What Tools Can Boards Use for Corporate Culture?

Nicholas J Price
5 min read
Corporate culture is important to investors, stakeholders and employees alike. Issues like the work environment, core mission and vision, leadership structure, interpersonal relations, hiring habits and communication style are all factors in the corporate culture. Companies with a strong corporate culture improve their branding, reputation and employee retention.

Studies by Harvard Business Review indicate that a positive work culture includes the following six things:

  1. Showing care and interest in fellow workers, as they would a friend.
  2. Showing support, kindness and compassion for others in the workplace who may be struggling.
  3. Steering clear of blaming and shaming, while forgiving mistakes and errors in judgment.
  4. Being an inspiration to other employees.
  5. Employees find meaning in their work.
  6. Employees treat each other with respect, integrity, trust and gratitude.

Addressing corporate culture is challenging in several ways. One of the most challenging things about corporate culture is that it takes the collective behavior of a group of individuals into consideration. To enact large-scale change, it requires changing the individual attitudes of multiple people. When a large group makes changes over time, it leads to the creation of new norms, which improves the overall culture.

Another challenge in improving corporate culture is retaining it at the expected level. The daily grind causes some employees to slip back into their old habits.

Tools can be helpful in giving companies a starting point by which they can measure the results of future surveys. Some information lends itself more easily to measuring the results. Digital tools are the easiest and most efficient way to assess corporate culture and work toward improving the culture.

What Tools Can Boards Use to Assess Corporate Culture?

Boards need a way to check the current pulse of the culture. The tool of choice for getting the initial baseline is usually a survey or questionnaire. This is a way to gauge how well the leadership models behavior that reflects the corporate culture. Companies can use a similar tool to measure changes in attitudes and behavior every quarter or on some type of regular schedule.

Unless the company has promoted its culture internally and externally, employees won't know what the culture is all about. Some companies offer some type of training in corporate culture, which would ensure that employees know what the corporate culture is before the company tries to establish a baseline.

Ideally, the company would define and clarify the benchmarks and standards of the intended corporate culture. From there, they can decide on what tools they need to achieve the culture they've envisioned.

For companies that are very far away from their vision, it's wise to set up benchmarks for the next 18-36 months so they can keep the energy level high and keep up the momentum toward working on corporate culture. By encouraging employees to embrace the corporate culture, employees will work to put those standards into their daily jobs.

A strong orientation process that emphasized the corporate culture can be another tool that companies can use to educate and communicate their expectations for the corporate culture. Rewards, raises, opportunities for advancement and other incentives are also tools that demonstrate the company's commitment to showing that they value the employees that help to make them successful.

Digital Surveys Are To Establish a Baseline for the Corporate Culture

Digital survey tools, such as the Diligent Evaluations tool, can be used as a means to conduct surveys for board evaluations and evaluating other types of information. It's the modern way to get at the heart of good governance.

Board administrators can form a baseline of questions that will reveal how employees really perceive the corporate culture. Questions can easily be set up so that respondents can answer using a range of scores, which can easily be used as a baseline metric for future surveys on corporate culture. Surveys are easy to administer and monitor. The administrator can set and change assessment start and close dates and finalize the results with an e-signature sign-off. Diligent Evaluations is a better alternative to survey templates and off-the-shelf surveys because companies can customize them according to the type of information they want to know.

The program provides immediate results with custom visual reports that are polished and ready for sharing with the board, management or others.

Companies can easily save the results in a few clicks and reuse surveys on a quarterly or annual basis to demonstrate that the corporate culture is improving. What's even better is that the Evaluations tool keeps all the data together in one online space, which will help with continuity as the company works to improve the corporate culture.

Digital governance tools are the modern way to impact change with corporate culture. Modern governance is the practice of empowering leaders with technology, insight and processes to fuel good governance that organizations need to thrive and endure in today's fast-paced world. Innovative leaders stay ahead with modern governance.

Corporate culture is susceptible to transformation all the time. One of the reasons that plans for improving corporate culture fail is because companies take a few initial steps toward improving the culture, and then they step back and assume the culture will continue to be rich. Corporate culture entails who people are at the core and how they speak and conduct themselves in the workplace. Employees, including management, reflect the corporate culture in how they speak and act in company meetings and how they treat other employees and team members. Culture also has an impact on ethical decision-making. Because culture is always evolving, companies need to find ways to keep nurturing and monitoring it.

Implementing Changes Toward Improving Corporate Culture

Depending on how often your company chooses to do assessments on the status of the corporate culture, it may be helpful to boost learning opportunities around culture throughout the year. In lieu of a formal survey or assessment, department heads may opt to do a group check-in to see how everyone is feeling about the health of their work environment.

Having the right digital tools can help companies identify their corporate culture, establish a baseline and find the proper direction for the future.