This post was written by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund and was culled from their forthcoming book, “The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter & More Social,” available for pre-order and debuting Feb. 1. Download the first chapter free at Facebook.com/nowrevolution.
Successful adoption of social media is rooted in business culture as much as it is business operations. A trusting, open-minded culture is one of the key factors in embracing and harnessing the potential of the social web.
Your company culture consists of two key elements: your businesses’ underlying intent, and the people you bring together to carry it out. Today, there are more windows into your company’s culture than ever before. The rise of the Internet makes it possible for people to know your culture, or at least guess at it, based on a stream of clues emanating from your business and your people.
Identifying possible fractures in your culture requires courage and hard work.
Here are questions to ask as you assess and evaluate your company culture and environment. Diagnostic approaches to gathering this information can vary widely. More formalized employee evaluations and surveys will tell you some of the picture, but response bias may skew their truthfulness or accuracy, especially if there’s any fear of retribution.
Consider anecdotal evidence and casual feedback and commentary as unscientific proof. And make no mistake — your instinct counts for a lot. It works in families as well as businesses: if you think your company might be dysfunctional, it almost always is.
Give yourself 1 point for every yes.
The Culture Quiz
- Is the overall attitude and mood of your workers, especially when they’re not at their desks, positive?
- Are employees frequently on time or even early to work, and do they tend to stay late to work on projects of their own accord?
- Is attendance robust at company functions outside the office, and is participation enthusiastic?
- Do employees routinely socialize outside of work and interact during work?
- Do managers know what interests their teams have outside of work?
- Is there an overall sense of camaraderie and friendship?
- Do employees organize activities such as birthday celebrations?
- Do employees feel like they’re informed and in the loop about important information?
- Are there clear lines and systems for internal communication?
- Is the tone and tenor of employee communication friendly, positive, and constructive?
- Do employees frequently use the words we and us to indicate that they feel part of a larger whole?
- Are office doors kept open for the most part?
- Do employees congregate in common areas?
- Do individuals have many personal effects on their desks or in their work spaces?
- Are there open spaces that encourage impromptu gathering?
- Do you hear positive comments about managers—or management overall—in reviews or casual conversation?
- Do people express eagerness to share input up the ladder?
- Do individuals aspire to management positions?
- Do managers mentor and counsel other team members, even if they are not direct reports?
Ambition and Accomplishment
- Do your teams routinely celebrate individual or group accomplishments?
- Do employees assess and help shape their own goals and role in the company?
- Are team members eager to share lessons from failures?
- Do employees eagerly take on projects and tasks that aren’t part of their official job?
- Are your criteria for hiring and firing known and universally understood?
- Are those hiring and firing criteria consistently applied?
- Is the leadership united in the philosophies that underscore their management style and development of talent?
Employee Recruitment and Retention
- Do employees leave for positions that represent a significant career advancement opportunity that you wouldn’t have been able to provide?
- Do your employees leave on positive terms with strong relationships in tact?
- Do your employees leave to work for companies that you respect and admire?
- Is your employee retention rate something you’re proud of?
- Do your employees get work done that goes above and beyond what’s expected?
- Do your teams hit deadlines almost always?
- Is there a “whatever it takes” attitude within the company and throughout every level of the organization?
- Do projects feel like they usually carry healthy momentum?
- Are customers sharing compliments as well as complaints?
- Do you have a strong idea of what your customers love about you and what they’d change if they could?
- Do you share customer feedback openly with your staff?
- Do all members of the staff take ownership of customer problems?
- 35 points or more: You’ve got a thriving, world-class culture. You’re ready to get social (but you probably already are).
- 28-34 points: Nice job. Your team is mostly on the same page, and you can proceed with social web initiatives.
- 21-27 points: Areas of your company are out of alignment culturally. Probe more deeply to find and fix this issues before launching a robust social media program.
- 0-20 points: Social media readiness is the least of your concerns. You need a full cultural audit, and fast.