Understanding Corporate Culture

Assessing a company’s culture may be difficult especially if you are already working in it. Sometimes you cannot determine the corporate culture because you may think that such scenarios are "normal" in the business environment.

However, understanding the company culture is essential to determine how employees benefit from it, as well as being able to enhance a laudable practice-or even change a flawed system. You can obtain an idea of your current organizational culture in several ways.

Be an impartial observer – Look at employees and how they interact in your organization in an outsider’s point of view. It is just like being an anthropologist observing a newly-discovered tribe.

Watch for emotions – Your employees do not get excited or upset about things that are unimportant to them. Examine what makes them happy or agitated in the office. Examine conflicts closely as well.

Look for common artifacts – Do your employees tend to decorate their desk with various stuff? Observe what they like to put on. Check out what your employee like to wear or how they like to spend their spare time.

Watch for things that are not there – It is an interesting note if nobody mentions something that you think is important, such as the customers.

Talk to employees – Interview your workers in small groups. Ask indirect questions that would gain the most information, such as "What would you tell a friend about your company if he was about to start working here?". Not only you should take note of their answers, but also their behaviors and interaction with people during the discussion.

Conduct surveys – Another way of assessing the company culture is through written essays. Create a questionnaire using the information collected during your observation and interviews.

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