Climate vs Culture – What’s the difference and how is performance involved

Let’s start at the beginning. It is likely that you will have heard of both ‘climate’ and ‘culture’ within an organisation. There are some individuals within businesses that use these terms interchangeably, which is understandable because of their similarity but they are crucially different.

The difference

Organisational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values and beliefs that governs how people behave in the organisation. Culture is difficult to change as it is embedded in the behaviour of individuals and can therefore be seen as the personality of the organisation.   

Whereas, climate is how members of an organisation experience the culture of that organisation and might best be described as the mood. The climate affects the employees’ engagement, motivation, job satisfaction, physical and mental health. It has been researched that the biggest single factor impacting job satisfaction, sickness and absence is the employees’ relationship with their line manager. 

How is climate linked to performance?

Team climate is a major factor affecting success and impacting on overall team performance which is directly influenced by the leader’s behaviour towards their team. There is a strong, provable link between the climate in which people work, their level of attainment or performance and the factors impacting this performance.

Measuring climate helps to understand and improve both leadership effectiveness and team performance. This measurement will identify any gaps in perception between the leader and team members, highlighting potential areas of conflict, disconnect, misalignment or miscommunication. An understanding of this can then lead to increased performance for that individual and leader, but also for the business as a whole. You’d be surprised at the difference that can be made to an organisation by increasing the engagement of a number of employees and redirecting a leader’s focus.

How to measure climate

Performance Climate System (PCS) is a unique tool, created to measure climate, compare teams and highlight leadership impact, all from one survey.

PCS measures climate across 18 critical areas, to understand leadership impact and improve team performance. This then highlights gaps in perception between the leader and team members to drive clear improvement planning.

But it doesn’t stop as a one-off survey. PCS is enabled to track improvements over time, measuring the impact of training and development, to demonstrate a return on investment for training spend.​

Send us an email to find out more about PCS,

Zac's Challenges:

Zac’s tech business is growing rapidly. He’s gone from being a developer with a good idea to now overseeing an ever-expanding team. Zac knows that in order for the business to grow successfully, it needs to stay true to its founding values and his staff need to feel valued and engaged. Zac wants to understand if he and his team are on the same page and he needs to do it quickly and cost effectively.

Zac's PCS Solution

Zac decides to use PCS Lite to get a quick temperature check of how his team are performing and what they think about the business. The PCS Lite report quickly surfaces the fact that his team have lost sight of the organisation’s purpose and goals. Zac realises that he needs to improve his on-boarding processes and help orientate the new team members better in the company culture and vision. 6 months later, Zac uses PCS Lite to check his new onboarding process is working; concludes that the growing team are much better aligned to his vision and are generally operating in a more positive working environment.

Annabel's Challenges:

It’s Annabel’s job to help the Partners in the firm manage their clients and ensure they’re consistently adding value. Recently, Annabel has been asked by one of the Partners to find a tool or framework that the consultants can use to benchmark new clients looking for team and leadership improvement programmes. It needs to be cost-effective, established and reputable and able to be branded with the firm’s own logo.

Annabel's PCS Solution

Annabel recommends PCS Pro to the Senior Partners as it provides an objective measurement of team and leadership climate against which the consultants can build performance improvement programmes. PCS has a good track record, academic validation, excellent training and customer service, so she’s confident that it’s the right tool for the firm’s consultants to use.

Sarah's Challenges:

Sarah has to keep across the multiple training and development needs in the organisation and do it within a tight budget. Recently, Sarah’s been asked to design a L&D programme that improves the staff retention rate and helps staff feel more engaged with the changes happening in the organisation, not least the shift to more flexible working.

Sarah's PCS Solution

Sarah uses PCS to measure how different teams across the organisation are performing and look at any patterns which suggest the need for organisation-wide, leader or team training. Sarah notices that all teams and leaders have a low climate score in the Processes segment. Sarah knows that allocating budget in this area will improve performance. She works with the Senior Management Team to review the organisation’s processes as they transition to more flexible working and designs a training programme to support staff in the transition. She’s helped staff to feel supported, acknowledged and engaged which ultimately drives performance. 

Jim's Challenges:

Jim’s client has a team that’s not performing as well other teams in the organisation. The team has a high staff turnover, sickness and the lack of cohesion is impacting the team’s wellbeing and performance. Jim needs to get to the bottom of why this is happening and design effective coaching interventions which can generate tangible results for his client.

Jim's PCS Solution

Jim uses PCS Pro to measure / benchmark how the team and leader are performing across the 6 segments critical to team performance – Goals, Roles, Processes, Adaptability, Connection and Resilience. He can immediately see the disparity in Goals, Processes and Connection between the leader’s perception and those of her team. He uses this information to build a coaching programme designed align team and leader. After 6 months, the team seems to be more settled and productive. Jim remeasures using PCS Pro – the results show the client the effectiveness of his coaching intervention.