Top 20 work culture survey questions and tips

Work culture survey: What is it?

Definition: A work culture survey is a tool to collect insights from employees associated with the organization to assess and improve the business and make enhancements in leadership strategies, future investments, and overall changes in the organization. It is a survey that evaluates how well-aligned is an organization’s culture with its propagated values and ethics.

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”  – Simon Sinek, Author, Start with Why.

It is extremely pivotal for an organization to understand what its employees think about their culture, whether they relate to it or not, and what can be improved to make the organization a better place to work. Every cultural aspect of a workplace directly or indirectly impacts business.

An organization where the management understands the importance of workplace culture and tries to make improvements with each passing year will perform better than an organization that is unaware or takes very little interest in workplace culture.  

Conducting a work culture survey helps in diagnosing a bridge, if it exists, between current culture and the culture an organization’s management hopes to achieve. By analyzing employee feedback and perceptions about the culture at present and aspects of the culture they find appealing, an organization can mend their strategies to try and eliminate the gap between the two.

Organizations that intend to create a workplace which is primarily driven by specific behaviors and focus on developing a conducive culture, often rely on culture surveys. Gaining insights into current workplace culture and analyzing the degree of alignment it has with the ideal set workplace culture will benefit the organization in terms of better planning, increase performance standards, employee engagement, etc.

Internal hierarchy, technologies, skills, and qualities that influence actions and assumptions, the entire system is measured with a workplace culture survey. With the inputs provided by each employee, an organization can work towards improving their vision for culture, job roles, and structure, manage the performance of company-wide teams, and enhance managerial techniques.

Learn more: Free Workplace Culture Survey Template

Top 20 work culture survey questions you can’t afford to miss!

If you are running a workplace culture survey in your organization, make sure to include these questions in your questionnaire.

1. On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our organization to your friends and colleagues due to the culture?

Satisfied employees will often boast about their workplace culture amongst their friends and colleagues, and so will dissatisfied employees. But satisfied employees will recommend their network to apply for jobs with your organization which will is profitable for your organization. In contrast, dissatisfied employees will spread a negative word about your culture.

Ask this Net Promoter Score question to make improvements in your company’s market reputation by making changes in workplace culture. 

2. Are you comfortable with your workplace culture? If yes, Why?

This workplace culture survey question provides information about whether or not your organizational culture aligns with employee opinions and feedback about culture in general. If more than 50% of the organization opines that your culture is not comfortable and is hindering their professional growth, you may have to put in conscious efforts to make them comfortable. You can do it by either mending a few culture-related rules or by knowing details about the reason for their discomfort.

3. Do you feel respected by your team and the organization?

An individual grows tremendous in situations where he/she feels respected. This work culture survey question is instrumental in understanding whether the employee’s team respects him/her and how is the factor of respect contributing to their productivity.

4. Does your manager provide you with timely feedback about your work?

Feedback is key for an employee’s progress in an organization. Does an employee’s manager provide frequent improvement tips and feedback? Ask this question to understand and analyze how to make feedback for the employees a constant process.

5. Which aspects of the organization can be improved to make it a better place to work?

Every employee has an opinion about how their culture can improve, and most of them also know details about competitor workplace cultures. Include this question to enhance your current culture to keep improving employee satisfaction levels.

6. How would you define leadership exhibited in this organization?

Employees in an organization look up to the leadership of the organization. A leader with integrity, discipline, hard-working, intelligent, and similar traits are respected within the organization, and employees want to replicate these traits. So, it is important to ask this question to understand how employees perceive the leadership in the organization.

7. How would you characterize this organization’s management style?

The management style of an organization speaks volumes of the ways things are conducted within the organization. Good management means good values, which in turn results in lower employee attrition rates.

8. According to you, how does this organization define “success”?

Every organization has a different measure to define success, but employees must be aware of those measures, and most importantly, are in tandem with the organization’s thought process.

9. Is your organization dedicated to diversity and inclusiveness?

An organization that doesn’t discriminate based on gender, sex, religion, color, sexual orientation is a safe place for employees to be in. This is an important question you need in your work culture survey to know if your employees think this organization is where they want to be.

10. Do you understand how your work impacts the organization’s business goals?

An organization that helps employees perform better will always experience better levels of employee satisfaction and employee engagement. And a workforce that knows how they impact the organization will always be willing to go above and beyond to do good for the organization.

11. Do you think the organization operates in a socially responsible manner?

An organization that is ethical by all means is the first choice for employees. It is important to know if your employees think the same or otherwise about the organization they work in. In case they have a different opinion, it’s time to evaluate yourself as an organization.

12. Are you satisfied that the organization’s work is positively impacting the employees in the organization?

If employees are not happy working and doing things the way an organization wants them to, then there is certainly a conflict of interest and an organization must take the initiative to resolve this. So if your employees think that their organization is negatively impacting the employee, evaluate yourself immediately!

13. Are you satisfied with the overall job security in the organization?

Job security is important for employees within the organization. If employees are scared of losing their jobs because of petty issues, then this issue must be addressed. This attribute surely leads to negative work culture.

14. Does your organization have a safe working environment for all the employees?

Employee safety should be on top of the agenda for organizations. If there are female employees working until late at night, proper arrangements should be made for their safety and protection. At all times, employees should feel safe in the workplace.  

15. Do you think the organization adheres to a zero-tolerance policy against any kind of discrimination?

Another important question that should be a part of a work culture survey; employees need to know there is a zero-tolerance policy against any kind of discrimination. This is not just a point in the HR manual; this should be strictly adhered to.

16. Does your manager/supervisor share decision making power with you?

It is important employees feel valued at their workplace. If the manager or supervisor guides an employee in decision making or gives them the responsibility, it shows the greater character of the leadership within the organization.

17. Do you have a say in the organization’s policy changes?

You will be surprised at the suggestions/feedback you will get on this question, ask your employees how they feel about policy changes before you throw it at them without asking for their opinion.

18. Is there a culture of teamwork and cooperation within the organization?

Teamwork and cooperation are the two attributes that determine, to a larger extent, an organization’s culture. Positive work culture will exhibit both these attributes strongly. Ask your employees what their say is.

19. Are you satisfied with the way performance reviews are conducted in the organization?

A satisfied employee will do more than what is expected of him/her. The performance review is an important process that every organization follows. But it is also important to know if your employees think it is fair or not.  

20. Are there any additional questions you would like to add to this survey?

Always include this question towards the end. Employees have some good insights that can be a part of your work culture survey. As you progress, you will be able to make amendments to the existing questions- add/delete and collect meaningful feedback.

Learn more: Employee Benefits Survey Template

Tips to improve work culture survey response rates

Work Culture Survey

1. Plan well-in-advance

It is important to understand that to improve response rates for a culture survey, an organization needs to create a plan which starts before actually sending the survey. The management, the partners, and everyone involved should contribute to creating excitement around culture surveys. Share a social media post or an email to the employees, which communicates that a survey to measure culture will be launched soon – activities of this sort should ideally be carried out to make sure the response rates increase.

2. Send short and accurate surveys

Employees get bored with a lengthy survey, which seems never to end. For an organization to boost response rates, they need to consider survey fatigue and keep the survey questions as precise as possible.

3. Maintain anonymity

Anonymity is a very influential factor for enhanced response rates. Why? – because employees are assured that their opinion will not damage their work or reputation with peers and managers. Employees can be assured that their feedback will be kept anonymous so that they provide honest responses, which can actually help in improving organizational culture.

4. Send reminders

An employee receives a significant number of emails in a day from colleagues, managers, customers and amongst all these emails, it’s highly probable for the culture survey email to get lost. A friendly poke at specific time intervals can do wonders to the response rates.

5. Learn about hindrances

There can be an ample amount of hindrances for an employee to provide feedback for a culture survey. Understand which aspects are keeping them from replying to the survey – it can be a lack of time, discomfort with the survey language, or survey load time on their computer.

Learn more: FREE Employee Engagement Survey Template

Work culture survey vs. employee engagement survey

Many organizations and HR managers wonder if they should run culture surveys in their organization or engagement surveys. Or should we run both? What is the difference? Let us quickly look at key aspects that differentiate culture questionnaires and engagement questionnaires.

Scope

The scope of the study is what differentiates workplace culture surveys and employee engagement surveys.
A staff engagement survey will focus on their perception of the organization and what they feel about their job. Questions in an engagement survey will be regarding employee benefits, the effectiveness of supervisors, promotion opportunities, etc.
A work culture survey will focus on how the staff perceives an organization’s ethics, beliefs, values, rules, ability to judge right and wrong, and act accordingly.

Perspective

Engagement questionnaires are designed and answered from an ‘I’ point of view. It relates to their day-to-day experiences, assignments, motivation, commitment to work, etc.
Work culture studies are more ‘we’ focussed. It delves into values and shared beliefs that guide the behavior and thinking of the entire organization. It determines how well the staff knows and is committed to the company’s values.

Measurement

Employee engagement surveys gauge the factors impacting employee performance. It looks at how they feel about their work, job responsibilities, peer relations, team relations, well-being, work-life balance, collaboration, cooperation, and others. It lets the managers know if the employees are supported, appreciated, excited, and managed in their roles.
Workplace culture surveys look at practices, internal structures, technologies, etc. that impact behavior and employee expectations. Questions regarding aspects such as vision, mission, innovation, leadership style, management effectiveness, teamwork, and conflict management are covered.

Benefits of conducting workplace culture surveys

Now that we know what kind of questions you need to cover in your online workplace culture surveys, let us look at why we should conduct them. Here are some key advantages and benefits of conducting work culture surveys.

Identify your company culture

A company’s work culture is not good or bad, and it can never be that simple or direct. All organizations are unique, and so is their culture. What you need to know or confirm is if the culture is conducive to an employee’s growth, do employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions, do employees love to work there, etc. Conducting a survey can give you insights into these aspects and let you know if the employees like the workplace culture and find it positive.

Highlight issues in practices

An organization’s business operations and people processes are based on a set of practices. These practices are modified, changed over many years. Some of these practices may be outdated, or not the right ones anymore because the organization grew or diversified into another business. This may be true of companies that acquire or get acquired. Are there issues with the practice or some elements in it? An online culture survey will help you identify and fix them.

Gauge transparency and communication

Employees need to feel they can voice their opinion openly and that they will be heard, and management will take necessary actions. The management needs to be transparent about business decisions and future plans. Surveying your employees will let you know if the organization is meeting all the necessary standards for positive work experience.

Analyze and act

With specific questions in your work culture surveys, you can identify the behaviors that are most or least prominent in your organization’s culture. Using these, you can set priorities for making your culture more effective, positive, and employee-friendly.