You are reading: Outdated workplace surveys don’t work. Here’s what we’re doing instead.

May | Organisational Culture | Read time: calculating...

Outdated workplace surveys don’t work. Here’s what we’re doing instead.


The culture of a workplace drives its success. Culture sets the tone for the business, for its people, and the clients, customers, and suppliers.

Understanding organisational culture is key to enacting positive changes to help a business, and its people, thrive.


Culture Enables Strategy

An organisation’s culture can’t be gleaned by a quick once-over from management.

Workplace culture surveys are valuable tools to take a deep dive into the ‘guts’ of the organisation. They seek to understand how things are done: 

  • Through employee behaviour,
  • How this affects their job performance,
  • How employees view the culture as it stands, and;
  • How they view their leaders and their leadership style.

Culture surveys help the organisation get a snapshot of where their employees are at, what’s driving them, and where they can improve individually.

Ultimately, culture surveys should create a roadmap for organisations to improve productivity and create a great place for their people to work.


Why Traditional Culture Surveys Don’t Work

Traditional surveys make sense in theory. But there are roadblocks in actuality which can cause progress to come to a grinding halt:

  • The survey tools are overcomplicated. Surveys are not helpful if the organisation using them doesn’t have the necessary skills to understand the process and interpret the results. Or; the people delivering them don’t understand them enough to enact change effectively.
  • The survey tool itself is outdated. It may be the same survey an organisation has used for many years, because that’s how it’s always been done. But this doesn’t reflect the way business is done now, so it is redundant.
  • The necessary support to make change is lacking. The company undertaking the survey provides the organisation with the results… then leaves them to their own devices to manage the potentially daunting next steps. There is no follow up support.
  • No change is enacted. The survey may be undertaken, but then it goes nowhere after the results come back.


Cultivate: The Culture Survey Helping People Flourish

Keogh has developed a unique business culture measurement and transformation model. We call it Cultivate.  

It’s designed for organisations aspiring to build a high-performing culture where people flourish.

Born from over three decades of cultural transformation experience, and developed and refined over three years, Cultivate is a robust instrument solving the problems organisations face with standard culture surveys.

Learn more about Cultivate now


What’s different about Cultivate

Cultivate came about because we recognised that there were limitations with how organisational culture surveys were being implemented.

To combat this, Cultivate’s model is based on research that looks at two important factors:

  • Elements that create high performance in the workplace
  • Elements that create a flourishing workplace

The difference here isn’t mere phrasing. Cultivate merges the quantitative and the qualitative into one comprehensive approach.

With our Cultivate model, it was important to create a practical instrument; easy to understand, and easy to interpret. 

1. A workplace culture survey, actually based on its culture

The Cultivate model is a true behavioural assessment. After all, culture is behaviour; it’s what people do, rather than the outputs they deliver.

Cultivate focuses on behaviour of those within the organisation, rather than their tasks or outcomes.

2. Leading change

Leaders play a vital role in changing the culture. To make real cultural change, leaders need to be supported to, well… lead it. 

Built into Cultivate are 15 questions relating to leadership, including topics such as:

  • Coaching and empowering people.
  • Identifying where leaders can focus to make the change they want to see.

The Keogh team helps you deploy Cultivate, providing ongoing support to leaders. We actively assess an organisation’s culture and identify its readiness for change. This helps us to determine how to best position the organisation for success.

3. Focusing on what’s important

Cultivate also helps identify where to focus energy to build a high performing organisation. It uses a series of global statements asking participants to say what’s important now, and what’s important in the future. 

This provides a strategic lens for leadership to identify where to focus their efforts. It gives clues from a strategic point of view as to where they need to point the business, and how to make that change happen.

Related: How to change organisational culture.

4. A process that works with you

Keogh doesn’t run the survey in isolation. We work with organisations to help you understand it, how to get the most out of it, and support you in taking the next steps. 

We take a hands-on approach to support your organisation, build your skills, and build leaders’ capacity to deliver the cultural journey.

5. Building a high-performing culture

We’re not saying that other instruments are inherently broken. They just don’t focus on the right things for your organisation.

Traditional surveys don’t have the scope to get a deeper view of what’s causing problems in an organisation. They also don’t typically include the right people from the organisation, to help build a high performance culture.


Cultivate is more than just a survey

It’s a process that sets up an organisation for success, using a bespoke process tailored to your business’ needs.

Cultivate ensures that your organisation sets strong foundations for a future where your people flourish.

Why not get in touch with us to learn more about our Cultivate model and how it can help your organisation.

Interested in the research behind Cultivate? Fill in the form below to download your free copy of our whitepaper.

Download the free whitepaper now