Measuring progress

Measuring and Monitoring Your Company’s Culture Change – Culture Renovation Blueprint Action #6

Ninety. That’s the sobering percentage of organizations that indicated that their culture change initiative was unsuccessful—they also failed to set up measures at the beginning to monitor progress.

The reason an organization undergoes a culture renovation is to enable it to execute on its go-forward strategy. Because this change can sometimes take years, it’s important to define up front what the indicators of a successful renovation should be and to put in place mechanisms to monitor progress.

In fact, two-thirds (66%) of organizations that have undergone a highly successful culture renovation reported that clear measures and indicators were defined and agreed to up front at the executive level.

But what exactly do you measure? And how do you collect that data?

Most companies struggle with these questions, but those that are successful in this endeavor typically settle on a core set of measurements they want to review on a regular basis—use multiple methods to gather that data. and continually measure progress.

Common culture change measures 

In addition to core business metrics, I want to outline some common and important human capital measurements that over time should indicate whether your culture renovation is trending in the right direction:

  • Attrition
  • Inclusion
  • Employee referrals
  • Talent mobility
  • Rehires
  • Hotline activity
  • EAP usage
  • Employee net promoter score

Common methods to uncover culture change metrics

From talent management systems to engagement surveys, there are various sources of data that should be utilized over time to monitor the progress of your culture renovation. As I discuss in Action #1: Develop and Deploy a Comprehensive Listening Strategy, avoid relying on a single point-in-time event—such as the results of an annual employee survey—as moods can change quickly. You want to avoid “false positives” that sometimes dissipate. It’s better to rely on data that can be collected over time, such as frequent pulse surveys or even social media and platforms such as Glassdoor.

If you work for a large organization, however, the amount of data can be overwhelming, if not impossible, to process manually. Too many large companies still attempt to discern employee sentiment by manually looking at thousands of write-in comments, or, worse, largely ignoring them completely. And yet it’s in the free-form comments—employees’ own words—where the reality of your culture exists.

The use of natural language processing (NLP) tools, powered by AI and machine learning, is one of the more effective methods for ongoing monitoring and analysis of internal and external sentiment. NLP can swiftly and accurately summarize, prioritize, and determine positive or negative intent across millions of entries of qualitative data, offering a clear view of organizational culture strengths, weaknesses, and risks. I fully expect that use of Likert, or multiple-choice questions, will diminish over time as NLP technology becomes more mainstream.

If you’re preparing for, or currently undergoing, a culture renovation and have not thoroughly analyzed the comments made by your employees in surveys or on sites such as Glassdoor, I encourage you to contact us—our suite of Culture Renovation solutions can quickly unearth new insights based on your existing data.

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