7 effective survey questions to unlock company culture

Explore the importance of company culture and how targeted survey questions can offer invaluable insights, drive dialogue, and inspire positive change within organizations.

It's the close of another hectic week, and the weight of Friday fatigue is heavy on your shoulders. As an HR professional, your mind is clouded with worries about your company's culture and its impact on the workforce.

Employees seem to be dissatisfied, communication is fragmented, and the atmosphere feels more like a pressure cooker than a nurturing, inspiring place. As the weekend approaches, you find yourself not celebrating the break but worrying about what lies ahead.

You see the signs of a strained culture; missed deadlines, unfulfilled potential, and a palpable tension among team members. There's a general sense of dissatisfaction that you can't quite put your finger on, but know exists.

While dealing with these mounting challenges, you also face the risk of losing your indispensable employees. You've seen it happen before: out of the blue, your star performers moving to competitors, leaving gaping holes in your teams that are near impossible to fill.

As you sift through these challenges, a question starts to form: How healthy is our company culture? Could these problems be a manifestation of a deeper, systemic issue? Is the very fabric of our workplace pulling at the seams?

This article aims to arm you with the right survey questions about company culture, a tool that can serve as your compass, helping you understand, navigate, and improve the intricate dynamics of your organization's culture.

Here are the top survey questions to explore and understand your company culture.

Why is company culture important?

Think of company culture as the heart of your organization, pumping life and energy into all areas. It's the collective behavior of your people, a set of shared norms and values, and how these aspects manifest in the workplace.

Why does it matter? As an HR professional, you understand the power of culture. It's more than just a buzzword; it's a strategic tool that can drive or stall success.

Culture is the magnetic field that attracts talent to your company, and it's the glue that keeps them there. It has the power to energize your people, inspiring them to do their best work. Conversely, a poor culture can be an invisible drain, sapping morale and productivity.

Research has repeatedly shown the links between culture, employee engagement, and organizational performance. Positive cultures breed satisfied, motivated, and committed employees. They result in lower turnover, higher customer satisfaction, and stronger business performance.

Furthermore, in today's transparency-driven world, culture is under the spotlight. Candidates are discerning, looking beyond compensation to consider factors like company values, mission, and work environment. With the rise of platforms like Glassdoor, the veil has been lifted, and culture can be the deciding factor for talent to join or stay.

How can surveys help with company culture?

Company culture is a complex, multi-faceted entity. It's not always visible, and it's certainly not static. It evolves, grows, and shifts with your people, your leadership, and your external environment.

So, how do you keep your finger on the pulse of your company culture? Enter the company culture survey.

Culture surveys are a powerful tool in your HR arsenal. They provide a way to measure, track, and understand your organization's culture. They shed light on employees' perceptions of the company's values, mission, and work environment.

Surveys allow you to capture valuable insights from your employees about their experiences and perceptions. They enable you to identify areas of strength, but equally importantly, they pinpoint areas for improvement.

They facilitate two-way communication between leadership and employees, fostering a sense of shared ownership of the culture. When executed well, surveys can serve as a springboard for ongoing dialogue about culture, sparking positive change and development.

Finally, surveys provide quantitative data to track your culture journey over time, evaluate the impact of initiatives, and benchmark against industry peers.

Company culture survey questions

I have a good understanding of our organization's mission, values, and goals.

Every organization, regardless of size, industry, or geography, has a guiding purpose: its mission, values, and goals. These elements serve as the North Star, providing direction and shaping decisions, behaviors, and culture.

But what if your employees don't understand these guiding principles? It's akin to navigating a ship without a compass. It can lead to misalignment, confusion, and missed opportunities.

Asking employees if they have a good understanding of your organization's mission, values, and goals is crucial. It sheds light on how well these key aspects are being communicated, understood, and embodied across the organization.

If there are gaps in understanding, it may indicate a need for better communication, education, or alignment. Understanding and alignment with these core principles are critical to cultivating a strong, vibrant culture.

The way our organization makes decisions reflects our organizational values.

Your organizational values are more than words on a webpage or a poster on the wall. They are the fundamental beliefs that guide your company's behavior and decision-making.

If the way your company makes decisions aligns with its stated values, it demonstrates integrity, transparency, and consistency. These are crucial components of a positive company culture that builds trust and respect.

On the other hand, if there's a disconnect between your company's actions and its stated values, it can breed cynicism, erode trust, and undermine your culture.

By asking this question, you're gauging the perceived alignment between your company's actions and its values. The responses can offer invaluable insights into the authenticity of your culture and provide an impetus for reflection and action.

I see behaviors displayed across our organization that are consistent with our organizational values.

Your company values should be more than mere words; they should be lived out in everyday behaviors and actions. These behaviors, repeated over time, become the fabric of your company culture.

This question is crucial as it provides a window into how well your values are being operationalized and internalized. Are employees seeing behaviors that align with your values? If so, it's a sign of a healthy culture.

If not, it may suggest a gap between what you say you value and what is genuinely valued, resulting in a culture disconnect. Such disconnects can breed skepticism, disengagement, and ultimately, turnover.

Use this question as a mirror, reflecting how effectively your organization lives its values. It can uncover gaps between espoused and enacted values, opening the door for constructive dialogue and change.

Our organization constantly looks for ways to improve.

Innovation and improvement are not just buzzwords; they're the lifeblood of thriving companies. They reflect an organizational commitment to learning, growth, and adaptability.

This question explores your company's commitment to improvement. It's an indicator of a growth-oriented culture, one that embraces change, encourages learning, and is adaptable.

If employees perceive your company as being open to and proactive about improvement, it signals a culture that's dynamic and forward-looking. On the other hand, if employees perceive stagnation or resistance to change, it can signal a culture that's risk-averse or complacent.

Asking this question can uncover your company's openness to change and its commitment to continuous improvement, both key components of a healthy, resilient culture.

Our organization's values provide a good fit with the things that I consider important in life.

Alignment between personal and organizational values contributes to job satisfaction, commitment, and performance. When employees' personal values align with those of the company, they're more likely to feel fulfilled, motivated, and committed.

This question probes the level of this alignment. A high level of fit signals a culture where employees feel at home, leading to increased satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty. A low level of fit might indicate a disconnect that could result in disengagement or turnover.

Understanding this alignment can help your organization foster a culture where employees feel connected and engaged, not just with their work, but with the broader organization.

My job is important in accomplishing the mission of the organization.

Employees want to feel that their work matters. They want to know that they're contributing to something bigger, something meaningful. This is the essence of job significance.

Asking employees whether they feel their job is important to the organization's mission taps into this fundamental need. It's a measure of how well you're creating a culture where everyone feels valued and purposeful.

A high level of perceived job significance can boost morale, motivation, and performance. Conversely, if employees feel that their work is insignificant, it can lead to disengagement and lackluster performance.

By asking this question, you can uncover the extent to which employees feel their work matters, offering vital insights to foster a culture where everyone feels valued and purpose-driven.

Our organization inspires me to go beyond what I would in a similar role elsewhere.

At its best, a strong company culture can inspire employees to reach new heights, to push boundaries, and to give their best. It can make the difference between average performance and extraordinary achievement.

This question delves into this transformative potential of your culture. It seeks to understand whether your company, through its culture, inspires employees to outperform what they would in a similar role elsewhere.

If the answer is yes, it's a testament to a culture that motivates, supports, and brings out the best in its people. If the answer is no, it may indicate that your culture is not inspiring or lacks the conditions that promote exceptional performance.

Exploring this question can help you understand and enhance the motivating power of your culture, ensuring it serves as a catalyst for exceptional performance and engagement.

Wrapping it up

As an HR leader, understanding and nurturing your company culture is a critical part of your role. The right survey questions can serve as a powerful tool, providing insights into the health and dynamics of your culture.

Remember, it's not just about asking questions, but acting on the responses. This ongoing process of understanding, dialogue, and action can lead to a stronger, more vibrant culture.

Embrace this journey, and you'll be fostering a culture that attracts, engages, and inspires the best talent. After all, a thriving culture is at the heart of every successful organization.

If you're interested in learning how Sparkbay can help you improve your culture, you can click here for a demo.