Why assess workplace cultures? Because there are massive performance gains that can accrue from transforming them! We've got evidence from our own research that shows organisations can enjoy in the vicinity of 40% or more performance improvement from realistically improving their culture. As well as the performance improvement benefits, transformed cultures have higher employee engagement, less silo mentality and people demonstrate more initiative.
To transform your workplace culture you first need to understand the current culture. Once that has been done, you’ll gain insights into where change efforts need to be directed.
There are many tools that have been designed to assess workplace cultures. Yet our research tells us that every single one of these tools provides a standard template against which the organisation is measured and compared with others who have completed the identical tool. In addition, many tools are trying to measure every aspect of the culture – which can make things both tedious and confusing.
We think there’s a fundamental flaw with this approach.
Where Should Culture Measurement Start?
We’re convinced that the starting point for assessing workplace cultures should involve the organisation getting clear about its aspirational culture – the kind of culture that will ensure its future success while making it a great place to work.
Once those cultural attributes have been identified – and many times these are articulated as Values statements – leaders need to understand the current culture in relation to those aspects of the culture most important to the organisation’s future success.
That’s what our UGRs (or unwritten ground rules) Stock Take does. We help you gain clarity on the kind of culture necessary for your organisation to be truly successful – which might involve affirming current Values statements.
Then we shape our UGRs Stock Take tool to get an understanding of the UGRs that currently exist in relation to those most important cultural attributes or values.
We even provide international benchmarks as part of the results.
It's a tool that is completely different from any other culture measurement tool. And it has been used by the likes of Kmart Australia and New Zealand, McLaren Automotive in the UK, Next in the UK, Barclays Bank in Africa, Toyota Australia, Boost Juice in Australia and many, many others.
What is the Process for Doing a
UGRs Stock Take?
Step 1: Agreement on the aspirational culture.
This might mean affirming existing Values statements. Alternatively, we can use our Key Cultural Attributes (KCA) tool to help gain agreement on the KCAs necessary to ensure the organisation’s future success while making it a great place to work. The KCA tool lists off around 40 possible cultural attributes and people are invited online to 'spend' 100 points across as many or as few of those attributes as necessary to answer the question" 'What are the Key Cultural Attributes we need in place to ensure our future success and to make this a great place to work?’
We provide you a report and debrief the outcomes to come to agreement on no more than six final KCAs (which can be called Values).
Step 2: Finalising the content of the UGRs Stock Take.
Here, we craft ‘lead-in sentences’ linked to your final KCAs or Values (we’ll call these ‘Values from here on in). So if you have a Value of ‘Respect’, a possible lead-in sentence would be: 'Around here, people are treated…' If you had a Value of ‘Constant improvement’, we’d propose a lead-in sentence of ‘Around here, when someone comes up with a new idea…'
Our first pass would be a draft for you to consider, and we’d refine accordingly. Our recommendation is for a total of no more than 10 lead-in sentences. The online tool then lists each lead-in sentence with an open form text box next to it. Alongside that, we ask respondents to indicate whether their response has a positive, neutral or negative impact overall.
In addition to the lead-in sentences, we can include demographics which take the form of a pull-down menu. This could include for example the respondent's work area.
Step 3: Confirming the time
window for people to respond.
This is normally two weeks, but this can change depending on context. We can assist in shaping the content that goes to people inviting them to participate.
Step 4: Debrief of the results with the senior leadership team.
Normally in a session of at least half a day, we debrief the results with senior leaders. This session includes consideration of the key strategic actions that need to be take to address any issues from the UGRs Stock Take. This session also includes consideration of how the results will be shared with all employees to help gain their ownership of the culture – a key to enabling genuine culture transformation.
We can do this face to face or via interactive webinar technology.
If you’re serious about transforming your culture, then we know the UGRs Stock Take is a powerful first step that will shine a light on the current culture and will provide clear guidance on where energies need to be directed to genuinely transform and lock-in a great culture.