Can your company pass our culture code quiz? Odds are, probably not. It’s a simple quiz with only two questions, but it’s challenging to pass. Give it a try:
Question 1: Does your company have a culture code (a trendy name for a listing of company core values)?
If yes, go on to question 2.
If no, check out these resources on how to create a first-rate culture code.
Question 2: Is your company getting the maximum value out of its culture code?
Reflect on that question, get an answer in mind, and then keep reading.
If you answer “no” and want ideas to get more value from your culture code, keep reading. This article is jam-packed with actionable ideas.
If you answer “yes” and you don’t change your mind after reading this article, that’s impressive! Drop us an email at info@BetterCulture.com so we can feature your company on social media. We love giving recognition to BetterCulture Companies!
Most companies have gone through a process to create company core values (a “culture code”). That isn’t impressive or meaningful. The real question is, “How is your company using its culture code?”
How to NOT use your Culture Code
Unfortunately, most companies spend little time thinking about how to use their culture code. They go through an exercise to create a culture code, check a box as complete, and get back to work as usual. This “build it and forget it” approach doesn’t work. That’s why only 22% of employees can recite their company values from memory. Even though their culture code is printed on company letterhead, displayed on a wall somewhere, and printed on t-shirts, the meaning of the company values is not sinking in.
Without values that resound with the employees and a deliberate effort by leaders to bring those values to life, employee attitudes and behaviors are left to evolve randomly. Companies that fail to truly infuse their culture code into the very fabric of their organization – to ensure employees “feel” it every day – are missing the point of having core values in the first place.
When companies have a culture code and don’t enforce it, the culture code becomes meaningless at best. At worst, it becomes a weapon for your cultural vacuums and cynics to wield as they realize company leaders aren’t serious about living the values they espouse. Failing to live out your culture code is lousy leadership. Yet, unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common occurrence.
How to Use Your Culture Code Effectively
The best companies use their culture code to shape the attitudes and behaviors they want from every employee. They use it in all aspects of their business, effectively infusing it into the very bloodstream of the organization. For example:
- Recruiting: it’s impossible to get a job at these companies without learning about the company’s culture code on the hiring page of their website, on the job application, and throughout the recruiting/interview process.
- Hiring: no job offer is extended before unequivocally confirming that the applicant is excited about living the company values.
- Onboarding: the culture code is covered in detail during the onboarding process, helping employees understand why it’s important and how each individual can uphold it.
- Team meetings: team meetings frequently include mention of the culture code. It may be to recognize a team member for modeling a core value, discuss what else the team could do to live up to the culture code, or other creative and fun ideas.
- Performance Evaluations: cultural fit is a meaningful part of employee evaluations and factors into pay raises and compensation schedules.
- Promotions: leaders are held to the highest standard for living out company values. Promotion opportunities are heavily influenced by an individual’s ability to live the core values and bring the desired culture to life.
- Firing: in the best companies, it’s a common occurrence to toss someone out the back door who is not a culture fit. This may feel unpleasant in the moment, but within a week (if not moments) of removing such an employee, the company culture will be stronger for it.
Finish your Culture Code Quiz with your Leadership Team
When BetterCulture works with companies to help them maximize the value they get from a culture code, we pose these questions to the leadership team. We encourage you to download our worksheet and discuss them with your leadership team. If there is universal agreement that “yes, we do that,” you pass the test. If not, congratulations, you’ve found an opportunity to make your company even more successful. Get to work!
The Final Questions:
- Do your employees live your company values in easily identifiable, tangible ways?
- Do your leaders walk-the-walk in terms of your culture code?
- Have you trained supervisors to teach and uphold the culture code with their direct reports?
- Are there elements of your culture code that should be more effectively emphasized in the applicant screening process?
- Does your company regularly communicate in a way that emphasizes its values and standards?
- Does your company reward those who constantly epitomize your standards?
- Are there consequences for failing to live up to your cultural values?
- Does your performance evaluation process reinforce the importance of the culture code?
If you have good answers to our questions, your company passes our culture code quiz. Congrats – keep up the great work! We suspect you have a dynamic company culture, and a thriving business!