What’s your culture? Explore these 12 vital attributes

To understand the values and beliefs that pervade your organization, ask employees to weigh in on these key elements of their work experience. The results can be affirming or jarring.


An organization’s culture consists of the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that employees share and use daily.

An organization’s culture reflects and affects how employees describe where they work, how they understand the business and how they see themselves as part of the organization. Culture is also a driver of decisions, actions and, ultimately, the overall performance of the organization.

How would employees describe the culture of your organization?

Some common positive assessments are:

  • This is a fun place to work.
  • We are results oriented.
  • Everyone here cares about each other.
  • This is a great place to learn and grow.
  • Negative descriptions exist, too:
  • You can’t speak up without fear of retribution.
  • I don’t feel trusted to do my job.
  • We work in silos.
  • I don’t see how my work contributes to the overall goals of the company.

Cultures develop organically or are created through deliberate, consistent planning and action. Leaders at the best organizations understand their culture and take careful steps to manage and promote it. One way they manage their culture is to gather feedback from employees to see how aligned they are with the current and/or desired culture.



A good way to do this is to define the desired cultural attributes and measure them through an employee survey.

Here are 12 attributes to evaluate your organization culture:

1. Respect/fairness

2. Trust/integrity

3. Change/adaptability

4. Results orientation

5. Teamwork

6. Employee engagement

7. Responsibility/accountability

8. Learning opportunities

9. Meaning/purpose

10. Communication

11. Decision making

12. Goals/strategy

Each includes three to five items that detail the attribute and provide insight into how the culture works. Once you have your survey results, decide which attributes you want to keep, and develop a strategy to eliminate those that are toxic. This is the first step to getting employees aligned with a culture that will drive success.

Have more attributes to add to the list? Please share in the comments.

A version of this post first appeared on DecisionWise.

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