Measuring Culture


Young businessman holding in hands huge ruler

EricaTU2-webBy Erica Salmon-Byrne
This post originally appeared on Ethisphere Insights

In the Q1 issue of Ethisphere Magazine, I wrote a piece called “Culture Matters.” I got a lot of great questions in response, and many of them asked for more detail on what to measure. I’ll use this series of blog posts to dig further into the eight criteria or “pillars” we look at when measuring culture, but if you haven’t read the original piece yet, you can find it here.

Measuring culture is a topic many companies struggle with – or have delegated to HR to handle through an engagement survey. It should be noted that while engagement is a critical component of culture, it isn’t a synonym – a good engagement survey is no substitute for a culture survey, because how someone feels about their benefits, their work environment and their colleagues is not a proxy for how likely they are to tell you when something’s gone wrong in the company. And at the end of the day, that’s your key metric – how likely are your employees to notice misconduct, and to tell you about it?

Two things that go into that metric:

  •  Awareness of Program and Resources – Do your employees understand all of the resources available to them? Can they identify multiple avenues to raise a concern? Do they know where to find the code and applicable policies? Will they read them? Have they read them? Look for questions that get to this concept, and you will have a sense of where in your organization you have risk.
  •  Perceptions of the Function – How effective is your ethics program, in your employees’ view? Do they like the training? Are you communicating effectively? In other words, are your efforts reaching the intended audience? Do they see any of the assets you’ve deployed, or are they languishing somewhere on the SharePoint site with no viewers? Couple questions on this topic with click metrics from your IT team, if they’re available, and you’re really getting somewhere.

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  1. Other metric possibilities:
    – How often employees approach Compliance with questions when in doubt?
    – How often and to what degree are ethics or compliance mentioned in leadership presentations?
    – How do employees respond to impromptu knowledge questionnaires – not just post-training questions?
    – How often do functions and departments include compliance training or discussions on their own initiative without been forced to?

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