The 2009 Canadian Corporate Culture Study

Waterstone Human Capital's Canadian Corporate Culture Study serves as the basis for each Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures award season, which starts in the spring.

The study asks 500 senior executives a variety of questions about corporate culture. At the end of the survey, respondents are also asked to nominate organizations they most admire for having a corporate culture that has impacted performance.

Once nominated, organizations are asked to make a detailed submission to the program, based on five criteria: vision and leadership; cultural alignment, measurement and sustainability; rewards, recognition and innovative business achievement; corporate performance; and, corporate social responsibility.

The submissions are then evaluated and voted on by the Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures Board of Governors. The winning organizations are announced in the fall, and feted at an awards gala.

The 2009 Canadian Corporate Culture Study - Survey Responses:

Please select the appropriate term(s) that correspond to your personal definition of corporate culture: You may select more than one choice.

employees' behaviours 75.5% 
employees' attitudes 69.0% 
employees' beliefs 52.3% 
leadership's behaviours 76.9% 
leadership's attitudes 65.3% 
leadership's beliefs 53.1% 
organizational values 77.3% 
work environment 71.8% 
organizational vision / mission 66.1%
founder's DNA 22.0%

How do you describe your organization's corporate culture? You may select more than one choice.

entrepreneurial 45.5% 
fun 36.8%
team focused 57.4% 
professional 39.7% 
energetic 42.2% 
value-driven 49.1% 
customer-focused 57.4% 
performance driven 64.6%
dysfunctional 9.7% 
risk averse 9.4% 
bureaucratic 12.6% 
work hard - play hard 33.9% 
secretive 5.4% 

What has lead to the evolution of your current corporate culture? You may select more than one choice.

current leadership 88.1% 
current employees 59.9% 
former employees 23.1% 
former leadership 32.9% 
company history 54.2% 
merger & acquisition 15.5% 
 
What are the three issues of most importance to you today in managing your corporate culture? Please select 3 choices.
 
Alignment of culture to business strategy 76.5% 
Recruitment of appropriate talent 46.6% 
Integration of new talent 32.5% 
Measurement of corporate culture 13.0% 
Leadership development 75.1%
Value definition and communication 49.8% 
 
Is your current corporate culture at the desired state? You may select only one choice.
 
Yes 28.9% 
No 17.3% 
Still evolving 48.4% 
 
What specific strategies or tools are you currently using to align your corporate culture? You may select more than one choice.

town hall meetings 55.9%
newsletters 37.5%
leadership practices (leading by example) 81.6%
training & development 68.2%
recruiting process 42.9%
financial rewards 38.7%
non-financial rewards 39.5%
internal culture seminars 19.9%
communication of values (posted) 74.3%

Do you believe that a new leader can change your corporate culture? You may select only one choice.

Yes 84.7% 
No 15.3% 
 
If yes, in your experience, how long does it take for a new leader to change an organization's corporate culture?

At announcement 0.9%
Within the first 30 days 1.8%
Within 1 to 3 months 7.3%
Within 3 to 6 months 9.2%
Within 6 months to one year 19.7%
Time isn't the issue, it depends on the new leader's actions once in office 64.2%

Do you measure your organization's corporate culture?

Yes 68.6%
No 31.4%

If yes, how do you measure your corporate culture? You may select more than one answer.

We use employee surveys 70.5%
We use 360 degree feedback 44.5%
We use performance reviews 61.0%
We perform a culture audit 20.5%
We use external benchmarking 34.0%
We rely on "gut feel" 18.5%

What key employee behaviours get rewarded in your organization? You may select more than one choice.

productivity 66.3%
teamwork 67.8%
innovation / creativity 61.7%
customer satisfaction 68.2%
leadership 69.7%
mentorship 25.3%
risk-taking 22.6%
aggressiveness 11.9%
attention to detail 28.4%
consistency / stableness 20.7%

Does your corporate culture have a positive impact on your corporate performance? You may select only one choice.

0 - no, there's no impact at all 8.2%
1 - yes, a very small positive impact 3.1%
2 - yes, a small positive impact 6.3%
3 - yes, a moderately positive impact 13.7%
4 - yes, a strong positive impact 36.1%
5 - yes, a very strong and positive impact 32.5%

How does your corporate culture impact your organizational performance? You may select more than one choice.

Drives sales / revenue up 65.1%
Drives sales / revenue down 5.5%
Increases costs 5.1%
Reduces costs 43.5%
Increases turnover 9.0%
Lowers turnover 58.8%
Provides a climate of innovation 53.3%
Stifles innovation 9.4%
Gives a sense of belonging 61.2%
Everyone works for their own interests 9.8%
Ensures stability 42.7%
Ensures instability 5.1%
Creates an alignment of employee behaviour 64.7%

What is more important in finding candidates for your organization? You may select only one choice.

Cultural fit 74.5% 
Necessary skills 25.5% 
 
 How do you ensure that you find the right candidates for your organization? You may select more than one choice.
 
Conduct multiple interviews 83.1%
Conduct behaviour / psychological assessment 38.0%
Conduct reference checks 71.4%
Go with a gut feeling / instinct 34.9%
Provide probationary period 50.6%
Seek personal references 40.8%
Look for key behaviours 72.9%
Assess performance track record 63.9%

Do you have a process for integrating new leaders within your corporate culture? You may select only one choice.

Yes 62.9%
No 37.1%

If yes, how long does the integration process take? You may select only one choice.

Less than 30 days 12.2% 
Between 30 and 90 days 26.0%
Ongoing 61.9%

How does the integration process work? You may select more than one choice.

Orientation 75.0%
Mentorship 50.0%
Continued meetings 53.7%
Leadership programs 57.4%
One-on-one follow up 73.9%

Who leads the integration process? You may select more than one answer.

HR 62.5%
The new hire's direct report or functional leader 85.9%
A 3rd party, internal (other than HR) 7.6%
A 3rd party, external 3.3%

Is your integration process different for internal hires versus external hires?

Yes 47.0%
No 53.0%

How do you retain top talent? You may select more than one answer.

Higher compensation 33.6%
Better benefits 28.1%
More promotion opportunities 34.0%
Career development 68.1%
Promote culture 53.6%
Empowerment 55.7%
Keep them challenged 76.6%
Non-compete agreement 9.4%
Training & Development 63.0%

My organization's corporate culture impacts our ability to ACQUIRE top talent You may select only one choice.

0 - not at all 4.7%
1 - strongly disagree 4.3%
2 - disagree 4.7%
3 - indifferent 6.8%
4 - agree 40.9%
5 - strongly agree 38.7%

My organization's corporate culture impacts our ability to RETAIN top talent. You may select only one choice.

0 - not at all 4.3%
1 - strongly disagree 5.5%
2 - disagree 3.8%
3 - indifferent 5.1%
4 - agree 39.6%
5 - strongly agree 41.7%

In a recession, your organization's recruitment strategy is as follows:

We stop or delay hiring, until the economy improves 13.6%
We only hire as necessary, for example to fill a vacant position 54.0%
We see the recession as an opportunity to acquire top talent 44.3%