What Is The Workplace Genome?

Every workplace wants to see success, however, most do not know how to bring the success they seek to fruition. Many times it can be small factors that let us falter, issues here and there that we may not see otherwise. 

What Is The Workplace Genome
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Small aspects can impact the success of a company, and as such, we miss out on vital building blocks, which can then impact the long-term success of a company. 

Workplace Genome is a new concept that can help to prevent these smaller building blocks from being missed out on. But what is it, and what do employers need to know about it?

Every organization has a genetic code unique to them, this is called a workplace genome, which is composed of specific building blocks and culture markers (see also “Why You Should Put Culture First?“) that help us define how we work and who we are, in truth. 

However, these are things that tend to remain invisible to many organizations, which means we leave a lot of opportunities unmet. 

When companies choose to map out their workplace genome and align this with talent attraction, management, development, and strategies for workforce optimization, they also unlock vast potential that was otherwise unseen.

Aligning Culture With Success

As an employer, you may find that you are struggling to uncover enough data about your workforce and workplace that you can do anything meaningful with.

If this is true, you are not alone, as around 40% of HR professionals admit they rarely do anything meaningful with what is uncovered from employee surveys. 

Workplace genomes help employers move on from this cliché, and stay intentional about aligning their workplace cultures with the factors that drive the success of their organizations (see also “How Much Is Culture Friction Costing You?“).

The Concept

The Workplace Genome was a project launched by WorkXO, which is a workplace culture consultancy.

They developed this project as a proprietary assessment tool and process for discovery to understand organizations at their core, who they are, how they work, and what their employees experience.

According to WorkXO, organizations are usually too close to see and find solutions to workplace problems before they do the challenging task of understanding what exists now and how it can be improved/ what can be fixed. 

The process helps that first, very difficult step, it makes it easier, and the data about the unique culture of the company that gets uncovered gives leaders the intelligence needed to embrace and adapt to the constant changes of the typical modern-day workplace. 

The founders of this concept said: 

“The future of work is not about better HR systems, programs, technology, practices, the next shiny object, or the best practices. It is about culture, how it’s assessed, how you share it, evolve it, and how you use culture to drive success”. [C.Judy, M.Grant, J. Notter]

This assessment that was born as a result of these ideas is made of 65 values, behaviors, beliefs, and actions which employees are asked to react to through the online tool from WorkXO, which is powered with the help of the enterprise survey company. 

It takes only 15 minutes to complete, however, if a company has already surveyed their staff extensively, then this data can also be mapped with WorkXO, and it can be added into the framework analytics, preventing any need for surveying.

The Workplace Genome Project 

What Is The Workplace Genome
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So far the Workplace Genome Project has managed to collect data on over 250,000 cultural markers from different businesses across the United States.

The results of this reveal that there is a straight line between lower employee turnover, stronger cultures, and a higher probability that employees can become visible, vocal promoters of the company. 

WorkXO can help companies by combining how prominent certain cultural dynamics can be in an organization with how much clarity there is around these dynamics to employees. However, it also helps companies discover which of these dynamics are differentiators. 

In other words, it helps to pinpoint which dynamics are core to culture and thus success, and which are distractors from success. 

How Is It Being Used?

Active members who have taken part in this have already worked on using the data uncovered to better validate their values and visions to help in crafting a much more authentic branding strategy for employers. 

Some of those who have also used it as a way to assess and better understand two distinct and select cultures to combine as part of a merger. 

There are also others who have used WorkXO as a launching pad for long-term cultural transformation projects, which can end up resulting in genuine, permanent changes within an organization. 

Some who have utilized this project have also noted that they hope to use this type of workplace assessment as a complete replacement for their otherwise traditional employee engagement surveys. 

The Online Side

There is also an online community component of WorkXO being developed as part of this project. In this component, members will be able to find support as they use this productive tool. 

Here they can share what they have learned about what works and what does not work, and they can even help the WorkXO project to enhance the tool and develop more products related to this over the course of time.


The Workplace Genome is a project related by WorkXO to help employers and companies to align workplace cultures with success.

Without tools like such it is easy for businesses to completely miss essential building blocks in their businesses which can prevent substantial success or growth. 

It works by using survey tools, and employee feedback to help define how we really work and who we are. It opened up a new door of opportunity to workplaces, helping to align results with talent management, attraction, and development. 

It is a tool for optimizing your workforce overall. Workplace Genome is free at the moment, and can be used for up to 100 employees!

Jason Sullivan
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