How to improve company culture? Survey your employees

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Why survey your employees? Your perception of your company culture could be vastly different from how it feels to your workforce. And if you’re having trouble retaining good employees or attracting new candidates, company culture could be the culprit.

It turns out that this issue has a higher impact on employee attraction and retention than previously thought. In new research on current UK labour market trends by Kent University in partnership with HR GO, we learn that toxic company culture can spell disaster for staff retention. In fact compared to salary issues, it’s over 10 times more powerful in predicting how many staff will leave a company.

So that poses an important question. When it comes to how your senior leadership views your company culture, do your employees feel the same way?

It’s clear that if you’re out of touch with the experiences your employees are having at work this can be a big warning sign of problems to come. Do you have the great company culture you think you do? There’s only one way to know for sure:

Survey your employees

Of course, the best way to find out how your workforce feels about the culture of the place they work is to ask them. That’s why many businesses – including HR GO – run employee surveys.

These surveys can help show up issues within your workforce before they grow into bigger problems. They can also give a glimpse into what’s working well and perhaps not so well when it comes to management styles.

And as they highlight the values your existing staff value and rate as attractive, survey findings will help recruit high-quality job candidates too. Many people’s priorities have changed since the pandemic, and it’s crucial to keep up with what’s on many job-hunters’ wishlists.

Our tip for surveys that lead to good insights? Make them anonymous by default, and ask open-ended questions.

Depending on your business, examples of questions could include:

  • What makes you feel proud about working here?
  • What do you enjoy the most about working for this company?
  • When you talk to a friend about where you work, how do you describe it?
  • You have three words to describe the company culture in this organisation. What are they?
  • What would you like to change about this organisation?
  • How do you feel supported to grow in your career?
  • How do you think this organisation defines success?
  • If you decided to quit your job tomorrow, what would the reason be?

Share the feedback

Once you’ve asked your team how they view the company culture it’s crucial to take action. This might mean addressing any concerns quickly, or putting in place new things to improve their experience in the workplace. It could also mean expanding on areas where you’re already making a positive impact.

At this year’s annual conference, HR GO leadership shared the feedback from our most recent employee company culture survey. They also passed on the actions they’re now taking, based on that survey.

After feedback from employees, every staff member now automatically gets their birthday off work without it counting as annual leave. They also get two paid volunteer work days off each year. In addition, there’s a new dogs at work policy in response to employee requests to bring their pets to the office.

Other employees had suggested doing more team sports together as a bonding exercise. As a direct result, HR GO is now working on developing some group sports activities. Pre-pandemic monthly social get-togethers have also been reinstated.

Yes, these are relatively small actions for the company to take. But they’re meaningful changes for a lot of employees. And they’re based on survey feedback combined with company ethos.

Amplifying staff voices and experiences counts for a lot. After all, it’s not up to management to define company culture. The employees who experience the workplace every day also shape the personality of a great organisation.

Re-survey your employees

Don’t forget to re-survey your employees too. Once you’ve adopted the recommendations from the previous survey, you’ll want to check on the results.

  • Are they what employees hoped for?
  • Are they working well?
  • Have they inspired new suggestions?

Checking back is an essential part of the process to keep your company culture responsive, fresh and something you can be proud to offer to new employees.

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