How to Avoid a Corporate Self-Assessment Failure

Nowadays more than ever before, corporations need to make employees feel comfortable and welcome in the workplace in order to thrive. To adjust to the times, many organizations undertake corporate cultural assessments, basically a self -evaluation of their corporate culture. However, many such initiatives fail because enterprises lack self-awareness, misalign their messaging, and rely too much on numbers.

Nowadays, competition for talent is intense. In fact, many corporations struggle to find and retain a full staff, never mind trying to hire only top performers. Why? The ripple effects from the pandemic are being seen in every industry, with customer facing businesses like hospitality, retail, and restaurants, being especially hard hit.

The Great Resignation

The global health crises forced many individuals (88%) to reevaluate their life priorities. They took a closer look at how they spent their time and reexamined the rewards and hassles that the workplace brings. Many did not like what they saw and quit their jobs. In November 2021, 4.5 million people left their companies in an event termed the Great Resignation.

As they rethink their career paths, workers are taking a close look at potential employers’ culture. In fact, more than three-quarters (77%) of adults consider a company’s culture before applying for a job.

Executives recognize that the times have been changing, In fact, a clear majority of C-suite leaders  79% recognize that their purpose supports talent recruitment, engagement, and retention. So, they have been trying to create environments that encourage not only productivity but also employee satisfaction. 

The process often starts with an internal assessment of the corporate culture.  It examines why an organization exists, what it aspires to be, what problems it is here to solve, and how it treats its employees. Even though managers have good intentions in the process, this step often misses its goal of helping the company change its modus operandi for the better. There are many reasons why. 

Lack of Self Awareness

Sometimes, companies conduct a cultural assessment more to confirm their current beliefs than to understand where problems lie. The limitations start with who puts the assessment together. Managers often are heavily involved and drive the process. Businesses employ individuals with many different backgrounds and not all have input in the process, so voices are missed. 

One way to help bridge the gap is bringing in an outsider. They have not only fresh eyes but also experience, having conducted these assessments at lots of corporations. As a result, they have developed best practices that include all voices. Also, employees may feel more comfortable raising sensitive issues with an outsider than with boss, where they exchange may be uncomfortable and awkward.

Internal Alignment

Every company starts with a mission statement and business plan that become the foundation of the organization.  Employees take their cue from management. When they are passionate, clear, and consistent in their communications, a mutual understanding of what the company is trying to accomplish is reached, and progress occurs. 

However, communication can be inefficient, and something is lost in translation. Plans change as a company grows. New executives often want to cut a different path and not follow the prior one. So, the messaging becomes mixed. Teams and individuals within the organization interpret information differently. Problems arise, and the culture become unproductive and volatile. As a result, there’s a lack of internal alignment, and everything from decision making to the performance of daily activities splinter and becomes less effective than when everyone works from a common foundation.

Employees Resist Change

Organizations tend toward inertia because employees perceive the status quo in a positive light. This idealization presents them with something known and understood. The possibility of change raises doubt and uncertainty, including job stability, among employees, who become intimidated by the process. When employees feel psychologically threatened, they dig in and fight, and everyone suffers.

Numbers are Only a Starting Point

Enterprises often conduct surveys to discern how employees feel about the workplace and what improvements are needed. No matter how deep and thorough the data collection process is, the numbers are only a starting point.

Sometimes, companies become so enamored dissecting the data that they fail to dig deeper and put the numbers into context. The process for closing the chasm begins with conversations, open feedback, and storytelling. Only when employees feel that they are being included, validated, and heard in the corporate conversation will they embrace new company ideals. 

Hiring Wrong Personality Types

For businesses to operate at peak efficiency, they need to align the company persona with employees’ personalities. Sometimes, organizations neglect to account for how the two mesh. If leadership focuses on creating repeatable processes, they need to hire organized individuals.  Bringing in innovative and creative personnel can create conflict because who their abilities are not in synch with the firm’s needs. 

Change is Hard

Management often embraces the need to evaluate who they are but underestimate how hard the process of implementing what they find entails. Developing a corporate culture requires much more than creating a short, pithy saying. The words need to be backed up by real action or they become vapid platitudes. 

Corporations must spend a lot of time and put a lot of effort into communicating, so employees know not only the company ideology but also how to demonstrate them in their daily tasks. The enterprise must incorporate metrics, so it understands how well the messaging resonates throughout the organization. The process often takes years to take root and is never completely done. 

So, why should a company invest in a cultural assessment?  It is good for business. In fact, companies who are successful post a 60% higher return to shareholders than the median and 200% more than firms in the bottom quartile.

Corporations are in intense battle not only with competitors but also in wooing the hearts and souls of their employees. Consequently, creating a welcoming, encouraging, inclusive organizations is vital to their success, yet many such endeavors fail. To achieve the desired results, businesses need to open up the lines of communication, match employee personalities to company objectives, and recognize and how difficult change is.


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True Synergy, Inc