EngagementCultureCreating a cultural temperature test

Creating a cultural temperature test

Can creating a cultural temperature test enhance culture and business performance? Aga Bajer, culture expert, makes the case for effective culture strategies.

How can leaders ensure that the culture they’re creating is effective? Creating a cultural temperature test can be the winning formula for cracking this issue. To delve deeper into creating an effective culture and the biggest challenges that follow on from doing so, HRD Connect spoke to culture expert Aga Bajer, Founder & CEO, Culture Strategy Consulting. 


What must business leaders do to create an effective strategy around culture? 

The essential foundations of an effective culture strategy consist of a clear and shared purpose, vision and business strategy. Without clarity on why your team or organisation exists, what dent you want to make in the world and how you plan on doing it, it’s impossible to know what culture will be an effective enabler of your future success. 

As soon as the foundations are in place, the next step is aligning your culture with your purpose, vision and strategy. The alignment process starts with identifying the current, operating cultural “algorithms” and evaluating which of them serve the team’s or organisation’s purpose, vision and strategy and which don’t. 

While the process above might sound relatively straightforward on paper, it can be very challenging to assess the current culture and I would advise working with a professional who has the necessary experience and can provide you with guidance.  

How can companies assess what culture works best for their business? 

One of the most dangerous myths about culture is that you can find a recipe for what people often refer to as “the winning” or “high-performance” culture. Leaders, teams and entire organisations buy into this myth and look for a “winning culture mould” to help them shape a great culture. But when you look close enough, with a decent amount of intellectual rigour, you will realise that…the only thing successful cultures have in common is… success itself.  

So how can you know what culture works best for your business? Look at what’s already there. Explore which of the existing mindsets, beliefs, assumptions, values and behavioural patterns contribute to business success and which are the ones that stand in the way. 

What are the biggest challenges with instilling an effective culture? 

The number one challenge in instilling an effective culture is that it’s virtually impossible to implement the same strategy across the whole organisation. Like all complex systems, organisations and teams are dynamic. The needs of individual departments and teams within them are often unique. Additionally, they shift and evolve with time. 

One of the reasons why many cultural interventions fail is because they try to address the organisation as a whole. However, “one size fits all” does not work when it comes to culture. Your accounting department and your marketing will most probably need to focus on entirely different things to close the gap between the current and desired culture.  

Therefore, an important and frequently overlooked step in drafting an effective culture strategy is identifying the current cultural evolution needs at a group level. 

Here are five distinct needs that emerged from my research and practical experience. Each of them will require a different strategy and approach:

  1. Inception: creating a shared cultural identity – usually when a group comes together or a company is founded
  2. Reinforcement: strengthening the positive aspects of the existing culture
  3. Reorientation: returning to the cultural roots after losing the way
  4. Rehab: detoxing or healing a dysfunctional culture
  5. Evolution: evolving the culture to keep up with external or internal changes

What can businesses do to receive continuous feedback on their culture? What data can companies rely on? 

Many organisations use culture surveys, such as Human Synergistic’s Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI) or Denison Organizational Culture Survey (DOCS) and follow their progress by carrying out the survey every year or every two years. Others use different tools, including AI, to analyse large sets of data. It’s also increasingly popular to appoint Cultural Ambassadors who are responsible for facilitating the cultural evolution and who carry out qualitative culture health-checks, following a protocol that includes observation, conversations and team discussions. 

What's Hot

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World 5 May 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for...

Attracting new talent is shooting up the priority list, but also proving more difficult than ever. After the effort of finding the right person, are w...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments 26 May 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture ...

The process of redefining a company culture is a complex one. Culture contributes directly to the day-to-day experience of employees, and many leaders...

View event
Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

Whitepaper | Talent Development Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

3m

Learning to win the talent war: how digital market...

This report documents the findings of a Fireside chat held by ClickZ in the first quarter of 2022. It provides expert insight on how companies can ret...

View resource
HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce 5 May 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging ...

We know hybrid working is here to stay, forcing many organisations to experiment with innovative and creative strategies from 4-day working weeks to u...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain 3 March 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What...

We know the pandemic has caused many people to revaluate their careers and relationships with work and have been seeing the impact in global trends in...

View event
Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

Leadership Development Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

7m Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simpl...

HR thought leader Dave Ulrich outlines ways leaders can deal with complexity in an increasingly busy world, including how to think critically and turn...

View article
HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making 5 May 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Org...

Historically, HR hasn’t been as effective as it could be in sharing and communicating data with wider teams. It’s paramount that we remove the self-in...

View event
Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

Digital HR Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

7m Leah Belsky

Digital transformation investment grows but critic...

Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of digital learning on a global scale. Coursera's latest report provides an update on employee proficiency in a numb...

View article
Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successfully drive engagement

Employee Engagement Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successfully drive engagement

7m Alara Basul | Sponsored

Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successf...

Remote working has impacted the way we communicate as a workforce, but striking the right balance between creating an engaged workforce and a successf...

View article
How to create a company culture capable of empowering the modern workforce

Culture How to create a company culture capable of empowering the modern workforce

7m Alara Basul | Sponsored

How to create a company culture capable of empower...

While new working patterns that emerged from the pandemic have earned a permanent spot in the workplace, creating a purpose-driven culture based ...

View article
WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid workplace

Leadership Learnings WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid workplace

7m Amy Kirkham

WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid wo...

Alison Noon-Jones, VP of People & Culture at Leidos UK & Europe, shares how crucial employee engagement and participation is when shaping the people s...

View article
Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your leadership

Leadership Development Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your leadership

7m Terence Mauri

Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your...

HRD thought leader and Hack Future Lab founder Terence Mauri sets out why the biggest risk to leadership is not turbulence itself, but leading with ye...

View article

What impact can a positive/negative culture have on a business?

It’s widely accepted that a healthy culture drives business results in a way that nothing else can. Today, we have plenty of evidence that supports that.  

According to the most recent 2019 OC Tanner culture study, when organisations have a thriving culture, employees rate their satisfaction with employee experience 102% higher. 

Moreover, thriving cultures are:

  • 6x more likely to have promoters on the net promoter score
  • 8x more likely to have a high incidence of great work
  • 13x more likely to have highly engaged employees
  • 3x less likely to have layoffs
  • 2x more likely to have a significant increase in revenues
  • 3x less likely to have employees experiencing burn out
  • 7x more likely to have employees innovating 

To mention just one of the consequence of having less than optimal cultures, 79% of employees in those companies are found to suffer from burnout. Companies with moderate-to-severe burnout have a 376% decrease in the odds of having highly engaged employees, 87% decrease in likelihood to stay, 22% decreased work output and 41% decrease in the perception of the employee experience. 

Aga Bager is a culture strategist working with leaders and teams around the globe to help them shape a culture that brings their vision to life.

Comments are closed.

What's Hot

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World 5 May 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for...

Attracting new talent is shooting up the priority list, but also proving more difficult than ever. After the effort of finding the right person, are w...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments 26 May 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture ...

The process of redefining a company culture is a complex one. Culture contributes directly to the day-to-day experience of employees, and many leaders...

View event
Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

Whitepaper | Talent Development Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

3m

Learning to win the talent war: how digital market...

This report documents the findings of a Fireside chat held by ClickZ in the first quarter of 2022. It provides expert insight on how companies can ret...

View resource
HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce 5 May 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging ...

We know hybrid working is here to stay, forcing many organisations to experiment with innovative and creative strategies from 4-day working weeks to u...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain 3 March 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What...

We know the pandemic has caused many people to revaluate their careers and relationships with work and have been seeing the impact in global trends in...

View event
Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

Leadership Development Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

7m Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simpl...

HR thought leader Dave Ulrich outlines ways leaders can deal with complexity in an increasingly busy world, including how to think critically and turn...

View article
HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making 5 May 2022

3m

HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Org...

Historically, HR hasn’t been as effective as it could be in sharing and communicating data with wider teams. It’s paramount that we remove the self-in...

View event
Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

Digital HR Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

7m Leah Belsky

Digital transformation investment grows but critic...

Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of digital learning on a global scale. Coursera's latest report provides an update on employee proficiency in a numb...

View article