Skip to main content

Meet The Startup That's Pulling Trackable Data From Your Company's Culture

Culture Amp was founded in 2011 (Photo courtesy of Culture Amp/

Startups talk about culture all the time. Building it, championing it, spreading it. Its importance is recognized by the broader ecosystem because it represents a key foundation to growing a company. Businesses are encouraged to create a workplace that facilitates both employee empowerment and prolific performance. But the challenge of building such a culture is rooted in a lack of trackable data.
If culture isn't measured, how can it be deliberately improved?
An Australian startup called Culture Amp is addressing this problem by giving companies analytics and data on their culture.
Culture Amp is an “employee feedback and analytics platform” founded by Didier Elzinga, Jon Williams, Douglas English and Rod Hamilton. By using “research-backed surveys,” Culture Amp collects data on teams by asking for honest and relevant feedback. The responses given by employees, which boast an “80% return rate,” are interpreted by the platform’s proprietary software. Having been designed by a team of experts in technology, data science and organizational psychology, there is a strong emphasis on credible data collection. The results are then distilled into actionable reports for clients, which detail information on employee engagement, employee experience and employee effectiveness.
This forms the basis for what the platform refers to as a “complete picture.” The strength of the platform is in providing organizations data about their employees that wouldn’t otherwise be available. There are wider organizational benefits of synthesizing employee responses into reports. These reports can be distributed to different team members with “[customizable] levels of access” and also gives “insights for everyone” compared against industry benchmarks. This approach gives companies an objective indication of their performance, which allows for increased accountability.
In my conversation with Elzinga, he detailed Culture Amp’s mission to “make the power of people analytics accessible to everyone.” Perhaps it was the unavailability of such a solution that had inhibited its prioritization. He said that they “want to be the platform that brings the data in-house” because their objective is to "tell [organizations] the story of their culture and their people.” Elzinga believes this will facilitate more informed decision making, which in the context of an increasingly transient market, can be beneficial.
People data helps organizations better understand their own performances — positive or negative.
Businesses currently pay attention to financial metrics. It is common to track analytics for conversions, engagement, ROI, churn, LTV and a multitude of other quantitative vitals. This data is the most available information to organizations and thus is given the most weight. This is an example of the availability bias, which suggests people tend to perceive the importance of information proportionate to its prominence in their minds. Because number-driven data is consistently tracked, it is in the forefront of their decision-making and evaluation processes. This encourages companies to overrepresent their implications on performance and underrepresent the role of culture.
Culture Amp is trying to shift this mindset by providing organizations with not only more data, but deeper data.
Data around employees enables a more holistic evaluation of a company. It accounts for the culture of a company, which represents intangible factors that influence decision making. Unfortunately, however, businesses are inclined to engage in a psychological heuristic called selective perception. This is the disposition for our minds to evaluate scenarios through the lens of pre-formed conclusions. These preconceptions, given the availability of number-driven data, is that quantitative vitals are more accurate factors in explaining a company’s performance.
Elzinga wants to address this bias blind spot and believes corporations “need to understand that people are beneficial.” He emphasized that ultimately,“Data helps us see where we are emotional… [Culture Amp] gives the data to allow [companies] to see what’s black and white.” The aim here is to highlight to companies that they are unconsciously undervaluing culture as a factor in their performance. This awareness seeks to encourage a structural reform.
Culture Amp’s growth is a testament to how many companies resonate with this culture-centric philosophy. The Australian startup, which operates a SaaS model, currently services clients such as Slack, AirBnb, Pinterest, Box and Easy. Elzinga credits his company’s 300% year-on-year growth to a commitment to its community. “We invested and believed in the idea that the community was bigger than our customers.” This was a problem that was pertinent to a wide-spanning demographic. The brand’s credibility is echoed by the companies that have trusted in its platform.
Culture Amp raised $10M Series B in March 2016 (Photo courtesy of Culture Amp /

Culture Amp’s team identify themselves as “people geeks”. This is a collective label that describes them as an “intersection between psychology and data science.” They prioritize the scientific underpinnings and the quality of the information they collect. They advocate for the analysis of people resources and its role in overall business performance. They are, by spreading the platform to organizations worldwide, hoping to catalyze a cultural shift.
James Nguyen is a Partner at M5859 Apps, which created App of The Year and official apps for global brands. If you want to chat or have an app idea, contact at
- James Nguyen 


Readers Choice

Lead Your Team Into a Post-Pandemic World

During the Covid-19 crisis, I’ve spoken with many CEOs who have shared that a key priority for them, naturally, has been the safety and well-being of their employees. And there are many examples of inspiring actions taken by CEOs and companies in support of their employees. But as we’ve come to recognize that this crisis will last more than a few short weeks, companies are now defining their approach for the long haul. I’ve seen two crucial ideas take hold with corporate leaders. One: Given the magnitude of the shock and the challenges that this crisis represents, companies must consider the full breadth of their employees’ needs as people. Safety is essential, of course, but it’s also important to address higher-level needs such as the want for truth, stability, authentic connections, self-esteem, growth, and meaning in the context of the crisis. Two: Many CEOs have begun thinking about this crisis in three phases. They may assign different names or specific lengths to t

4 Ways Google Search Can Help You Achieve Your Marketing Goals

Google Ads Google Ad extensions are a great way to add key descriptive text without taking up space in your actual ad and improve your quality score for even better results. It’s a win-win right? Google Maps Is your business discoverable on Google Maps? For small businesses, adding detailed information and the use of strategic keywords can be helpful for a better location optimization. Google Ranks SEO is vital for moving up in Google rankings. To climb up the ladder, incorporate top keywords in page titles, meta tags and focus on consistently delivering relevant content. Backlinking If SEO is the the only strategy you have, it is the right time to change that. Start adding backlinks to your content. Quality backlinks can further increase your brand authority. 

Twenty Smart Business Buzzwords

Some words may grate on your nerves, but business leaders are still using "disrupt," "synergy" and "ideate." You should too. Spend any amount of time in a corporate environment and you'll likely notice there are some words that seem to come up on a daily basis. Certain verbiage becomes part of the  corporate culture  and soon, you may feel as if you need to use it to fit in. While they can change from one day to the next, most corporate buzzwords have a positive meaning. They're used to boost morale and motivate everyone involved in the conversation. Here are 20 of the top business buzzwords that you should make an effort to work into your vocabulary. 1. Impact Impact is a powerful word that has become a favorite of business professionals.  Grammarians argue  that the word is being used improperly, urging you to use "affect" instead, but businesses love it. 2. Corporate Synergy Half of the people who use this term likely