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A measure of culture: This Australian tech start up has launched the world’s first standardized corporate culture index

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Sunil Vohra and Kate Stone, TWI’s co-founders The Workability Index
Sunil Vohra and Kate Stone, TWI’s co-founders

The world’s first independent and standardised index creating culture transparency, launched recently, provides companies with the capacity to measure and strengthen corporate culture.

A tangible response to the current crisis in Australian corporate culture exposed by the Hayne Royal Commission, Melbourne-based start-up The Workability Index’s platform also provides companies with strong cultures the capacity to benchmark and highlight their performance.

The Workability Index (TWI) is set to revolutionise the way that organisations assess, report and communicate workplace culture.

TWI co-founder, Sunil Vohra, states that failing to accurately measure and report on organisational culture was the major contributing factor to the types of failings witnessed at organisations like Westpac and AMP.

“It’s universally acknowledged that transparency is the greatest regulator,” Mr Vohra said. “The notion of transparency pivots thinking all the way through the organisation.”

“Until now, organisational culture has largely been viewed as an internal metric, typified by highly bespoke and not always relevant measures,” Mr Vohra said. “We have standardized protocols for reporting financial results, it is now time for this same rigour to be applied to the primary non-financial metric, corporate culture.

What is the motivation behind The Workability Index?

Mr. Vohra’s co-founder and People & Culture specialist Kate Stone, noted the lack of standardised data and evidence has limited the ability of many organisations to objectively understand and respond to the workplace culture problem.

“If we are to address these challenges, we need to shift the way we assess culture towards a more outward facing model that drives greater transparency, oversight and accountability across the key dimensions of organisational culture,” Ms Stone explained.

The Workability Index framework measures 10 critical dimensions of culture: Risk Culture, Trust, Future Workforce, Advocacy, Community, Wellbeing, Leadership, Organisational, Inclusion and Engagement.

“The Workability Index is the new standard for corporate culture, ensuring that all stakeholders connected to the organisation can quickly and easily understand current performance against the index,” Mr Vohra added.

TWI has published the initial index of the combined culture scores of member organisations. This TWI score will become the de-facto standard for culture transparency, supported with subindexes tracking specific industries and dimensions.

TWI will soon launch the TWI Leaderboard, recognising Australia’s best-performing organisations.

How does The Workability Index work?

The Workability Index is built on a foundation of a new, standardised framework for assessing organisational cultural performance delivered via a new digital platform.

Organisations joining TWI receive an index score out of 1000, drawn equally from ten critical dimensions of culture; Risk Culture, Trust, Future Workforce, Advocacy, Community, Wellbeing, Leadership, Organisational, Inclusion and Engagement.

The index tool is emailed out to all employees of that organisation with data collected anonymously. Afterwards, all the raw de-identified data is collated into a bespoke analytics platform that scores and benchmarks the dimension and each statement set within the index. As a deep analytics approach, there are 200 benchmarks which contribute to an overall TWI score out of 1000 – designed to deliver clarity for all stakeholders.

TWI’s analytics platform is set to give deep analytics to its member organisations while providing a valid basis on which organisations can track their performance to the index.

How does The Workability Index measure success?

The Workability Index utilises a standardised data set to allow organisations to build their scores over the 10 TWI Dimensions.

Staff from the organisation are emailed links to access the TWI digital platform and answer to what extent do they agree with a series of statements. The Likert score methodology allows participants to answer 1 to 5. The TWI algorithm then calculates the scores giving the member organisation detailed results across:

(i) Each statement score and benchmark

(ii) Scores out of 100 for each of the 10 TWI Dimensions

(iii) Overall score out of 1000 as their TWI Score to compare to the current index.

The current Index is 615 / 1000 as at 1st December. The Workability Index will be updated regularly for anyone to assess current performance with an expectation of updates at a daily closing, similar to the ASX indexes.

How did The Workability Index land on these 10 dimensions for measuring organizational culture?

The Workability Index’s founders were aware of the large number of organisations relying on engagement surveys alone to measure culture, or editable template surveys that allowed editing and culling of questions. This gave no standardised way of assessment and no ability for valid comparison.

TWI set out to provide a comprehensive basis for assessing the key factors influencing culture. These were deemed the comprehensive set of influences that all stakeholders could gain knowledge from both within and external to the organisation.

TWI worked with organisational psychologists, culture development consultants, statistical experts and applied best practice assessment to create the standardised data set.

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