Informal Cultural Inclusion Assessment

HR and Diversity leaders need to understand how employees think about and experience the organization’s culture. The Cultural Portraits Assessment Workshop offers a unique approach to gather honest and unfiltered employee perceptions about three critical aspects of informal culture:

  1. The characteristics and qualities of the ideal employee
  2. The predominant management style, and
  3. The informal norms that govern success in the organization

How the Assessment It Works

  • Focus group participants are selected from a cross section of employees that represent managers, employees and senior leaders. Participants analyze three key elements of the informal culture:
    • Characteristics of the RRNA “preferred employee”
    • Characteristics of the typical managerial style
    • The informal unwritten cultural norms, — the “do’s and don’ts” of the way things are done in Organization or Division
  • Participants describe their personal experiences with the RRNA culture and how it creates bridges and barriers to success personally and for members of different identity groups.
  • Focus group members are assigned to different groups and asked to analyze one of these three crucial elements of culture, using worksheets and written assessments to guide
  • Once they have reached consensus about how they would describe the ideal employee, the typical management style or the informal unwritten norms that govern success, they draw pictures on flipchart paper to bring their descriptions to


  • Participants provide input/reconditions on practical actions for building cultural bridges and minimizing the barriers to success.


  • Representatives from each group present their pictures to the entire focus group, which reviews all of the portraits to identify the common themes, including the barriers to team effectiveness with an emphasis on
  • Participants are then asked to make recommendations about practical actions that will shift organization policies, rules and norms that have a negative impact on the organization climate and help create a culture that fosters team inclusion and effectiveness within the entire organization.
  • As more and more teams complete portraits, the accumulated qualitative data provides clear direction about the specific leadership actions and individual behaviors that will foster an environment of inclusiveness and high performance throughout the

Workshop Benefits

  • For participants and their team leaders, the workshops are experiential, thought provoking, interactive and fun. As they listen to and learn from each other in open and candid dialogue, there is increased trust and a sense of bonding with the entire
  • For HR and Diversity staffs, the assessment activity provides an uncomplicated framework and language that: supplements other available data about the culture; helps uncover barriers and practices deeply embedded in the organization’s culture, and produces realistic recommendations that will help remove barriers to inclusion and performance that exist in various HR management systems including:
    • Recruitment and hiring
      • Training & development
      • Career advancement
      • Succession planning
      • Employee relations
      • Compensation & benefits plans
      • Work/life programs
      • Performance management and reward programs
    • For organization leadership, the workshop can strengthen a sense of partnership with employees by creating new opportunities for dialogue and action.


Final Cultural Assessment Report from Consultants

Within 30 days the client will receive a report that aggregates the qualitative and qualitative data gathered from the focus groups. This final report includes:

  1. Commonly Selected Descriptors based on the Culture Pictures:
  • The preferred employee profile
  • The predominant managerial style
  • Informal cultural norms
  1. Cultural Aspects That Have Served Most Commonly as Bridges and Barriers to Success
  • How Selected Cultural Aspects Have Served as Bridges and Barriers to Success for Individuals with Different Personal or Cultural Identities
  1. Who’s not at the Table? — What Other Identity Groups Voices Need to be Heard?
  2. Employee Recommendations to eliminate barriers and increase bridges to success
  3. Consultant Recommendations to eliminate barriers and increase bridges to success