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Eight tips for assessing and enhancing workplace culture

Recruitment | 8 Min Read

Eight tips for assessing and enhancing workplace culture


I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game—it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value, said Louis V. Gerstner Jr. in his book Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?

Many business leaders, entrepreneurs, and corporate executives align with this viewpoint and believe that a strong culture leads to excellent business outcomes. Organizational behavior helps individuals gain competitive advantage, create value, and sustain and grow workplace productivity.

Workplace culture constitutes an organization’s values, beliefs, attitudes, behavior, and actions. The way organization’s people make decisions, communicate with each other and customers, reward and recognize, celebrate success, and take steps in line with values, beliefs, vision, and mission contributes to culture formation.

According to the 2021 Global Culture Survey published by PwC, more than two-thirds of the 3,200 respondents emphasized that workplace culture is more important than strategy and operations. The same survey also stated that nearly 69% of the senior leaders believe that business success during the Covid-19 pandemic was attributed to the company culture.

Thus, taking steps toward assessing and improving the culture is essential.

This blog will discuss cultural assessment, tips to improve culture, and implementation strategies.


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What are cultural assessments?

Cultural assessments are an evaluation to determine the difference between an organization’s ideal and prevalent workplace culture. They assesses experience, expectations, values, and philosophies that drive organizational behavior.

We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.

Tony Hsieh
CEO at Zappos

For instance, a behavioral assessment will help determine whether an employee’s behavior and actions align with the company culture.

When employees behave in a manner that aligns with the company’s values and culture, the company is more likely to thrive than its competitors.

Mercer | Mettl provides comprehensive behavioral assessments to evaluate a candidates’ behavioral competencies according to organizational situations.


Why are cultural assessments essential?

Building a good workplace culture is essential for gaining a competitive market edge and sustainable growth.

According to research published by PwC, nearly 66% of employees believe that a good workplace culture positively impacts their everyday work. The positive impact helps employees thrive in their roles, thus also making the organization succeed.

Another report by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) explains that an unfavorable workplace culture leads to reduced productivity, employee health issues, and lower profitability. Thus, building a good culture is essential for organizational success, and assessing culture is a method to improve it.

Cultural assessments will help determine gaps in the company’s culture-oriented strategies. They highlight challenges and loopholes in the company’s culture, such as poor communication, lack of standardized onboarding, etc.

Mercer | Mettl published an ebook on hiring culturally-fit candidates. It contains detailed information, case studies, and tools to help recruiters hire the ideal candidates in line with the culture. It highlights the importance of using cultural assessment tests during hiring to build a good culture, improve productivity, and ensure a thriving environment.


Strategies to evaluate workplace culture

Evaluating workplace culture requires investing time in valuable strategies and processes. For example, knowing your existing culture, ensuring proper workplace feedback, improving onboarding, etc.

Following are some strategies to evaluate the workplace culture:


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1. Know the existing workplace culture


The first step is to know the existing workplace, which can be innovative, aggressive, stable, employee-oriented, etc. An innovative culture allows the company to adopt new technologies and tools for improved productivity, employee skill-set, and processes. An aggressive culture means that the organization is actively taking steps to stay ahead in the race. Finally, the employee-oriented culture involves caring about employees and treating them with respect and dignity.

Richard Branson, a British entrepreneur, business magnate, and the founder of the Virgin Group, said, "There's no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated."


2. Assess the onboarding process


First impressions last. Onboarding is one of the initial candidate experiences. A smooth onboarding process improves employees’ respect and loyalty toward the company.

Employees waiting for hours on their first day may not form a favorable cultural opinion.


3. Taking employee input by asking the right questions


Organizations can ask the right questions from an employee through a survey. This survey should include questions related to employees’ inputs on the company’s culture, their first impression, and the ease of problem resolution.

Following are some questions organizations can ask while assessing the culture:

  • Do you have well-defined goals? If yes, do those goals align with the organization’s mission and vision?
  • Are you getting sufficient support, cooperation, and collaboration from the management?
  • Do you think employee policies and guidelines help you thrive in the organization?
  • Do your team members value and respect each other?
  • Do you feel your contribution is recognized and valued by the leaders?
  • Do your leaders take responsibility when things go wrong or issues occur?
  • Do you think the management is compromising its values and ethics to achieve the goals and stay competitive?
  • Are your ideas, inputs, and suggestions appreciated and implemented? 
  • How do your team members communicate with each other?
  • What is your favorite thing about the organization?


Eight tips to improve the workplace culture

Every employee experiences organizational culture differently, so you must assess, prioritize, and focus on various aspects to improve workplace culture.


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Following are some of the tips to improve workplace culture and create a happy environment:

Instill values, mission, and vision during onboarding

New employees are more driven and passionate about their work if they resonate with the organization’s values, missions, and vision.

According to the PwC report, nearly 54% of respondents determine the company culture via its mission and vision.

Hence, offering necessary information about the mission, vision, and values during onboarding drive efficiency and high productivity.

Inculcate performance-driven culture

Recognizing, appreciating, and encouraging employees’ performance builds a positive culture. Performance assessments help create a motivating environment, allowing high-potential employees to manage new responsibilities and opportunities easily.

Mercer | Mettl offers a suite of assessments to determine employees’ potential. The High Potential Assessment test helps shortlist employees who can be groomed and nurtured for high-potential positions. The Management Aptitude test evaluates the candidate’s performance, interpersonal skills, and soft skills for the managerial position. Finally, the Leadership Qualities Assessment analyzes risk-taking, critical thinking, task delegation, team motivation, and leading by example.

Implement technology whenever possible

This is the era of technology, and its implementation has become more critical than ever.

According to the 2021 Global Culture Report published by O.C. Tanner, excellent technology integration improves employee engagement likelihood by five times.

As employees want to opt for a hybrid working model and demand more flexibility, the right technology implementation offers stability, ease of work, and efficiency. Therefore, from shifting the workload to the cloud to implementing stringent security measures for data protection, innovation and technology implementation help improve the workplace culture.

Adapt according to the circumstances

The Covid-19 pandemic changed corporate operations considerably. From the pandemic-induced work-from-office model, we moved to remote or hybrid models. Post-pandemic, employees are less likely to return to the traditional model of office operations. Instead, they are more inclined to either work from home or adopt a hybrid model as it leads to improved productivity or work-life balance.

According to the report published by the Harvard Business School, 81% of the survey respondents want to either work from home or adopt a hybrid model. Nearly 27% of respondents want to work from home full-time, while 61% are willing to go to the office for two or three days a week.

Similar models help organizations adjust to unknown disturbances, ensure cultural positivity, and meet workforce expectations.

Continue to assess regularly

Conducting a cultural assessment is essential to stay updated with employees’ expectations, which allows for taking necessary steps for building a good workplace culture.

Organizations must regularly assess and understand employee expectations, viewpoints, and experiences to implement the necessary measures and improve the workplace culture.

Improve onboarding experience

Employees’ onboarding experience defines their company’s first impression and overall satisfaction. When the onboarding is laid-back and unstructured, employees feel confused during the initial days of joining. This confusion either turns into unorganized processes or improper execution later on.

Hence, organizations should ensure a proper onboarding strategy involving information delivery, team introduction, regular sessions to understand security guidelines, and other things. This helps set the right tone within teams, eliminating confusion and negative feelings at the time of onboarding.

Recognize employees for hard work

Employee recognition is the best way to improve workplace culture, retain talent, and motivate employees.

When employees don’t feel appreciated for their hard work, their productivity reduces, and workplace morale suffers. It creates a gap where some employees work only to complete tasks rather than to innovate and deliver optimum results. This motivation can be ignited by regularly recognizing and rewarding employees.

Create a recognition program or integrate a tool to reward and appreciate your employees even on small achievements. This will create a positive work environment and a driven culture.

Ensure employee well-being

Firstly, employers should offer basic health benefits, such as health and term insurance coverage for employees and their families.

Second, employers can ensure mental well-being through yoga sessions, improving work-life balance, and organizing de-stressing sessions.

For example, poor communication across channels can create confusion, overburdening a few employees with consistent reworks. This may affect employees’ mental well-being, creating a low and stagnant culture.

Breaking this norm with consistent team-building activities and stress-relieving sessions can ensure employees’ emotional and mental well-being.


How Mercer | Mettl can help

Mercer | Mettl helps companies find culture-fit candidates, assess the existing culture and workforce and implement strategies to improve the workplace culture.

Following are some valuable employee-specific assessments for culture building:



What are cultural assessment tests?

How do you pass the culture-fit test?

Which components are included in a cultural assessment?

Originally published December 5 2022, Updated December 5 2022

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About This Topic

Employee engagement is a process by which companies undertake specific activities to interact with employees and engage them. The activities include employee development, team building, skills development, trainings etc.

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