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5 Questions to Gauge the Strength of Your Employee Culture

By Leo Ramirez Posted on March 21, 2017

Workplace culture is the environment created by your corporate values and vision. It is the personality and character of your company. Ideally, your company culture demonstrates a commitment to your mission and values. But that’s not always how it works out.

At its best, your workplace culture can strengthen your business, encourage employee engagement, and contribute to key metrics such as employee satisfaction and retention.

At its worst, your workplace culture can undermine your company’s core values, discourage potential employees, and increase turnover.

That’s a pretty big difference that can have a huge impact on your business. While nearly all companies recognize the influence of employee culture, most do not have any idea how to determine the strength (or weakness) of culture within their company.

Here are five questions that can help you gauge the strength of your employee culture:

1. Do You Know Your Employees’ Passions Outside of Work?

If you don’t know what drives your employees outside of work, you are missing their human side.

If you only know what your employees do for work, you don’t actually know your employees. What you know is their role within your company.

But employees are more than their job. We are all. What we do for a living is only one aspect of our lives.

Companies with a strong employee culture are not only aware of their employees’ passions beyond their job title, they find ways to support them.

2. Do You Know Why Your Employees are Unproductive?


Productivity has natural ebbs and flows within every company. The fact is, we all need a break now and again.

When you are in touch with your employee culture, you should be able to know when to give employees a little slack. You may intuitively know that the whole team can use a break after meeting a deadline or achieving a goal. But what about when it’s not the whole team, but only one or two people who need a little leeway.

If you understand and get to know your employees on an individual level, you can be more tuned into when they might need a break.

Everyone’s lives are different and no one is an automaton. Stressors or concerns in the rest of our lives can impact our productivity and how we feel about our team.

Employees carry the weight of life events, such as buying a new home or having a relative fall ill, into the workplace with them. If you are able to give employees a bit of break in these moments, they will remember.

Granting employee’s a little unproductive time when they need it can result in huge dividends in terms of employee satisfaction and later productivity.

3. Are You Checking In?

What systems do you have in place for employees to give you feedback?

You don’t have to schedule weekly meetings, but you should really be checking in with your employees at least once every seven days.

In a strong employee culture, your employees have an easy way to provide you with specific and regular feedback. And they know this feedback is heard and considered.

If you aren’t checking in regularly with your employees and are looking for a solution, 15five is great employee engagement software for exactly this purpose.

The idea is that employees spend 15 minutes a week to answer questions on everything from satisfaction and morale to productivity. Then, managers spend 5 minutes reading and responding to this feedback. When used regularly, 15five can provide you with valuable insight and ideas for improvement.

4. Are Your Employees Comfortable Telling You?


If you provide your employees with an outline to talk to you and they don’t, you may have a serious employee culture problem.

Employees need to know their manager will listen to their feedback and respect their thoughts and opinions. Even if you have an open door policy, employees often worry about reprisals or backlash for giving feedback that may be critical of the company.

But it is actually their criticism that you most need to hear if you are going to fix a problematic employee culture.

5. Is There a General Feeling of Respect Around the Office?

It is difficult to work with someone you don’t respect. It’s even harder to give your all working for someone you don’t respect.

That doesn’t mean your teams all needs to be best friends. Don’t conflate like with respect. We all have shortcomings. No one is perfect and some personalities will clash.

But even with the variety of personalities that make up your team, is there a general feeling of respect amongst colleagues?


A strong, positive employee culture can impact performance, employee satisfaction, even attract potential talent. The culture you foster can be the greatest support to your companies mission and vision or it can undermine it completely. If you found yourself stumped by these five questions, it may be time to do some work on your employee culture.


Workplace Culture, Benefits

Author: Leo Ramirez

Leo is the co-founder and CEO of Encast, an organization dedicated to improving the way CSR professions create, manage, and measure CSR programs. Leo is passionate about the role that culture plays in business success. Leo has launched and managed social ventures, lead multi-disciplinary teams, and built solid relationships with civic and corporate leaders. His 25-year career has spanned executive management, business development, consulting, nonprofit management, technical support and engineering positions with Southwest Key Programs, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Coremetrics, Trilogy and Apple.

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