Using Employee Feedback to Create a Great Company Culture

March 22, 2023

By Theresa Harkins-Schulz
The pandemic and mass exodus of the Great Resignation gave organizational leaders a wake-up call: work culture needs to improve. Your organization already has a culture and you might think you know what it is — but your employees can tell you the real, whole story about the culture you actually have. And chances are, your culture could stand some improvement, even if you think your employees are happy.

And if your culture is worse than you think, you could be in trouble. In a 2022 survey by FlexJobs, 62% of people cited toxic company culture as the number one reason they quit their job.

Creating a thriving culture — one where your employees are happy and loyal and one that attracts top talent in this challenging hiring market — requires strategic, proactive effort. But the first step to creating a strategy for improving your culture is to find out what that culture actually is and gain insight into what your employees want from their work culture. The most effective way to do that is to ask the employees who experience your organizational culture every day.

Here are the steps to using employee feedback to create the culture you want.

Assess Your Culture Through Employee Feedback

Soliciting employee feedback is an effective way to measure your culture. The trouble is, that most organizations don’t do it frequently enough. An annual survey is not enough, especially when you know your culture needs improvement and you are actively working on it.

Trade in your once-a-year touchpoint for diagnostic tools that collect feedback in real-time so you can look for themes that reoccur. Dig deeper into employee insights using employee feedback surveys.

Inspirus has teamed up with the human insights partner The Happiness Index to offer their employee feedback surveys — on cultural assessment, diversity, equity and inclusion, vision and values, well-being and mental health, and more — via the Connects employee engagement platform! the 18+ surveys are based on neuroscience, providing deep insights into people’s motivations and priorities based on human psychology and behavior.

A few examples:

  • The Cultural Assessment Survey provides a baseline measurement of an organization’s cultural health, using neuroscientific methodology to evaluate employee engagement and happiness.
  • The Values Index Survey measures how aligned employees feel with the organization’s vision and values.
  • The Recognition Impact Index Survey reveals whether employees feel recognized and collects feedback about the impact of the organization’s rewards and recognition program.

Each of these surveys, along with the others, is available to Connects users, via the platform. They are specifically designed to help leaders understand their organization’s culture and reveal opportunities for improvement.

Define Your Ideal Culture

Organizational leaders set goals and targets for all sorts of business endeavors but the vision for culture is often vague and difficult to measure. It’s time to change that. Create a definition of culture based on your organization’s values, vision, and present reality. This serves as the foundation for your strategic plan and directs how it operates and its brand promise — both internally and externally. Once the assessment is complete, you can align the feedback gathered with your values and vision and see where the gaps are. For instance, if you want work/life balance to be an organizational value and the feedback reveals managers are overstepping the 9-to-5 boundaries, you have just identified a specific, actionable opportunity for improvement.

In addition to communicating with your people about your cultural goals and doing the work to clean up behavioral outliers, you can actively work to encourage the behaviors that reflect your organizational values. Rewarding and recognizing people who act in alignment with the organization’s mission and values is an effective way to positively reinforce the culture you want to build.

Use Employee Feedback to Drive Transformation

Cultural transformation is a long-term initiative, and it means working toward aligning your culture (as it is right now) with your organization’s mission, purpose, and values—all aimed at the business outcomes that matter most to you. This is a critically important step. Once you’ve conducted a thorough assessment and defined what you want your culture to be, you set out to craft a plan to get there. Your plan should be people-centric and directly address the themes you found in your employee feedback. Additionally, your plan should include timelines for gathering employee feedback and for meeting specific metrics, so you can measure the improvements in your culture’s health over time.

Your People Are Your Culture

If you’re seeing high turnover and low productivity, and you’re having trouble attracting quality talent, your culture may need work. And it’s important to remember that you can’t heal a toxic work culture overnight. But whether your culture needs a complete overhaul or just a few tweaks, the key to improving it is the same: assess where you are, set goals for where you want to go, and keep your ears (and mind) open to what employees have to say about the culture they experience and the culture they would thrive in.

Even organizations with fantastic cultures need to do this work because culture is not a “set it and forget it” component of any organization. Continuously prioritizing culture — and actively working to improve it — is the key to keeping employees engaged and boosting retention, which reduces the costs and hassle associated with employee turnover.