CPS HR Consulting

Why Workplace Culture Is Key to Maximizing Employee Performance

As a human resources expert in the public sector, you understand the importance of measuring performance. Most of the time for employees, performance management is done by their direct supervisor. Performance is measured by comparing accomplishments to set goals and given an overall score.

Scoring organizational culture—or the values, beliefs and behaviors practiced in an organization—is far more difficult to quantify.

So, how can you measure your public sector workplace’s culture and use that information to enhance employee performance?

The Importance of Workplace Culture

Before discussing how to measure culture, it’s essential to discuss why you should measure your organization’s culture.

The importance of awesome workplace culture in any organization cannot be overstated, but it is especially important for public sector organizations. Culture is an essential part of leading an organization because it either enhances or diminishes performance. For public sector organizations, strong workplace culture can lead to the following positive results:

  • Attracts the best public sector talent
  • Increases public sector employee retention rate
  • Improves public sector employee satisfaction
  • Maximize public sector employee performance and engagement

The CPS HR Consulting Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement (IPSEE)  conducted a study that demonstrates how employee engagement can have a positive impact on performance. Organizations that improve culture have a positive impact on employee engagement which drives organizational performance.

Clearly, positive workplace culture makes a huge difference. Now, let’s see how we can measure it.

How Do You Measure Culture?

The best organizations measure culture through surveys and focus groups. Those surveys build metrics around how employees feel about the organization, their work, their supervisor and the mission of the organization. This data can be used to identify gaps between the culture you want and the culture you have. Gap closing strategies can be put in place to improve organizational culture and the organization should be re-surveyed to track any change.

Here are four ways to measure workplace culture:

Exit Interviews

Issues in the workplace can cause employee turnover. Exit interviews give human resources specialists insight into what motivates employees to resign. You might not get honest answers about the culture with employees that plan to stay, but you can glean helpful information from workers that are on their way out the door.

Engagement Surveys

Look at engagement as another way to describe employee motivation. How motivated is your team when it comes to solving problems and participating in team-building events? Team members who go the extra mile to improve performance help create an awesome culture.

Feedback/Pulse Surveys

Ask concise and clearly written questions every few months or so that produce employee feedback. You can ask the following questions:

  • Is the organization meeting your professional expectations?
  • Do you feel appreciated?
  • What can we do better to encourage workplace interactions?

Feedback/Pulse surveys can tell you why some employees stick around, while other employees present a turnover risk.

Culture Surveys

Get to the heart of the matter by asking team members about their beliefs. This can be introduced during the interview process as a screening tool. You want to recruit members to your team that shares the same personal and professional values. Culture surveys allow employees to discuss their perspectives on the behaviors of other team members.

How Often Should You Measure Culture?

With a few tools at your disposal, how often should you use them to measure workplace culture? Measuring culture at least one time a year is a common timeline for many organizations. Instead, you may want to consider: when is the best time to measure culture?

Simply sending out surveys via email is an invitation for your team member to fill up their electronic trash bins. Measuring culture at workplace retreats and other special events held outside the workplace, on the other hand, is a far more effective way to get responses. Alternatively, measuring systematically on a quarterly or monthly basis – with less questions may help to identify trends and address issues quicker.

Gap Closing Strategies

These are tips to improve culture or close gaps identified in an organizational culture survey.

  • Communication – Open and prompt communication with employees
  • Wellness – Encouraging health for the mind and body
  • Leadership – Strong leaders foster a positive culture
  • Vision – Setting trends instead of following them
  • Innovation – Brainstorming ideas at all levels
  • Environment – Promoting a comfortable work environment
  • Social – Interactions outside of the workplace
  • Agility – Adapt to rapid changes

Creating a positive public sector culture starts with strong leaders who openly communicate with all team members. Employees perform better in an interactive environment that encourages feedback. Social interaction outside of work allows participants to learn something non-work-related about their professional peers. And finally, with technology being the primary driver of new systems, strong leaders set the tone by adapting to rapid change.

Key Takeaways on Measuring Public Sector Culture

The type of culture that you establish in your public sector organization goes a long way toward dictating performance. Culture change takes time and patience, but you can make it happen if you recruit, develop and retain the right people.