All Articles Leadership Management With culture assessments, should you survey everyone or just a small sample?

With culture assessments, should you survey everyone or just a small sample?

Employee assessments can give you valuable insight into your culture, so get everyone's take. Sampling feels like a shortcut but can be damaging in the long run.

3 min read


With culture assessments, should you survey everyone or just a small sample?

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When conducting a survey of team member perceptions of your work culture, should you survey everyone or just a small sample?

Surveying a small sample is easier and faster. However, sampling does not provide comprehensive, accurate, or actionable data from your most important customer: your team members – all of your team members.

To ensure respect is as important as results across your culture, leaders must measure, monitor, and reward both respect and results equally. It is likely that your organization’s results are already measured, monitored and rewarded. Respect must be equally measured, monitored and rewarded.

Would you sample a small percentage — say, 20% — of your operation’s financial performance and be confident that you have an accurate understanding of the entire organization’s financial results? Definitely not. Because results are important, you set clear expectations and regularly — and frequently — measure, monitor and reward every department’s financial performance to those standards.

Because you want respect to be as important as results, you must set clear, behavioral values expectations for leaders. Then, measure, monitor and reward every leader’s values alignment to those standards — and then provide actionable feedback to every leader, so respect is on the same pedestal as results.

Measuring and monitoring values alignment requires gathering every team member’s perceptions of every leader regularly, consistently and confidentially.

Sampling 20% of your team member population requires that you exclude 80% of team member perceptions about respect in their workplace.

Sampling sends a clear message: “We’re not listening to everyone. Everyone’s voice does not matter.”

On the other hand, a disciplined, consistent system to regularly survey every team member across your culture sends a very different and powerfully positive message: “We care about the quality of your experience here. You deserve respect and validation for your ideas, efforts, and contributions daily. And we’re listening to you because every voice matters.”

Note that the values survey provides actionable data regarding each leader’s demonstration of respect in the workplace. The executive team effectiveness survey provides actionable data on strategic, operational and culture leadership.

Both data sets are vital for today’s successful business leaders.

Don’t take shortcuts on something so important to your organization’s work culture. Survey every contributor in the current culture regularly. This ensures that your survey process is fully inclusive and that senior leaders are fully informed about what’s working and what’s not across your work culture.

Learn more about our custom culture assessments.

S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker, author and executive consultant with The Purposeful Culture Group, where he is founder and CEO. He has authored or co-authored seven books, including “The Culture Engine.” His next book, “Good Comes First,” is available for preorder now. It will publish on Sept. 28, 2021. His videos, posts and podcasts are available at Follow Edmonds on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apple Podcasts.

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