What is the cultural values assessment (CVA)?

by Georgia Parker | Aug 20, 2021

time icon 3 mins

The Cultural Values Assessment (CVA), is a methodology and culture assessment tool that was created by the Barrett Values Centre. CVAs are a powerful and incisive way of getting right to the heart of a company’s culture. 

It involves an online culture assessment questionnaire, ideally sent to all staff members in the organisation, who are asked three key questions. These cover who they are as a person, their experience of the current work culture and the changes they believe are necessary for the organisation to be successful or to achieve its goal. We call this desired culture.

A CVA generates a wealth of data and is also quite simple in some ways. CVAs are used to generate dialogue and discussion in the organisation about culture, values and behaviours. It doesn’t give an “answer” about what to do about the culture to improve it, but instead is a way to engage people to work on the culture together.

By asking your employees a few simple questions, the CVA provides a complete overview of your organisation’s cultural strengths and weaknesses. Findings can highlight any gaps between where you are now and where you need to be.

What are the benefits of cultural assessment surveys?

  • They’re inexpensive and easy to set-up

The cost of a CVA is low and there is not much for you to do in terms of set-up. A certified practitioner in Cultural Transformation Tools, trained by BVC, will do all of the background work and will present the findings of the survey to you.  They’ll also help you to understand what the findings mean for your organisation and help you to make sense of them.

  • They don’t require a lot of time

A CVA asks your employees three simple questions and will only take them around 15 minutes to complete. This isn’t an intrusive survey and it doesn’t need an employee to take hours away from their working day. 

  • They are a great tool for engagement

The results can generate deep, meaningful conversations about the purpose, priorities, and strategy of the organization and the well-being of all stakeholders.

  • CVA’s can provide demographic data down to team level of 6 people

What should you do with culture assessment questionnaire findings?

Use the findings as a tool for dialogue and discussion. Your results can help leaders: 

  • Understand the impact of their leadership 
  • Make behavioural and mindset shifts as necessary to shift the culture
  • Keep the discussion alive in the organisation at a team level, reviewing values in practice and associated behaviours

It’s best practice to redo the assessment the following year to track progress.

Not all organisations act on the findings and that’s really a waste of the resource and data that a CVA provides. Used as a tool to stimulate engagement it’s a powerful way to begin a culture change programme in an organisation.

Here at There Be Giants, it’s our preferred culture assessment tool, but there are other ways to do it – at a team and organisational level, but we have found this over the years to be a powerful and cost-effective tool

A Cultural Values Assessment will provide you with quantifiable data about the most subjective of subjects. You’ll learn who your people are in terms of their values and priorities; how they experience the current organisational culture and what they believe is needed for the organisation to be successful. Seeking out this information is vital for opening up a dialogue and discussion about culture. This is what leads to greater understanding, strategic alignment and commitment to creating the kind of organisational culture that you want and need.

How to improve workplace culture

Here at There Be Giants, we understand just how important culture is to the OKR process. Without an engaged, fearless and fiery team, you’ll struggle to implement OKRs successfully and grow your business. Fortunately, our OKR consulting services can help.

We use a selection of culture assessment tools, as well our extensive experience, to get to know your business and understand what could be improved. Once you’ve identified issues and learnt how to improve workplace culture, you’ll have all the tools you need for OKR success! If you’re ready for a culture shift and you want to get started with the next step of the process, book a call with a Giant today.