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Questions to Ask Your Team that Bring Real Answers about Company Culture

Company culture is a very important part of a successful company. The "right" culture attracts and keeps talented people while the "wrong" culture drives away good people and limits the success of your business. While everyone talks about their company culture("we're great, we're kind, we're wonderful to work for) when talking to prospective employees, it's rare that the conversation continues past the hiring stage or clearly articulated so everyone knows what's expected and what to look for. Developing a healthy corporate culture needs to be a constant focus for any size company. Forget to do this and your inspired, motivated, wanting to change the world team becomes a bunch of "clockwatchers" working for a paycheck. The leaders of a company determine the culture. It is a direct reflection of who they are and what they want the company values to be. In building the right culture, you truly get what you give. The expression, "your vibe attracts your tribe" certainly rings true here.

While there are common company culture traits that are adopted by a variety of companies, the best traits are unique to the company and what motivates their employees.

To determine what company culture traits your company should implement, it’s best to ask your team members. You can do this through surveys or interviews. Your best results may come from one-on-one interviews but if you think your employees may be hesitant to say something critical, you can always bring in a third party to conduct this important interview or provide an anonymous questionnaire. Not perfect but its a start.

What Questions Should You Ask to Shape Your Company’s Culture?

Here are a few suggested questions you can ask your employees to create a company culture that they will thrive in. Each level of questions will address how an employee interacts with the company and how company culture affects the work environment.

Individual Level
  1. Which activities or tasks bring you satisfaction regardless of whether or not you receive recognition?

  2. What part of your job inspires you?

Team Level
  1. How does culture shape how your team manages goals and responsibilities?

  2. Do you think there are any unintended company values that affect how team members work together?

Company Level
  1. Is the company’s mission memorable?

  2. What actions do you think need to happen to improve the company’s culture?

  3. How is success recognized? How is failure addressed?

  4. Do the leaders and managers of the company behave in a way that’s consistent with the company’s values and culture?

  5. What are some informal practices that leaders and managers use to get work done? Do you find these helpful?

  6. What do you think needs to be done, if anything, to improve the company culture?

Take a close look at their responses. Make sure you really, truly understand what is being said. Look for similar comments that can help you identify what is being done right and what needs to be improved upon. A unique company culture is vital when trying to develop & manage a successful, cohesive group. Implemented correctly, it sets you apart from your competitors, instills pride and loyalty in your team and is a major contributor to the health of your business.

Remember, culture is made up of a number of things-values, beliefs, habits, interests, attitudes and experiences among other things. In addition, it takes all these things from a seemingly diverse group and ties them together with honesty, integrity, caring, teamwork, humor, clear communication and high expectations. Sound easy? It's not and it takes time. But if you get it right, everybody wins- you,your team, your company and your customers.

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