Beyond Engagement Surveys

The Culture MRI® touts the next-generation platform for monitoring and managing employee engagement.

A study by UCLA suggests that a staggering 46% of employee performance is determined by his or her level of engagement at work. Unfortunately, national engagement scores have remained near the 30% mark since 1990. This means most companies are only getting a fraction of what their work force has to offer. Measuring engagement is one thing. But doing something about it is another animal altogether. Enter The Culture MRI®, a groundbreaking SAAS platform that promises to close that loop once and for all.

At first glance, the tool’s ambitions are obvious. The dashboard resembles the cockpit of an airplane, with numbers and gauges for every conceivable perspective on culture and performance. There’s an overall engagement score for the company as well as filters for pinpointing granular details about issues – including customized remediation steps. The data is organized around a unique model for engagement that’s bears resemblance to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Most audacious, perhaps, is the platform’s financial lens, which places a dollar-value on virtually every aspect of workers’ behaviors.

Breaking the Mold of Traditional Employee Engagement

The Atlanta-based SAAS company, The Culture MRI®, was founded by organizational psychologist Benjamin Ortlip and builds on nearly three decades of fieldwork with prominent companies. According to Ortlip, “The science of human performance is long overdue for an upgrade. Companies have been measuring engagement the same old way since 1990, but the numbers haven’t gotten better. It’s time to move the needle.”

Inspired by Maslow, Refined for the Modern Workplace

As Ortlip explains, The Culture MRI® draws inspiration from an obscure collection of hand-written notes made by Abraham Maslow in his later years. The famed psychologist had just begun to apply his needs-based theories to the workplace when his life was cut short by illness. Ortlip’s adaptation of Maslow’s framework is the subject of a new book, Culture Is The New Leadership: How Great Companies Inspire Millennials, Ignite Performance, and Win The War For Talent (2024 Ivy League Press). Ortlip’s resume has included collaborations with business thought-leaders ranging from The Drucker Institute to Tony Robbins. He decided to launch The Culture MRI® when he observed that employee performance is a direct reflection of how well human needs are met, not how employees feel.

“The happiness movement has some value. But human needs are much easier to quantify, and they offer much better metrics for activating discretionary effort and affecting organizational change,” Ortlip explains. The Culture MRI® replicates the manual process Ortlip developed while consulting for diverse industries such as restaurants, healthcare providers, manufacturers, and financial institutions.

From Soft Metrics to Hard Data

Ortlip’s process became the topic of a research study by Duquesne University in 2023. In addition to its needs-based methodology, The Culture MRI® uses proprietary algorithms to indicate the dollar-value of various cultural metrics, enabling key leaders to evaluate the ROI of proposed initiatives for culture. “Culture shouldn’t be a soft topic that makes the CFO cringe. Psychometrics are tangible indicators of performance, and we know how to measure them,” Ortlip stated.

The Future of Employee Engagement

With the employee engagement software market projected to reach $1.5B by 2028, The Culture MRI® is emblematic of a growing effort to transform how companies understand and manage the factors that shape workplace culture. “Once you codify the psychological needs at work inside every culture, it’s possible to operationalize them just like other pillars of the business,” added Ortlip.

More information about The Culture MRI® can be found at The Culture MRI® is committed to equipping companies to foster a workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent.