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Cultural Audit – UPDATED 2021 – Processes, Surveys & Templates

Cultural Audit – UPDATED 2021 – Processes, Surveys & Templates
Cultural Audit – UPDATED 2021 – Processes, Surveys & Templates
Cultural audit is the process where we describe all the aspects of a particular organisational culture. Here's how a cultural audit is done in 2021.
Cultural Audit – UPDATED 2021 – Processes, Surveys & Templates
Cultural Audit – UPDATED 2021 – Processes, Surveys & Templates

Though the health of a company's culture plays a big part in its success, it is often not visible to those immersed in it. This makes it difficult to understand what the corporate culture is and what areas need improvement. As it is hard to define, most organizations find it difficult to cultivate their own culture. This is why cultural audits are important.

Cultural audits reflect back the culture to you so that you can better understand how to improve your workplace environment and hire employees that thrive well in your corporate culture. Let us discuss the cultural audit processes and their components to get a clear picture of the corporate culture and make your organization a more productive and enjoyable place. 

Cultural Audit – A Complete Guide

Cultural Audit – A Complete Guide

Organizational culture is a broad term that encompasses different aspects of a company's environment. Positive workplace culture is where employees are satisfied and happy, morale is high, staff turnover is low, productivity is high and sales exceed targets. The opposite is seen in poor workplace culture.

While this illustrates the impact of culture on performance, not every organization's culture can be classified as positive and negative. Even in organizations with a good corporate culture, there is always room for small improvements which make a big difference to the bottom line.

A cultural audit is not a measure of the performance of an employee or team. It essentially evaluates the working environment, internal communications, and employee engagement. It also identifies rules and norms governing interactions and communication barriers that could result in bigger issues if not corrected on time.

A cultural audit improves the organization's effectiveness as you get to know what matters the most to clients and employees about your organization. Knowing your culture's strengths provides a guide to find and hire employees that fit the organization's culture well.

A cultural audit even helps identify gaps in the organization. For example, you might have a vision of being an innovative company but the culture may not promote innovation and you never get there. Comparing the current and ideal corporate culture helps facilitate required changes to achieve long-term goals. 

Cultural Audit Process – Getting Started

Cultural Audit Process

As you get immersed in daily tasks, workplace culture gets almost invisible. A cultural audit allows taking a step back and focus on a key indicator of the organization's health. Some companies conduct their cultural audit by setting up a team of employees from different departments while others hire external consultants to be able to see a fresh perspective.

If you are not sure whether your culture is as positive as you want, somebody from the outside can get a more honest response from employees. When you are doubtful about where your culture stands, you can conduct an internal cultural audit that guides your decisions further. It is important to note that culture is not static and continues evolving with changes in the staff and operational environment.

To get started with a cultural audit, you act as an observer and take a cultural walk through the office, making notes without disturbing the work being done. Here are some of the things you should observe while taking a walk:

The physical layout – Try to find out how common areas are being used, who uses what space, and what you can find about employee relationships from this information.

The office mood – See whether people in the organization look busy, excited, happy, discouraged, indifferent, or withdrawn. Observe whether they greet you with a smile as you pass by. Look at the emotions – things that don't matter generally don't excite or upset people. Observe conflicts and disagreements and try to find out what these disagreements suggest about your values.

Things around the office – The objects seen around the office depict a lot about the culture. A company with no plants, family pictures, and other hangings in the workspace probably has a poor culture. 

Cultural Audit Survey

Cultural Audit Survey

A cultural audit survey is an important tool in the process of evaluating organizational culture. The benefit of undertaking a wholescale survey is that you get the views of more staff as compared to a sample group. An anonymous survey would also give the employees a chance to speak honestly without any fear. Setting up a cultural survey is quite straightforward and can be done with the help of Google form or intranet. Once set up, the survey can be used multiple times to get valuable data to measure cultural performance.

A cultural audit survey completed by all the employees in your organization gives you access to feedback from different types of employees. Here is what your survey should comprise of:

  • Understanding of company goals. The survey should ask whether the employees think their work impacts company goals. It should find out if they know how they fit into the company structure.
  • Relationship with teams. Questions in the survey should help you understand how employees are committed to their co-workers and teams. Do they enjoy working with the team? Do the colleagues inspire them to give their best? Do they feel pride in being members of the team?
  • Feeling valued. The survey should ask whether the employees feel valued for their work. Do they think they receive fair compensation for their efforts?
  • Feeling supported. Ask whether the employees feel their managers support their growth. Are they comfortable approaching the human resources team if they have a problem? Do they think the company supports inclusion at the workplace?
  • Decision-making and priorities. The survey questions should ask what employees think about decision-making in the organization. What, according to them, are the key priorities for the company?
  • Principles and values. Questions should also try to find whether employee values match those of the company. What are the most important values in the organization?

Survey questions should be customized to get the necessary information to describe the culture in your organization in the best possible way. 

Organizational Cultural Audit Questionnaire

Interviews are another useful component of a cultural audit that helps dig deeper into the organizational culture. You can select some employees from different levels and departments to get a representative sample. It can be either a one-on-one interview or a group discussion. A questionnaire held by a skilled facilitator would result in rich and useful discussions about the organizational culture. Here are some of the things a Organizational Culture Audit Questionnaire can focus on:

  • How would you describe your workplace culture to a friend?
  • How do you describe the leadership style in the company?
  • If you were given a chance to change one thing in the company, what would that be and why?
  • What are the primary goals of the organization?
  • How diverse is your workforce?
  • Do you feel supported and valued by the organization? Do your co-workers feel the same?
  • Is the company's mission communicated clearly to employees?
  • Are you free to take initiative with your everyday work or need to confirm with the manager first?
  • How does the company reward and recognize employees?
  • How are conflicts, mistakes, and crises handled?
  • What are the unwritten rules in the organization?
  • How transparent is the organization?
  • What is the communication style in the company?
  • How are clients and employees treated?
  • What advice would you give to new employees?

The list of questions is not exhaustive but should serve as a guide. The aim of a questionnaire in a cultural audit is to dig deeper to uncover the real views of staff on the organization's corporate culture. 

Culture Audit Template & Samples

Looking at the significance of a cultural audit for the overall health and productivity of an organization, one can get started with mini-audits to gain insight into the company's corporate culture and identify key problem areas. This is where culture audit sample questionnaires and templates prove to be useful. These tools make it easy to determine the culture and devise measures to improve it.

The assessment survey samples gather information for supervisors and managers and help understand the work culture and processes. Such samples and templates simplify finding out which aspects need consideration and improvement to enrich employee engagement and experience and workplace culture. You can choose from a wide variety of survey templates that include specific questions about the work environment and associated problems.

The sample questionnaires help evaluate the company's culture and get a clear picture of the organization's needs. The questions are intended to gauge employees' feelings about the workplace and their roles and their beliefs about the organization as a whole. They help find out whether employees think their culture is healthy, strong and promotes their growth.

Templates customized to your organization's structure and goals can give you valuable feedback about your work environment. You can find out whether your workspace promotes teamwork and collaboration and what you can do to improve it so that employees feel valued and use their full potential to contribute to the organization's success. 

Conclusion

Workplace culture plays a huge role in supporting employees to produce desired outcomes for your business. A cultural audit helps you find out how supportive your corporate culture is and how you can make it better. It could be a differentiator that gives you an edge over the competition. Evaluate your culture, identify areas of improvement, and craft strategies to improve the workplace environment where your employees get a better experience to benefit your company in return.

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