Culture Crash Course Lesson 5: Building Your Culture Survey

Welcome to Lesson 5 of our Culture Crash Course! In this post, we’re helping you build your culture survey with five actionable tips.

There’s no doubt that your organization’s culture is unique, so your culture survey should reflect that. Even if you are using a standardized culture assessment, you should customize the language, answer choices, and objective to gain the best insight into your company’s culture. These five tips will ensure you receive the highest quality feedback.

Want to catch up? Our earlier lessons include:

Our final post, Lesson 6, covers building your culture and engagement dashboard.

5 Tips for Creating a Culture Survey

1. Use Meaningful Demographics

In addition to getting an overall sense of your company culture, you’ll want to zoom in to understand the various subcultures throughout your organization.

Including demographic information is a simple way to gather robust data and identify distinct areas of opportunity. You can do this either in a spreadsheet or through demographic questions directly in the culture survey.

culture survey

The most common demographic categories are:

  • Location
  • Department
  • Tenure

Other options to consider are:

  • Full-time/part-time
  • Level (independent contributor, manager, director)
  • Business unit
  • Manager

When creating your survey, only include the demographic categories that are valuable to your organization.itch any fillers. For example, if your organization has twelve different office locations with varying work environments, look at results based on location. In this example, it’s important to include questions about work environment in the survey.

Too many demographic questions can make employees feel exposed and uncomfortable, which might deter them from participating in the survey. You’ll want to have measures in place to protect the anonymity of employees . When distributing the survey, outline the anonymity protocol and explain how you will be using the demographic information.

2. Think About the Intent of Your Questions

The reason you’re sending a culture survey is to gather unbiased employee feedback and make better decisions. So make sure the questions included in your survey help you accomplish that goal. You should be able to answer the question “What do I intend to learn from this question?” or “Will this question help me make better culture decisions?” for each item on your survey.

Here are some other guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Avoid leading and limiting questions. For example, instead of asking employees to agree or disagree with: “We have a great process for communicating internal changes,” ask: “Please rate our process for communicating internal changes.”
  • Ensure each question has a “None of the Above” option so employees are not forced to choose an answer they do not feel applies.
  • Allow companies to explain their answers or leave additional feedback by adding a comment box to any questions that are not open ended.

3. Ask Questions You Can Act On

Ask your employees for feedback around topics you can take action on. Try not to clutter the survey with questions about things that cannot be changed.

For example, if your office is a bit cramped, but you’re locked into a five year lease, don’t ask your employees if they are satisfied with their office space. Instead, ask them what you can do to make the office environment better.

4. Make It Personal

Your survey should be personalized to fit the language and feel of your organization. This will ultimately make the survey a clearer and more comfortable experience for employees.

Here are some ideas to do that:

  • Add a customized message from your CEO at the beginning of your survey.
  • Include questions about ongoing initiatives within your organization.
  • Reference your company values.
  • Ensure the terminology used in the questions reflects company norms. For example, if you call employees, “colleagues” or “team members” use that language in the survey.

5. Keep It Simple

Your survey shouldn’t be complicated. Employees should understand the questions the first time they read it. Deciding on their responses should be a quick and easy process.

Here are some ideas ideas to do that:

  • Avoid words with multiple meanings, so questions cannot be interpreted in different ways.
  • Ask about one topic at a time. Do this by splitting up any questions that use “and” into separate questions. For example, do not ask “My leader is supportive and responsive.” Instead, ask “My leader is supportive” and “My leader is responsive.”
  • Keep it short and sweet. Gathering feedback should be an ongoing process so no need to dump every question in at once!

Ready for your final Culture Crash Course lesson? Let’s build your engagement and culture dashboard.

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