How to Measure & Improve Company Culture

March 2, 2018

Why Does Company Culture Matter?

Company culture refers to the values and behaviors that contribute to the social and psychological environment of an organization. It’s also commonly referred to as corporate culture, or organizational culture.

If you’ve ever worked at a company with a toxic culture, then you know how draining it can be. A dark force begins to consume the office, energy and morale is low, and complaining and gossiping are commonplace.

A toxic culture causes lasting damage to organizations, and is a common catalyst for turnover of top talent. Once a company develops the reputation of having an unhealthy company culture, it can be incredibly difficult to recruit quality employees.

There’s no getting around the fact that we spend a lot of time at work. So, it’s understandable that people want to spend their time in a healthy, comfortable, and dare we say… joy-filled environment. 

But maintaining a positive, efficient, and collaborative company culture can be challenging, and it requires continuous effort. If the appropriate resources and efforts are not dedicated to establishing and sustaining a healthy organizational culture, then businesses will fall victim to low morale and sub-optimal production.

An unhealthy company culture will have a direct negative impact on an organization’s bottom line. Therefore, it’s imperative that organizations prioritize the measuring and improvement of culture on a regular basis.

How to Recognize a Toxic Company Culture

Toxic company cultures have become so common in today’s business landscape that conversations surrounding work are often soul sucking pits of despair. 

Too many people dread going to work on Mondays, live for the weekend, or simply try to spend as little time at the office as possible.

But why is that? And does this have to be the case? 

How can companies begin to prioritize company culture moving forward?

The first step is being able to recognize a toxic culture.

Below are five diagnostic symptoms of an unhealthy organizational culture, according to Choose People.

Five Symptoms of a Toxic Company Culture

  1. There’s no smiling, joking, or chit-chat. This can be tough to self-diagnose, but someone with fresh eyes and ears stepping into your office will be able to tell immediately that instead of a vibrant energy, there’s a stifling, oppressive, tension-filled atmosphere.

  2. Employees are too concerned about titles, job descriptions, and levels of hierarchy. Status, visibility, perks, and power are more important to employees than fulfilling the overall company mission.

  3. Fear rules the roost. When employees are afraid of getting in trouble, they keep their heads down until they find another opportunity. Unfortunately, those who don’t leave are the ones who are accustomed to leading a fear-filled existence in the workplace. Fear is the quickest way to squelch innovation, loyalty, and joy.

  4. There’s a wall between leadership and frontline staff. When these two groups barely interact – your culture is in serious trouble. If when they do interact, it’s simply leadership telling the employee what to do, that employee will become uninspired and morale will decrease.

  5. A forum to speak candidly and constructively doesn’t exist. It’s far too common for employees to be frustrated and to not have a safe place to speak openly about their concerns.

The Impact of Employee Engagement & Employee Satisfaction on Company Culture

Employee engagement and employee satisfaction are both terms that are commonly discussed around while addressing company culture.

While both of these terms are relevant to, and have an impact on organizational culture, it’s important to understand the differences between the two.

Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction

Employee engagement occurs when an employee is committed to helping their company achieve all of its goals. Employees that are engaged are motivated to show up to work every day and do everything within their power to help their companies succeed.

Employee satisfaction is the state of an employee enjoying their job. It’s important to note here that an employee can be satisfied, but not necessarily engaged. Picture the employee who shows up to work early and leaves late without contributing much to the end goal of the company. That employee can be satisfied, but they certainly are not engaged.

Maintaining both employee engagement and employee satisfaction is essential for businesses aiming to have a healthy company culture. 

These businesses need to benchmark and consistently measure both employee satisfaction and engagement in order to best reach their goals. 

To achieve this, it’s imperative to implement a systematic strategy for tracking and improving company culture. 

How to Improve Company Culture

In order to improve company culture, organizations must first perform data-driven culture audits. These audits will serve as a baseline, and the feedback received from them will inform leadership of the best ways to improve culture.

Two powerful tools that can be leveraged while auditing company culture are Employee Engagement & Workplace Happiness surveys and 360 reviews.

Employee Engagement & Workplace Happiness Surveys

An efficient Employee Engagement & Workplace Happiness survey can reveal the truth about how employees really feel about their work environment. 

By receiving detailed, personalized, yet anonymous feedback from employees, leadership is able to obtain the foundation of data necessary to make improvements to their company culture.

Alchemer offers a ready-to-use Employee Engagement & Workplace Happiness survey template that allows organizations to receive the honest feedback from employees that allows them to optimize company culture.

Check out our Employee Engagement & Workplace Happiness survey template here to start building a happier company culture today.

360 Reviews 

360 reviews are a professional feedback tool designed to help anyone from a CEO to a store clerk develop and hone their professional skills, so that engagement rises across the organization. 

While most organizations provide employees with standardized annual or semi-annual reviews, these reviews often only consider the feedback of the employees’ supervisors. 

By only garnering feedback from an employee’s manager alone, perspective on performance is limited. 

These single-perspective reviews rarely provide feedback that leads to professional development of the employee. This is because these reviews usually only address the level of success or failure in performing the current job duties of the employee, and not much more.

360 reviews differ from performance reviews in this manner, as their primary goal is to help people develop business and interpersonal skills. This then leads to enhanced employee engagement, which in turn boosts satisfaction, and ultimately the health of the overall company culture.

360 reviews focus on three key pieces of feedback:

  1. Identifying a starting point for the development of new skills. 

  2. Measuring progress as the subject works on skills over time.

  3. Identifying the personal blind spots of behavior and the impact that everyone has but never notices.

While a standard performance review focuses on the success of the job an employee is doing, a 360 Review is about the employee themselves. THAT’s why they have such an impact on engagement, and the general health of the company culture.


The health of company culture should be prioritized by leadership across industries, size of the organization, and any other variables.

Employee engagement and employee satisfaction are both factors in overall cultural health, and therefore they must be taken under consideration. By boosting employee engagement on a case by case basis, the health of the company culture will be enhanced as well.

Distributing Employee Engagement & Workplace Happiness surveys allows businesses to receive authentic feedback in regard to how employees feel about the company culture.

Finally, 360 reviews are a great way to invest in employees so that engagement rises accordingly.

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