Algorithms Measure and Orchestrate Culture to Meet Digital Need

big data
David Lee, COO and CFO of Impossible Foods, an innovative developer of plant-based foods, nailed it when, for a recent piece of research conducted by Digital McKinsey, he said: “To me, culture is what gets rewarded. I don’t mean just financially. I mean what behaviours, what kind of speech elicit support socially and result in career progress and financial gain?

“If you define culture that way, the examples in almost every large turnaround I’ve seen of culture failing is when the focus is on the superficial totems of culture.” By this he was referring to those familiar marathon sessions on, “Let’s debate as a team whether the mission statement should say, ‘should’ or ‘would’,” or “Are the values out of date? Let’s hire a great strategy consultancy to help us refresh the company’s values.”

It’s a candid view from an entrepreneur who is not afraid to say it how it is, because when you’re innovating, nothing is sacrosanct. And so it seems a lot of the talk around culture is unhelpful. Also, according to new research from Alderbrooke, the people analytics consultancy, traditional methods of measuring culture have also been flawed. Identifying these two impediments opens up new channels for building a culture that meets digital need.

Alderbrooke interviewed 51,000 employees and found that most of the tools used to measure culture within large enterprise in fact do something rather different – they profile employee personality. What is needed is the ability to measure specific behaviours in a variety of corporate circumstances as research showed that values and behaviours are intrinsically linked.

Related Article: BVEx Social Poll Surfaces Multiple Roles and Dual Tension for the CIO in Today’s Digital Organisation

Hani Nabeel, Talent and Assessment Partner at Alderbrooke, admits there’s no silver bullet when it comes to changing an organisation’s culture, but he believes it’s possible for businesses to accurately measure it. This means gauging personal or organisational values and behaviours in the right way to help businesses identify their current culture and even predict future behaviour patterns.

No surprise that an algorithm engine is part of the answer promoted by Alderbrooke. The use of data coupled with a learning machine can measure and interpret workforce data in new ways and go beyond job-fit results. In the future, enterprises equipped with the right algorithms will build stronger teams and predict business performance better. And vague chat of culture, may be a thing of the past.

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Helen Beckett

Author: Helen Beckett

Helen Beckett is the Community Manager of the Business Value Exchange. She has been a writer and editor for over 20 years and takes a particular interest in the challenges facing the CIO in today’s business climate.