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How to Conduct a Corporate Culture Gap Analysis

By Paul Goyette on August 30, 2017



What is your corporate culture?

While many organizations may be able to generically state the shared beliefs and values of their employees or point to the writing on the walls, some struggle to truly define, live, and measure their company culture. Culture permeates every aspect of your company and is defined by what the people of the organization do, not just what is written on the walls or believed by the majority of employees. Moreover, measuring an intangible concept such as company culture can be a daunting undertaking. While some parameters are clear, others are far more difficult to define.

When you consider that culture is the sum total of the individual behaviors of employees, it may become clearer how you can identify measurement techniques. In management, a gap analysis is the comparison of performance against the potential or desired performance. Applied to company culture, a culture gap analysis can measure whether your team is living the defined culture and, in turn, utilizing resources and technology to drive the culture transformation

To help conduct a corporate culture gap analysis, here are a few steps your team can take action on today.

Define Desired Culture

In order for a gap analysis to occur, a team must first outline its desired culture and the results of it. The first step in conducting a culture gap analysis is knowing exactly what type of culture your organization embodies currently, as well as the future goal.

Want to know more about culture transformation? Here's everything you need to  know.

Defining your culture requires your team to take a look at its priorities, as your goals and initiatives can uncover your organizational values. Here are some questions you might ask yourself:

  • How do your employees hear more about increasing the bottom line or increasing customer satisfaction?
  • In what ways does your organization provide employees with the freedom to experiment and innovate?
  • What are your organization’s views on calculated risks? Are they seen as an opportunity or a distraction?
  • How much does your company invest in ongoing training efforts, in terms of money and time?
  • How do the thoughts and feelings of both leadership and employees impact your company’s decisions to adopt certain efforts or changes?

These questions will provide clarity on the type of culture you have and want. From innovative cultures that empower employees to tackle challenges in creative ways to customer centric cultures that encourage team members to put themselves in their customers’ shoes, the definition of a company culture is contingent on the metrics you choose to assess it with. Customer centric metrics may include referrals, calls to support, and customer reviews. An innovative culture may measure results on a performance-based scale and consider innovative processes and behaviors as indicators of success.

Conduct Anonymous Surveys and Assessments

After identifying your desired company culture, you can measure its desired performance against actual performance. Although identifying company culture is an initiative that must begin at the top and cascade throughout the organization, it’s important for leaders to consider the opinions of their employees. From front-line managers to executives, the opinions and insights can shed light on behaviors. After all, your employees live in the current culture every day and, as such, have ideas about how the culture could be improved or strengthened.

Gathering opinions and feedback can take the form of surveys, focus groups, and assessment techniques, which are all quantitative methods. One-on-one meetings with executives can yield illuminating insights as well. Supplementing feedback with specific examples and illustrations of company culture can provide a well-rounded idea. Ultimately, comprehensive, employee-driven feedback can help create a clear picture of the behaviors that define your company culture.

Create Action Plans and Strategies Based on Feedback and Gaps

Performing in-depth cultural assessments based on quantitative data, interviews, and surveys can enable your organization to identify the gap between your current culture and your desired company culture. This information can then be applied to techniques that will promote the necessary change. After comparing both your current and desired cultures, it’s essential for success to create strategies that address the information extracted from your efforts, that are realistic, and that can be reasonably implemented. Think of the stakeholders, timeline, or possible roadblocks ahead of implementation, in order to make the change as seamless as possible.

Creating strategic objectives based on your feedback not only helps your organization digest information, but it helps put those cultural objectives into action. Defining culture and measuring it comprise one thing; developing a plan to adapt to your discoveries is another thing. Transforming your corporate culture using a corporate culture gap analysis often requires implementing new skills training. It’s up to you, as change leaders, to inspire motivation across your organization. When your team members understand the benefits of your plan, it builds conviction and makes them more willing to support the efforts.

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As Executive Vice President Global Performance, Paul has extensive experience in consultation, design, and delivery of programs over his 20 year career with Eagle’s Flight. Through his genuine personable approach, Paul is not only a trusted advisor but also a valued partner to his clients; he works seamlessly to ensure that Eagle’s Flight solutions are aligned to their needs and desired outcomes. As a result, Paul is the account executive for Eagle’s Flight largest account. Many of his clients are multi-year accounts from multinational, Fortune 500 companies.

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Founded in 1988, Eagle's Flight has earned its reputation as a global leader in the development and delivery of business-relevant, experiential learning programs that achieve specific training objectives and lasting behavior changes.

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