Data analysis and the subjective nature of company culture might seem to be at odds with one another. However, data reporting tools like Power BI Reporting can be valuable resources for companies undergoing a cultural transformation. Data helps executives see an accurate picture of the current culture and monitor their progress as they make changes.
What Is Culture?
Company culture is a combination of what it’s like to work at your company and how the company presents itself externally. This includes values, norms and goals. Day-to-day norms like how decisions are made and how comfortable employees feel speaking up about their concerns are set by the company culture. Ideally, these internal norms should align with the company’s brand and values. Leaders’ and managers’ behavior plays an important role in company culture. However, it’s easy for leadership and longtime employees to become so accustomed to the culture as it is that it becomes challenging for them to see how the culture is affecting the company and what might need to change. Less than one-third of executives report having a good sense of their company’s culture. Good data can help executives get a more objective view of the factors that shape company culture, and Power BI reporting can make it easier to understand that data.
What Is Your Company Culture?
If you want to change your company culture, you’ll need to start by understanding the current culture. Consider your company’s stated values and mission. Then, compare these to how things work within the company. Are employees comfortable learning from their mistakes or are they more worried about negative consequences? Is work evaluated at the individual level or the team level? How easy or difficult is it to change a policy that isn’t working? Does your company have a strict hierarchy or a flat organizational structure? These questions can help you evaluate your existing culture.
University of Michigan researchers have identified two major dimensions that shape company culture. These dimensions are internal versus external attention, and stability versus flexibility. Internally focused companies have collaborative teams and focus on developing and integrating existing processes. Externally focused businesses look toward the market as a whole and pay more attention to what their competitors are doing and what their customers want. Companies that prioritize stability usually have well-defined organizational structures, written procedures for most activities and clear long-term plans. Flexible companies are focused more on projects than policies. All businesses will have all four of these qualities to some degree. To help understand your culture, consider where your company falls on these two spectrums. Then, think about whether this fits with your company’s values.
What We Mean By Transformation
Cultural transformation is usually more about alignment than a drastic change in values. For example, your company’s branding and external messaging might say that you prioritize innovation. However, while reviewing your culture, you might realize that as the business has grown, it has added policies that make testing new ideas more difficult. A cultural shift might involve adjusting those new policies and making sure that employees feel supported when they make a new proposal. You might also notice a less specific problem, like a lack of employee satisfaction. To address this, you’ll need to identify why employees are unhappy before moving forward with a cultural solution.
Regardless of the details of your transformation, you’ll use a multistep process for successful and lasting change. You’ll need to:
Define how you want your improved culture to look and how you can measure your progress.
Include short-term goals that can encourage quick progress in key areas.
Plan out the formal and less formal policy changes that you’ll want to make.
Get leadership at all levels on board with the plan.
Communicate your plan and your reasoning to employees, and listen to their feedback.
Monitor and reflect on the changes to understand what additional adjustments you’ll need to make.
You’ll need to tailor these steps to both your existing culture and your goals to achieve true cultural transformation.
Incremental Change Can Benefit You
Changing your company’s culture won’t happen overnight, but even gradual improvements can increase revenues and keep employees and managers satisfied.
Companies with strong, clearly defined cultures are better places to work, which means they can attract and retain the best employees. Employees rate their workplaces 20% better on factors like collaboration and values alignment when the company has a strong culture. Surveyed Millennials, who now make up 35% of the global workforce, say that culture is the most important factor in choosing where to work.
When every part of the company, from employees to systems to big-picture goals, is moving in the same direction because of a strong culture, the teams within the company are easier to manage. A strong culture makes it easier for managers to set and enforce expectations, communicate clearly and make decisions. Shared values, priorities and goals can also reduce conflict and help resolve conflicts when they do happen. Cultural change also helps the company’s overall performance. Companies with strong cultures have faster revenue growth, and being named one of Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work is associated with a .75% increase in stock price.
Having the Right Data
Companies with strong cultures that can successfully adapt to change rely on data. The right data helps both create and maintain a strong culture. Reviewing data reports can help identify structural problems that cultural transformation can address. This can mean highlighting a department with especially high turnover or spotting a policy that leads to bottlenecks. Company cultures that include relying on data instead of subjective judgments can make better and faster decisions and get a better understanding of their customers. Tools like Power BI Reporting condense potentially overwhelming amounts of data into easy-to-read reports. This allows executives to focus on the most important data points that they need to successfully navigate a cultural transformation.