Beyond KPIs: The 7 Dimensions of Company Culture

  • Brace
  • March 11, 2019
  • 11 min

It’s common knowledge that great company culture is a necessity for today’s work world, but what makes your company culture tick and how do you measure it? To fine-tune all the moving parts of the workplace, you need to first know what they are and what they do. Read on to learn about measurable and reliable dimensions of company culture beyond KPIs, how to understand them, and ways to make them effective.

Finding the Pieces of Company Culture

Like da Vincis of the workplace, HR and company leaders are always tinkering and looking for ways to better understand and improve the workplace and company culture (if you’re curious about what company culture can do, read more here). Luckily, a functional blueprint for the company culture puzzle can be found on the employer rating platform, kununu.com.

This platform asks employees to rate their employers based on 7 dimensions: Communication, Interesting Challenges, Leadership Effectiveness, Team Spirit, Work-Life Balance, Working Conditions, and Work Climate.

What makes these dimensions special for measuring company culture? Three things:

  1. They deliver important insights
  2. You can check them on a frequent or weekly basis
  3. They are suitable for benchmarking

An additional factor is the success of these dimensions in eliciting passionate and honest employee feedback, which shows how integral they are to employees’ understanding of company culture. With the addition of Mood tracking, all the important elements are at hand.

Assembling the Elements of Company Culture

Key to applying these dimensions to improvement efforts is understanding what they are and how they work together to make company culture. We’ll break down each element to see what it means to a workplace and employees.

Communication

This dimension goes into not just “how,” but the “about what,” and “how often.” Great workplaces offer open and regular feedback, which increases engagement in Millennials 24% and is desired by 76% of employees. Weekly feedback or one on ones along with accessible communication tools (e.g. digital feedback platforms, anonymous discussion boards, etc.) allow managers to learn what needs addressed in their workplace, and assures employees that they are valued.

Contribution to company culture:

  • Active understanding of the real employee workplace experience for managers
  • Encourages a feeling of appreciation and involvement for employees
  • Allows for innovation and problem-solving with less anxiety or stress

Knowing how employees view communication in their company, whether personal or official, provides insights into work climate and leadership effectiveness, and helps gauge company culture as a whole.

Learn more about effective feedback and communication here.

Interesting Challenges

Monotony is a motivation killer. Employees have diverse talents that can go wasted if they aren’t offered chances to grow and develop and neglecting these leaves employees feeling unappreciated by their workplace culture. According to Gallup, 87% of younger workers expect learning opportunities at work, while employee development benefits leadership by building a more talented workforce.

Contribution to company culture:

  • Employees feel appreciated and trusted
  • Managers can be mentors and help guide the growth of employees
  • Workplaces get new skills, while keeping employees motivated so they positively contribute to work climate and team spirit

How challenged employees feel at work is a strong indicator of how invested they are in their company culture.

Find out ways to manage and encourage employee growth here.

Leadership Effectiveness

The old saying goes that employees leave managers. On the other hand, managers can also inspire employees. The interplay of structure, communication, respect, and appreciation between leaders and staff create the groundwork for a great work environment and healthy company culture.

Contribution to company culture:

  • Respect between leader and team means less conflict and more motivation
  • When leaders “walk the walk,” employees will, too
  • An atmosphere of cooperation, instead of fear, fosters innovation, productivity, communication, team spirit, and work climate

Learning how employees feel they are being managed helps companies know how their company culture is being implemented.

Read more about great management styles here.

Team Spirit

People are social beings, even in the workplace. Gallup shows that employees having friends at work leads to better profits, while collaboration is a big driver among the younger workforce. Viewing your role as part of something larger helps everyone work together, and be a more cohesive whole.

Contribution to company culture:

  • The better employees work together, the more teams will support each other, take initiative, and solve problems on their own
  • A common mission and cooperation give everyone a purpose, while promoting mood, and communication
  • Aligns tasks with the bigger company vision and meaning

Measuring team spirit gives workplaces great insight into how their culture is promoting teamwork and how “intangible” elements, such as mood, are working together.

Learn more about how teams fit together and create engagement here.

Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance describes the flexibility that employees have to handle their personal needs and interests, while staying engaged, contributing workers. Options such as flexible hours let employees stay productive, while building a life that makes them happy, and makes their time at work more productive and less stressful. This balance, in turn, benefits other aspects of company culture.

Contribution to company culture:

  • Builds connections between employee and workplace
  • Reduces conflict and boost predictability, especially regarding needed time off
  • Builds mood, team spirit, and work climate through more positive employees

Employee feelings about their work-life balance indicate the strength of symbiosis between workers and workplace, and rubs off on other aspects of company culture.

You can learn more about great workplaces and work-life balance here.

Working Conditions

The physical conditions in which employees work strongly influences their mood and productivity. If computers are out of date or the tools employees need aren’t there, it causes stress and frustration. This negatively affects mood and team spirit, which pulls down work climate and communication.

Contribution to company culture:

  • Proper tools and equipment let employees be productive without stress
  • Diverse spaces provide the right environment for different needs
  • A well-planned workplace that helps productivity benefits leadership effectiveness, as well as mood

Finding out how teams feel about their working conditions helps leaders to solve structural workplace problems that hinder healthy company culture.

You can read more about unique needs of the workplace in this article.

Work Climate

Work climate is the atmosphere that employees experience in the workplace. This dimension goes into intangibles, such as how respected workers feel, whether they get the impression of belonging, or how comfortable they are expressing needs, suggestions, and ideas. Even though these aren’t concrete concepts, they are the product of the interaction of other dimensions of company culture.

Contribution to company culture:

  • Work climate is an overall feeling that influences how other workplace aspects are viewed
  • Climate determines, and is affected by, how employees work together, their leadership effectiveness, and communication
  • Problems in other dimension are often reflected in employee feelings about their work climate

Work climate provides good insight into company culture because it is reciprocal. It limits and is limited by other dimensions, illustrating the symbiosis of workplace elements.

Learn more about a diverse and inclusive workplace climate here.

Mood

Since it is a personal state of being for every employee, mood doesn’t count as a dimension. However, it is still important, as it plays a role in everything. Employees with a constant bad mood drive down work climate, team spirit, and communication, while this bad mood can be caused by poor leadership effectiveness, work-life balance, working conditions, or a lack of interesting challenges.

Even if not an official dimension, mood shouldn’t be ignored, as it provides a helpful barometer for company culture as a whole and serves as an early warning for bigger problems.

Find out more about employee mood and the pitfalls of ignoring company culture here.

Measuring Company Culture

Knowing the dimensions is a good start, now you just need to measure and apply them. A rough first step is employee net promoter scores and simple surveys. However, to get really actionable data, you need to know exactly which dimension is causing problems, find out why, and be able to track the success of your solution.

Accurate measurement requires:

  1. Forming questions for each dimension that produce consistent, measurable answers
  2. Weekly tracking of employee dimension feedback and mood to spot problems
  3. Viewing data trends for each dimension over time
  4. Providing employees space to safely tell you what is hindering them and share ideas

7 Dimensional Data with the new kununu engage

We here at kununu engage realize how big of a challenge this can be, even if the results pay off. It’s our goal to make your life easier and your workplace insights more valuable and actionable. This is why we’ve integrated all 7 core dimensions, along with scientifically-tested questions, mood and trend tracking, and space for anonymous and dimension-related discussion into one centralized platform in our new release.

With the new kununu engage, we take care of the grunt work for you, so you can get to work improving your workplace with effective insights.

Alternating questions to all 7 dimensions now appear in the automatic and anonymous weekly employee survey, along with mood tracking. You can track the results, comments, and trends in easy-to-read reporting, or filter for team and dimension, making it simple to spot and understand problems and take informed actions.

With quick and simple questions, it’s much easier to encourage participation from your team, and since they’ve all been scientifically tested in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute and the Leipzig Graduate School of Management, you can rely on the results.

Get to know kununu engage and start turning your insights into action.

TRY FOR FREE!

kununu engage is an application that allows you and your entire company to share continuous and anonymous feedback about what working in the company is like. This insight and transparency can help a company function better and build a stronger company culture.

Get to know engage

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