Can You Really Measure The ROI Of Company Culture? 10 HR Experts Weigh In

Many companies are pushing for a more efficient and inclusive company culture. They may try to achieve this by experimenting with new and exciting perks and initiatives, like remote work policies or employee recognition programs. However, it can be tough to determine whether organizations can truly measure the ROI of such culture-enhancing techniques.

We asked a panel of Forbes Human Resources Council members for their perspectives on the matter, as well the best ways to determine its impact. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Employee Experience Is The Key Metric

If you ask your employees about what matters most to them and are diligent about investing in improvement initiatives, you should expect to see measurable changes in employee satisfaction and loyalty. Doing surveys isn’t the end game. Listening and responding in meaningful ways is. – Joyce Maroney, Kronos Incorporated

2. Strategic Culture-Enhancing Initiatives Can Be Measured

Start with your existing KPIs (ex. customer retention rate, employee turnover rate, employee engagement or customer satisfaction). Culture-enhancing initiatives should be designed specifically to increase the results of these KPIs. When this happens, the return on investment can be measured. – Candice McGlen, The Rinker Group

3. You Can Measure Engagement With HR Metrics

Company culture affects morale, which has a direct impact on employee engagement. Many studies show that engaged employees perform better. Organizations can measure the impact of culture-enhancing initiatives by plotting the relationship between the increase of such initiatives on metrics such as employee retention, turnover, attendance, employee satisfaction, revenue per employee and sales. – Angela Nguyen, Ad Exchange Group

4. Tie Culture Initiatives To KPIs

To effectively measure the ROI of culture initiatives, you need good baseline data. Establish key performance metrics for culture initiatives and measure your outcomes to determine if you are seeing the intended impact. If not, iterate. A strong sense of culture has a positive impact on organizational performance. Make sure you are leveraging data insights to effectively build your culture program. – Suzanne Hyatt, Hyatt Human Capital Solutions

5. Use Employee Net Promoter Score To Measure Cultural Impact

Employee Net Promoter Score can be a critical tool to understand the impact of specific initiatives. The best eNPS tools also slice the data based on specific aspects of engagement and feedback in order to measure the impact of projects. Pulse-driven tools accumulate larger pools of data and help to understand leading measures versus waiting for annual results, as well as filter out bias. – Stacie Mallen, Execute to Win

6. Analyze Cultural Health In Terms Of Employee And Customer Perspectives

An organization’s cultural health can be assessed by analyzing the ROI from both an employee and customer perspective. Metrics to consider include turnover rate, cultural audits, employee Net Promoter Scores and customer feedback. These metrics can be insightful when there are pre-initiative baseline metrics to compare to the metrics post-implementation of the cultural initiative. – Bridgette Wilder, Wilder HR Management & EEO Consulting

7. Look At Employee Retention Rates

Years of research show a direct connection between companies’ cultures and business success. But one way to measure ROI on a smaller scale is through your employee retention rate. Are you not only attracting but also keeping the best people long-term? Are employees happy, producing their best work and proud to tell others where they work? Culture plays a key role in keeping your company thriving. – Vivian Maza, Ultimate Software

8. Your Culture’s ROI Will Reflect In Your Accolades

There are several KPIs that we can talk of, but the one that made the biggest difference for us was “The Best Places to Work” Award. This is run by neutral organizations and gives a great insight into what teams think of you as a leader and your company. If you win, you are doing something right. You also can get insight on how to improve it further. A happy team will lead to a healthy culture. – Abhijeet Narvekar, The FerVID Group

9. Look At Survey Results And Productivity Rates

Your organization can measure culture-enhancing initiatives by looking at employee performance and data. Always start with a baseline so you can truly measure and report out on your culture initiative successes. Culture impacts morale which impacts performance. A few ways to measure your ROI on culture are engagement surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, turnover rate and productivity increase. – Tania White, The Loretto Hospital

10. Study Your Trends Over Time

Culture-enhancing activities, if done correctly, will increase employee engagement. Increased employee engagement affects real business outcomes. To measure the ROI of such initiatives, look at all your human KPIs. Turnover, absenteeism, customer satisfaction and productivity are some measures to trend. Also beneficial is to conduct engagement surveys and trend results over time. – Lucy Rivas-Enriquez, Union Rescue Mission – Los Angeles


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