Culture Chat

And other musings on humanizing the workplace
The Difference between Our Questions and Their Questions

The Difference between Our Questions and Their Questions

May 17, 2017
Jamie Notter

Someone recently asked us about the difference between the questions we ask in our Workplace Genome culture assessment and the questions that are asked in traditional employee engagement surveys. We have said before that engagement surveys tend to manage sentiment—whether people are happy or not—while our assessment measures “what is,” and how people experience the work.

And while I still think that’s true (and important), I’m now realizing that’s not really the key difference. What sets us apart is that our assessment asks questions that dig a layer or two deeper, and then connect the dots.

For example, typical engagement surveys will ask a single question about cross-functional collaboration. Your people will give you a score as to whether or not they think your organization does a “good” job on that. Fine. You now have a red, yellow, or green score on collaboration. So what do you do? Not only was “good collaboration” never defined, you have zero data about what’s driving that score, which is why you have no idea what to do about it. What should you be asking instead?

How territorial is your organization? Do people internally know what it means to be a good facilitator? Does pride tend to trump collaboration there? What are the patterns around information sharing across the departments? You need to see data like that to connect the dots. Those are not the exact questions we ask in the Genome, but the data we give you reveal those details and help you see how they are all connected. Once you see that, you’ll know what to do next.

If your culture analytics aren’t leading to a clear and effective action plan, then you are wasting time and money.

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