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Measure respect in your work culture

Leaders should use tools to measure the success of their work culture, says S. Chris Edmonds, who offers some suggestions.

3 min read


work culture

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Video transcript:

Once you define your ideal work culture, how do you know if leaders and team members align with it? You must measure it — regularly. Here’s how.

Senior leaders must first define their organization’s ideal work culture by formalizing the values they want everyone in the company to demonstrate in daily interactions. Then, they must specify observable, tangible behaviors that model those values.

One client identified these measurable behaviors to describe exactly how leaders and team members must demonstrate their respect value.

  • I listen actively (by making eye contact, acknowledging concerns and summarizing conversations) so my colleagues feel heard and validated.
  • I offer my time and assistance to my colleagues to serve and meet their needs daily.
  • I arrive on time for work and meetings, ready to constructively contribute to our team.
  • I communicate openly, directly and courteously with every colleague.

Senior leaders also formalized observable behaviors for their other four company values, which include continuous improvement, accountability, inclusiveness and teamwork. Next, senior leaders must measure how well leaders align with their valued behaviors. 

Our proven approach uses customized employee surveys to gather feedback about values demonstration. Surveys ask employees to rate how well their leader models defined valued behaviors in daily interactions. Responses are confidential; ratings are not attributed to any individual respondent. We use a six-point scale (1 to 6) for employee ratings of valued behaviors. Desirable scores are at the 5 and 6 levels, which indicate respondents “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement. Scores in the 1-4 range employees are not desirable.

In this client’s most recent survey of executive team members, two senior leaders were rated very differently for this question: “My direct boss offers her/his time and assistance to other team members to serve and meet their needs daily.” On our 1-6 scale, the operations leader was rated a 5.6. A department leader was rated a 4.5. 

A 5.6 rating is a very positive score. Employees see the operations leader modeling this valued behavior consistently. A 4.5 rating indicates employees do not see the department leader demonstrating this valued behavior consistently.

The operations leader’s ratings were excellent for every survey item. The department head’s ratings averaged 4.0, far below expectations. His direct boss has created a development plan to help this leader increase demonstration of every valued behavior.

You can measure culture. Unless you measure it, you can’t improve it.


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