Organizational Culture: How to Assess it Objectively

Perhaps your organization has some of these cultural dysfunctional signs: lack of teamwork, cultural differences impacting working relationships, poor communication and low productivity. Human resources find themselves embroiled in employee counseling and coaching without making significant impact. The leadership is frustrated that employees don’t just learn to get along and are often ill-equipped or not interested in proactively managing conflict.

What are the options for finding out the extent of the dysfunction and how to fix it? There’s the obvious method of assessing organizational culture with employee surveys. However, to conduct an effective survey, the process can take two to three months. A well designed employee survey will tell you what your employees are thinking if you ask the right questions. Consider using an outside vendor to conduct the employee survey to build trust and maintain employee confidentiality.

There are other methods for assessing the organizational culture. Use an independent consultant that specializes in leadership or organizational development to conduct a series of interviews, discussionS and observations within your organization.

Why should you use an independent consultant for your cultural assessment? There are several reasons this approach is desirable:

  1. Human resources and management already have a point of view about the situation. An independent party can help to confirm or shed new light on the cultural dysfunction.
  2. Lack of trust is a reason organizations experience cultural dysfunction. It is important to bring someone in who is fair and can build rapport with the management and employees.

How do you select the right leadership or organizational consultant to conduct the assessment? Let’s face it, all consultants are not equal.

Select a consultant with:

  • Excellent listening and probing/questioning skills.
  • Hands on experience in working with individuals, team and organizations.
  • A method that assesses employees and management.
  • Grounding in personality, communication and/or behavioral training.
  • Experienced in conducting assessments and making recommendations.

With either option – using an employee survey or independent leadership/organizational consultant – expect to hear results that surprise you or you do not agree with. Many employee survey processes provide generic steps you can take to improve your results. A competent consultant is an ongoing resource to help management and employees develop feasible plans.

About Lynn Dessert (415 Posts)

Lynn Dessert is an ICF trained certified NLP Coach specializing in Executive, Career and Life coaching based in Rochester, N.Y. She works with individuals and organizations to maximize personal effectiveness skills—a cornerstone to career advancement. Lynn is the author of What To Do After Being Fired and The Secerts to Successful Job On-Boarding. Start your discovery process by contacting her at 585.249.5149 today.


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