The 5 Key Culture Metrics Successful CEOs Use to Fuel Results

Success Just Ahead with Carol Ring, Corporate Culture Consultant and SpeakerEvery day we are bombarded with numbers: phone numbers, account numbers, credit card numbers, PINs, expiry dates, birthdates, loyalty membership numbers. The list seems endless. And, these are just the numbers that surround our personal lives. In the workplace, as a result of Big Data and the Internet of Everything, it seems that we have more measures and key performance indicators than minutes in the day.

But when it comes to numbers I like Steve Howard’s perspective: “You should measure the things you care about.  If you’re not measuring, you don’t care and you don’t know.”  So if you’re not tracking your organization’s culture, does this mean you don’t care? Or, are you still finding it a challenge to come up with meaningful measures? Here are the top five metrics you should be aware of when it comes to corporate culture.

1. Culture consciousness – when was the last time you did a culture survey? I’m not talking about an employee engagement survey; they’re passé and rapidly losing their relevance. I’m talking about a survey that allows you to see how your culture stacks up and where the golden nuggets of opportunity are hiding. The best place to start is by creating a benchmark using a globally recognized cultural transformation tool. This type of survey makes the intangibles tangible and provides lead indicators for measuring individual and collective performance.

2. Culture entropy – this is THE key metric if you want to know how well you’re positioned for success. Culture entropy measures the amount of pent up friction and frustration in your organization. Cultural entropy is made up of three components. The first area deals with elements that slow an organization down – things such as bureaucracy, hierarchy and confusion.  The second area looks at factors that cause friction between employees – internal competition, blame, manipulation. And the final area includes those things that prevent employees from working effectively due to micro-management, caution, job insecurity. How well do you know what’s going on within your organization? Research by the Barrett Values Centre has correlated culture entropy with bottom line success and employee engagement.

3. Cost of culture – yes you can cost your culture. Once you have a list of potentially limiting values from your survey you can execute an audit to determine the cost to your organization. Sure it might not be scientifically costed down to the last penny, but it will give you great insights into where to mine for cost improvements or revenue gains. And it’s way more productive than nickel and diming your employees year after year. Read my previous blog about this exercise and get your free Limiting Values Audit Worksheet here.

4. Generational makeup of your organization – Millennials have become the largest cohort in the workforce now. In some cases, such as PwC, two of every three employees are Millennials. By 2020, it’s estimated they could make up 50 per cent of the entire workforce! Just imagine the impact this is having. They are moving into management positions and have the capacity to drive a big change in your organization’s culture. This shift can be disruptive, especially if there is a clash with senior leaders from an earlier generation, or it can pull a company forward. How fast are Millennials moving into your organization? What percentage of your workforce consists of Millennials?

5. Culture action plan status – you’ve done the survey, you’ve held focus groups, and you’ve developed a plan for action.  And now the plan is sitting on the shelf collecting dust.  If you don’t actively manage a dashboard that allows you to review the costs and timing of the planned initiatives, then the message you’re sending is that managing culture just isn’t a priority. Your Culture Action Plan dashboard needs to be integrated with your other high level key performance indicators in order to successfully align your culture with your strategic direction.

No matter where you are on the path to improving your organization’s culture, there are numbers that can help.  Leaders of the most successful organizations have recognized the critical importance of actively managing their culture.  And as the old adage goes “what gets measured gets managed.” Start measuring, managing, and caring about your culture today!

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