The Value of a Cultural Audit

by | Mar 20, 2019

Does your corporate culture need a minor tweaking or, a major overhaul with a cultural audit?

 

It’s important for organisations to keep an eye on their workplace cultures, particularly those striving for diversity and inclusion

Carrying out a cultural audit is complex and nuanced. Workplace culture is frequently referenced by phrases such as “this is the way we do things around here.” People are hired for being “a great fit” and rejected or fired because they don’t fit in. Very often there is an unspoken and definitely unwritten code around the protocols of working and doing business. Sometimes an organisation can have several different cultures under its umbrella with individual departments operating as cultural silos.

The culture of any workplace contributes to the success and the health of an organization. Because it is invisible and intangible it is difficult to identify and explain the different elements that make up the whole. When it’s hard to name and describe something precisely, working out what is behind it can be even more challenging. Very often we don’t understand until things go wrong. This why it’s critical to have a cultural audit carried out by a neutral party.

Whether your corporate culture is in need of a minor tweaking or, a major overhaul, it’s never too late to begin the journey of improving the way your organisation does business.

cultural audit

What Is Workplace Culture?

Organisational culture is a loosely defined term. It’s not just about providing an open bar on a Friday. It is a combination of the values and key drivers that are usually embodied by the leadership team. If the CEO is collaborative and an open communicator it is highly likely that the company will follow his example and how employees experience his style. These impact employee values, behaviours, communication styles, interactions and expectations. The culture will be reflected in the leadership philosophy, the reward and recognition system and benefit programmes.

Culture and health

When an organisation runs smoothly and meets its goals there is an assumption that the culture is working well. The benefits of a positive workplace culture are numerous and are generally reflected in effective teams and strong business results. Very often business leaders don’t understand the impact of a toxic culture until things start to go wrong when the impact on the business success can be significant. In a poor workplace culture employee engagement, motivation and trust tend to be low. There might be high turnover, a lack of innovation and a “complain not learn” mentality. Perhaps organisations see an increase in absenteeism or even mental health issues.

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The value of carrying out a cultural audit

It’s important for organisations to keep an eye on their workplace cultures, particularly those striving for diversity and inclusion. Carrying out a cultural audit will give leaders a handle on employee experience and internal communication as well as highlighting potential disruptive or subversive issues that may have been festering for some time.

Although a cultural audit is best carried out by a third party, managers themselves can shine a light on some of the key areas to get some idea of what is going on. This is what they should check up on and at least compile the facts.

What is the leadership style? Is it open and collaborative or closed and hierarchical?

What is the company’s value and vision statement? Is it stated clearly is there a different sub text?

How diverse is the company? Does it favour any particular demographic?

How do people feel? Do the feel valued and appreciated?

Do you tolerate toxic behaviours? How do you deal with them when they occur?

What infra-structures are in place to handle to run the company or manage conflict or disagreements? Is it top down or open discussion?

 How much autonomy do employees have? Are there multiple approval layers in the decision-making processes?

What is the communication style? Is there an up down communication policy or are edicts issued periodically and imperiously from on high?

How are employees recognised and rewarded? Are certain types of behaviours preferred over others and rewarded accordingly?

How are tasks completed? Is the emphasis on collaboration or individual achievement?

How is the office laid out? Are there separate areas for senior management?

How are mistakes dealt with? Does the company encourage risk?

What do customers say about you? How do you sit on the market?

Culture isn’t a magic bullet for success, but it is critical to creating diverse and inclusive teams.

Our mission at 3Plus is to help you build diverse teams, contact us to find out how we can help

 

3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Leadership and Competence Building or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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