Our Chief People Officer, Dean Corbett, recently spoke to HR News about organisational culture.

Strong company culture is fundamental to business success. It is the foundation of employee experience, determining how people behave and work together and needs to be intrinsic to an organisation’s operating model. The consensus is that the healthier your organisational culture is, the more motivated and engaged your employees will be. This leads to increased productivity, profits and customer satisfaction.

Despite this understanding, company culture remains nothing more than an abstract concept for many organisations. In some cases, employers are unsure of how to measure their organisational culture in practice – which can be a complex process.

It is vital business leaders understand how to measure culture efficiently across an entire organisation to reshape that business culture. We believe to truly understand the mindsets of employees and adopt a fit-for-purpose strategy, data needs to be collected and analysed, from which actionable insights can be identified. The answer to boosting organisational culture is in a businesses’ current and pre-existing data.

Today’s People teams are sitting on a wealth of data, particularly with the introduction of sophisticated tools that measure employee thoughts and behaviours. Businesses no longer have an excuse to make assumptions about what their people want or need to be comfortable and do their best work.

At Avado, we focus on implementing plans that act on employee insight – be that feedback, behavioural data and/or information relating to individual or collective outputs. We analyse quantitative data drawn from formal sources like company surveys and qualitative data from informal discussions, workshops and serendipitous interactions (whether in-person or online).

Tools like regular pulse surveys and ad-hoc surveying, all administered in a context full of trust, are very useful in this process. We’ve also found that being transparent encourages others to be transparent; transparency meets transparency, if you will. And transparency from employees arms us with golden insight that we can action.

Invaluable insights have been captured during workshops (many of which haven’t been designed as a data collection exercise), helping us to define meaningful plans surrounding areas including salary, development, culture and career progression. The data we’ve collected – intentionally or otherwise – has helped us tell a story that is driving necessary organisational change. This continuous process means we are evolving at the same pace as our people, and able to meet their needs, no matter what.

This approach has allowed us to establish what our people want and need from their day-to-day roles – be that from their line manager, something that is in their control but currently untapped, the hybrid working environment we’ve refined, or within their overall experience of working here. These changes have resulted in an increase in employees’ sense of belonging and job satisfaction, and their relationships with others, which have contributed to a significant reduction in people turnover from 42% in 2018 to just under 25% in 2021.

During the data capture process, it is important to be transparent about how you intend to use insights for future planning. This builds trust. And trust inspires people to offer their insights. A variety of ways for employees to participate, including aggregate, qualitative, workshop-based interactions and focus groups, is important to the process.

Utilising data enables the design and delivery of progressive plans to help overcome real business challenges. As we move ahead into an ever-increasing data-driven world, businesses need to have the relevant skills and capabilities to stay on top of these trends. And whilst many have invested in developing the capabilities and technologies to address ‘hard’ or ‘commercial’ data needs, investing in the ‘softer’ areas such as culture and employee experience is equally important an investment.

Click here to read the published version on HR News.