Some things to consider to start you off
Organisational culture is the set of shared, taken-for-granted implicit assumptions that members of an organisation hold and that determines how they perceive, think about and react to their various environmentsEdgar Schein (1992), a pioneer of research into culture
Surface Manifestations of culture
Such as how many levels from the head of the organisation to the lowest level employee. The greater the number of levels relative to the number of employees, the more bureaucratic and the less innovative the organisation will generally be.
High or low, whether there is performance-related pay, and what the differentials are between people at different grades. Pay matters to people and how it is managed has a big effect on culture.
How detailed or restrictive they are and what aspects they emphasize, such as safety or productivity, cost saving or quality. How rigid or flexible they seem to be and whether they are regularly reviewed.
Informal practices such as norms
Management and non-management employees sit at separate tables in the dining area; dress is strictly formal, or there are uniforms, or dress is casual and varied. People turn up late to meetings frequently or everyone is always there on time. Customers are spoken about warmly as partners or treated as a target group.
Espoused values and rituals
An emphasis on cooperation and support versus cut-and-thrust competition between teams; cards, gifts, and parties for those leaving the organisation or such events are not observed. There are always festivities at key points in the calendar (summer BBQ and Christmas) and people behave wildly versus social events are dignified and restrained.
Stories, jokes, and jargon
Commonly told stories about a particular success or the failings of the chief executive; sarcasm about the HR department for example, and jargon or acronyms.
Office space, eating areas, rest rooms; are all spaces clean, tidy, and comfortable, or is it only the areas on public display? Are there decorations such as plants and paintings and good facilities such as water fountains? Is the place overrun with paper and cables? Does it feel pleasant, urgent, uncomfortable, overwhelming, or exciting to be in?
Woods, S.A. and West, M.A. (2015) The psychology of work and organizations, 2nd edn., Britain: Cengage Learning EMEA.
See also the recommended reading list for more support with your workplace culture
At ConnectUp, our starting point would always be to start with the people who do the work. How are things for them and what do they need to be able to work at their best?