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August is National Civility Month. Civility, like respect in the workplace or lack of it, is a hot issue nowadays.  You might be asking yourself, “what can I do?” As human resource professional, you are in a unique position to engage in the demanding work to shape changes within yourself and in others. As a starting point consider the following:

  • Work to educate yourself and others about the pervasive issues of racism and the structures that perpetuate the status quo.
  • Embark on difficult conversations with individuals, coworkers, and community leaders as a step in the journey toward an equitable and just society.
  • Utilize tools and other resources to learn about your intercultural mindset.

If you think you need to change the culture of your organization, it is essential to first understand the employee experience. This means taking a snapshot of the behaviors and mindsets that are the norm in the organization. By recognizing the current culture, you can then determine the extent to what needs to be addressed.

There are several tools you can utilize to measure the many dimensions, including surveys and assessments. When considering the use of a survey or assessment, it is critical to think about the following three points:


Many surveys try to do too much and measure too many dimensions, which often results in analysis-paralysis. They produce complicated sets of data that need weeks to analyze and are hard to turn into simple actions. To be effective when working on culture is about choosing simplicity. You want to develop simple, measurable actions that will shift the culture.

Behavioral Survey

One weak point of culture surveys is that they often focus on cultural attributes, such as agility, collaboration, competition, or pride, but not so much on the behaviors themselves. It is the behaviors that make culture tangible and doable. Clearly identifying the behaviors displayed by employees is therefore critical.

Cultural Survey, Not Engagement

Engagement should not be confused with culture. Engagement is the motivation that people have to do their best, whereas culture is how they do it. Engagement is often an outcome of culture, a lagging indicator of some sorts. If your desire is to work on culture, then use a culture survey, not an engagement survey.

The culture of your organization impacts everything from productivity and engagement to retention and growth. If you don’t regularly assess your company culture and pay attention to what your employees want, you risk facing the high cost of employee disengagement.

Purple Ink offers and recommends the use of the following assessments: Organizational Culture Inventory and the Intercultural Development Inventory, both of which can measure your organizational culture. For more information on these assessments, please feel free to reach out to us.

Misty Resendez Woods
Misty Resendez Woods
Misty is a former member of the Purple Ink team. She is passionate about developing professionals so that they have the tools necessary to enhance their personal drive for success throughout everything they do.

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