One question I have encountered time and time again when leading programmes of organisational culture change for clients is the following: "How do we know that change is happening?"
"Most of the time, you can feel it: anecdotal evidence shows that staff have started to behave differently, you hear different language being used every day, customers are commenting on small changes they are observing. But how can you be sure? Your Board and your CEO will want to be in a position to state that the investment has paid off, that people have changed and are now behaving as expected.
Measuring change is good culture management.
When the right metrics are selected through a solid planning process, confidence can be built that:
- The investment in culture is making an appropriate return.
- Culture is under control, and deterioration in culture will be noticed and can be rectified ahead of any serious impact on performance and reputation.
- Those accountable for elements of the culture plan are performing.
- Corrections to course can be made where necessary.
Culture can be measured at four levels.
These cover changes to defined patterns of behaviour, and the impact of those changes on the business:
- Self-assessment (level 1 metrics) Surveying people and asking them to evaluate their own behaviour, or selecting questions from an existing employee survey.
- Opinion of others (level 2 metrics) Surveys with employees, customers, the community or other stakeholders - these can measure how they see the values and behaviour of the organisation.
- Business indicators (level 3 metrics) Certain business indicators can be linked to your target culture, especially those associated with your business imperative.
- Financial metrics (level 4 metrics) Many factors can impact financial metrics, and it is somewhat harder to isolate the direct culture link.
Outputs - Impacts - Outcomes
At Walking the Talk, our approach to measuring change in culture programmes is based on measuring these three things.
Measuring Programme Outputs
Answers the question, “Is the programme on track? Are we doing the things we said we would do in the culture plan?”
Tools used for measuring outputs can include a simple audit of activities taking place and of their quality. For example, feedback on the quality of the delivery of the facilitators and of a day’s workshop’s content. The evaluation includes whether the task has been completed and whether it had the required level of quality. Sometimes, the measure is simply whether the task has been performed or not, or the percentage of completion.
Measuring Programme Impacts
Answers the question, “Is the programme achieving the change it intends to create in individuals? Is the change starting to be visible and taking hold?”
A large number of tools may already exist in your organisation to measure the impact of the programme, in particular changes in behaviours. These include:
- Employee opinion surveys
- Internal audits
- Performance scorecards
- Customer research
- Internal customer surveys
- HR monthly reports
- Market research
Two other favourites of ours at Walking the Talk are the Capability Culture Index survey (CCI), which measures cultural archetypes and core qualities, as well as specially designed pulse surveys to measure individual change.
Measuring Programme Outcomes
Answers the question, “What is the impact of the culture change on the business? Are we achieving our business imperative?”
Building a scorecard for culture programme outcomes is a great way to present and communicate the data with the Steering Committee and the Executive. In some cases, the Executive may require further proof that the business outcomes are directly linked to the programme. A benefits realisation can then be applied, but it is important that the business outcome can be directly linked back to a specific behaviour and that there are not many other factors influencing the outcome.
What methods do you use to measure culture and behavioural change?