedback on the organisation's culture, manager leadership capabilities, and the nature of the individual's work over existing chat platforms such as Slack and MS Teams. It provides users with the right mix of tools, insights, and learning needed to continuously develop and motivate their teams.

How do they work?

Employee engagement software helps organisations obtain and track feedback from their employees, provide rewards and recognition, and promote positive activity. Employee engagement tools are used to draw actionable insights from employee feedback.

Most commonly implemented in HR departments as either a supplemental tool or direct replacement for the traditional performance review process, employee engagement tool solicits employee feedback through pulse surveys, - short surveys sent to employees at regular intervals with a curated list of questions - designed to generate insights on employee engagement. Employee engagement software is often implemented as a standalone solution, though some HR management suites may offer employee engagement tools as part of an integrated suite.

Is it really worth investing in another software tool? Yes, it is. Let’s review why.

Benefits of using Employee Engagement Tools:

Increases employee engagement

Employee engagement software is more than just an internal chatting tool. Being able to react to one another and to clients in real-time by collaborating on solutions, through communication increases employee engagement and makes them feel one with the organisation’s larger vision.

Gives employees a voice

Employee engagement software helps employees and managers to gauge, in real-time, how everyone really feels. Most softwares have the feature to conduct surveys, provide feedback, offer support and appreciation to employees, and coach new hires as they develop. This makes employees feel valued, especially when their feedback or suggestions are heard and implemented by management.

Improves onboarding

New employees can start to feel at home and comfortable much faster when they have access to a communication platform that connects them to all their new colleagues and management in real-time.

Improves retention rates

Employee engagement software helps employees find more ways to connect with their team and their leaders consistently, receiving feedback and appreciation through an instant communication platform. This process will also help employees connect with how their own role fits into the larger goals of the company.

Increases productivity

An engaged employee is a productive employee. When people know their value and how their work impacts the organisation, they’re more likely to contribute at a higher level and push themselves beyond the minimum requirements of their position. Employees will feel more invested in their responsibilities and they’ll drive more growth and success for the business.

If you need help in understanding the right feedback framework that you can apply for your organisation, contact our team today for guidance - Book Demo

Using Feedback to develop, optimize and transform culture
Use of technology to gather and analyse employee feedback

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