All firms have corporate cultures. The difference is, that some firms have cultures which are significantly stronger than others, that have the potential of exerting a powerful effect, not only for the employees, but on the overall performance of a company. Research has highlighted that the influence of a powerful company culture may be even greater for a company's success than other factors such as strategy, organisational structure, and management systems.
According to James L. Heskett, culture can "account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with ‘culturally unremarkable’ competitors.”
A great company culture not only attracts better talent to a company, but it also ensures the retention and engagement of those great employees, which defines your organisations internal and external identity.
What's in this post?
- How Can Good Company Culture be Defined?
- Large Companies with Good Company Culture
- Small Companies with Good Company Culture
How Can Good Company Culture be Defined?
Company culture isn't just about taking perks to new highs. Sure, having pool table, free meals, and company parties are in the mix of what can make corporate culture better. But the success and overall health of a company, its employee's and customers, is deeply rooted in the relationships, support systems and environment that a company creates.
One of the biggest lessons learnt by companies is the importance of encouraging a work environment which fosters positivity, morale and motivation. Teamwork and collaboration are essential skills in order for companies to unleash creativity, as well as nurture innovation that has the potential to set organisations ahead with competitive edge.
When employees have trustworthy and personable managers, it builds this motivation and cultivates a workplace culture where employees feel inspired and take joy in their work. Trust also increases loyalty and decreases stress levels and hostility in the work environment.
Large Companies with Good Company Culture
As a major technology firm in the global market, much of IBM's success has been contributed from the way it aligns its organizational culture with its business goals for leadership.
IBM's organizational culture of THINK derives from Thomas J. Watson Sr.’s efforts to unify four seperate companies into one, with a solid platform built from the culture of think to ensure long-term success.
IBM's corporate culture encompasses elements such as radical thinking, dedication to every clients success, innovation that matters, trust and personal responsibility in all relationships. IBM makes sure that these key values are not only known to its employees, but ensures that it has major influence on the company’s development of operations.
With such high regard to corporate culture, IBM have considerable competitive advantage as they are able to motivate employees to creatively approach problems and challenges.
Zappos is a further example of an organization uses its strong company culture to provide structure and control, without relying on stifling formal bureaucracy which can dampen motivation and innovation.
Zappos is an American online shoe and clothing retailer based in Las Vegas, United States. Unlike other shoe retailers, this company places customer-centricity at its core. They thank their success to having a clear foundation and making sure that their employees all know what their values are, regardless of their role.
They ensure this by integrating a mandatory deep immersion training programme for all employees regardless of their future role, all new hires have to spend at least 30 hours on this training during their first four weeks. This ritual ultimately allows the new team to experience Zappos' culture at its best: working at the Customer Loyalty Team.
It's not often that you can think of an airline which gives great customer service - flight cancellations, booking and refunding can be a nightmare when dealing with airlines. However, Southwest Airlines are known for their great customer care, and is an example of how employees who are convinced of a larger common goal are people who are excited to be part of a larger purpose.
Southwest Airlines' continuous focus on delivering exceptional company culture to its employers and customers has proven it's worth - from 44 consecutive years of profitability, to being the number one airline with the lowest number of customer complaints; their motto of "putting employees happiness first" has demonstrated strong business results for this airline.
Small Companies with Good Company Culture
Masabi is a software company based in London, providing mobile ticketing solutions to the transport industry. With their mantra #LoveWhatYouDo, this company stresses that their products are just as important as the people who build the products. Therefore, they truly embody the culture of collaboration, innovation and communication.
They do this by completely eradicating the traditional hierarchical management model, and instead put emphasis on social engagement, team meetings and lunches and creating an environment where all employees can add in their ideas.
With this blend of management and self-governance, employees are able to achieve a healthy focus on results, have high levels if employee engagement and maintain a good work life balance.
Propellernet is a small company which name has been consistently mentioned as a top UK place to work by the Great Place to Work Institute for a while now - for the 5th year in a row in fact.
This Brighton-based marketing agency credits much of its success to its positive company culture and staff support network they have achieved. So what is their winning formula to achieve such highly rated company culture?
Unlike companies that focus soley on the success and results of the organization, health and wellbeing are the first and foremost priority for Propellernet. Managers are committed to the development of their employees, and focus their efforts on constantly challenging and inspiring their employees - in fact, they offer the option for staff to take up to 12 days a year to learn something new in order to encourage creativity and development.
This emphasis on self development (as well as running frequent wellbeing check-ins for employees) not only encourages employees to try something new and work on personal projects, but also reflects on their attitude and motivation towards the companies work.