How Much Does Culture Consulting Cost?

November 28, 2021
November 28, 2021 Jamie Notter

There are many factors that go into the pricing of consulting projects that are aimed at improving your workplace culture, and the range is huge: for small organizations (less than 500 employees), you’re looking at $5,000 at the low end, and six figures on the high end if you’re in it for the long term. There are, of course different stops along that range:

Culture workshop (under $10,000). At the very low end, the consulting project is simply a workshop. This one could almost be called training, not consulting, but you’re getting people together to think and talk about your culture, and whatever insights come from the workshop will require you to implement on your own. Minimal hands-on help, but minimum price.

Culture assessment plus workshop (under $20,000). The next step up would be to attach a formal culture assessment to a workshop so you have some real data to work with. These will typically come in under $20,000, though it depends on the size of your organization.

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Culture assessment plus culture change action plan (around $40,000). A lot of organizations that start off thinking they can choose one of the cheaper options eventually end up here, because they eventually realize they are too busy to get through the action planning part on their own. Our signature culture design project falls into this category, and takes about six months.

Culture change plus ongoing culture management support (around $50,000 year 1 and $25,000 to35,000 subsequent years, depending on scope). If you’re really in it for the long haul, there can be a role for your consultant in doing some of the ongoing culture management work for you. You start with the project in the previous paragraph, then you add on some project managing of your change efforts, building a set of culture metrics, and providing internal training as needed. We met some culture consultants a few years ago who literally did not accept clients that were not willing to commit to a 3-year retainer, and I think that time frame is spot on if you don’t have the internal resources to see the change through to completion.

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Again, all these numbers are estimates, and based on a small organization, where you are effectively working on one culture. If you’ve got thousands of employees and multiple locations, etc., you can expect all these prices to go up.

I’ll write a separate post on the ROI of culture consulting, but the short version is this: your largest expense is payroll, and when your culture is out of alignment with what makes your people successful, then they are performing below potential and probably looking for another job. I think that justifies having an annual culture budget, don’t you?


Photo by Dan Meyers

Jamie Notter

Jamie is an author and growth strategist at PROPEL, where he helps leaders integrate culture, strategy, and execution to achieve breakthrough performance and impact. He brings twenty-five years of experience to his work designing culture-driven businesses, and has specialized along the way in areas like conflict resolution and generations. Jamie is also the co-author of three books—Humanize, When Millennials Take Over, and The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement—and holds a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.

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