If you’re looking for ways to build a positive working environment, it’s helpful to look at some stellar examples of workplace culture. Company culture means a great many things and defining it is difficult. One of the best ways to get great ideas is by examining other companies who have done it the right way themselves.
This post offers some valuable insights into what makes a great company culture. The companies on this list seem to have figured out the winning formula. Many of them stepped outside the box and created innovative working environments. Most put their focus on employees over profits. They all have one thing in common – their strategy works.
Prioritizing the importance of culture over profit is a popular concept. Companies that put emphasis and effort into cultivating a positive work environment benefit in many ways. This includes increased retention rates, easier hiring and talent sourcing, and increased customer satisfaction and productivity. A large percentage of today’s job seekers put the importance of a positive culture right up at the top, alongside salary and benefits.
Keep reading to discover a few of the top places to work if you want to experience a unique culture. Then, learn more about what these companies are doing to make it work for everyone.
What Is Workplace Culture?
Company culture is hard to define, but it means one thing – culture is everything. It’s everything about an organization. The mission, value, and purpose help establish the culture.
Structure, business practices, and day-to-day activities are the culture. The way employees interact with supervisors is the culture. Culture relates to every process, rule, regulation, and tangible aspect of a company.
Culture is something that evolves and transforms itself based on the actions of the individuals under its umbrella. Managers, employees, and CEOs have a direct effect on the culture within an organization. This is often for better or worse. The people within a company help shape and form the culture.
So, how do companies manage their culture and create a positive working environment? A lot of it goes back to taking care of those employees in the right way. Too often organizations get wrapped up in the minutia of running their business. Of course, profit and loss are important to the success of any company. But it’s beneficial if executives and CEOs take a step back to see the bigger picture.
Employees are often at the forefront of company culture because they’re the ones most affected by it. A positive working environment is one where employees have daily access to the things they need to thrive and be successful. They have a work-life balance. They also have access to:
- Wellness initiatives
- Healthy lunches
- Frequent breaks
These are things that make or break a workplace culture. Companies that cultivate a positive environment have employees who are happier, less stressed, and more productive in their roles.
Three Examples of Workplace Culture
Google − “Don’t Be Evil”
Using the phrase “don’t be evil” as a motto and mission statement for a company seems cut and dry. Creating a working environment that values fairness, equality, and positivity is one of the reasons Google has been so successful for such a long time.
Google tops this list because the company has pretty much become infamous for its unique and playful culture. So, what makes the work environment at Google so great? The company focuses on creating experiences that make coming to work every day something employees want to do.
Workers get fabulous perks, like:
- Free lunches
- Opportunities to travel
- Dog-friendly office buildings
Google is famous for its corporate headquarters, the Googleplex. Many say it resembles an adult playground more than an office building.
The company has employees with the sole responsibility of finding ways to increase the happiness and productivity of employees. It works. Google has grown exponentially, and a lot of its success comes from the way the company focuses on the well-being of employees. Google consistently ranks as one of the best companies to work for – in the world.
Zappos − “Delivering Happiness”
Zappos started as an online retailer for shoes and has since expanded to include accessories, clothing, eyewear, and more.
The Zappos mottos are “delivering happiness” and “to live and deliver WOW.” The organization puts exceptional focus on finding ways to deliver happiness to everyone they come in contact with. This includes:
- The community as a whole
Zappos has one unique facet that underscores the importance they put on company culture. The company offers $2,000 to employees as an incentive to quit after the first week of training if they don’t feel like they’re a good fit.
That’s right. Zappos pays unhappy employees to leave. But the fact is that very few employees take the company up on that offer because Zappos makes employee happiness a tenet of its mission.
Potential hires undergo a “cultural fit” interview during the hiring process. The results of this part of the interview make up 50% of the decision to hire or not. So, employees know from the start whether their values and attitudes are in line with company expectations. The company has a list of ten core values that center on individuality, fun, creativity, positivity, and passion.
Zappos also allocates part of its budget to funding employee happiness. They offer employees:
- Great benefits
- Raises based on knowledge and skills tests
- Amazing team-building adventures
- A culture based on fun
Patagonia Inc. − “We’re In Business to Save Our Home Planet”
Patagonia is an outdoor clothing retailer based in the United States. Their unique, environmentally friendly, and employee-driven culture makes them worth mentioning.
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard was a rock climber and lover of the great outdoors. The company started small and grew to include hundreds of stores worldwide. They offer a service where customers can return merchandise in good condition in exchange for new merchandise credits. The company cleans, repairs, and rebrands it as “worn wear.” It has since started its “ReCrafted” line, which creates clothing from scraps of repurposed fabric from used Patagonia gear.
Yvon Chouinard titled his memoir Let My People Go Surfing. The company puts great emphasis on creating a sustainable work-life balance for its employees by offering them the ability to set their schedules. They encourage employees not to work too much. They close their childhood development center at 5 p.m., their headquarters at 8 p.m., and lock the doors on the weekend.
This organization that centers on environmentalism and advocacy for the planet also puts great focus on the health and well-being of its team members. Employees have access to free yoga classes, locally grown organic food choices. Free scooters and skateboards to encourage employees to get out and play. Employees can take a break and head out for some surfing whenever they feel the need.
Employees working for Patagonia value their freedom and flexibility. And they reward their organization by working hard to maintain the success and longevity of their cause. Since workers at Patagonia share a common belief in being stewards of the planet, they find motivation comes easily.
Southwest focuses on the happiness of its employees over all else. They believe happy employees create happy customers, and they’re not wrong. Southwest consistently ranks at the top of customer satisfaction lists year after year.
This company created a team-oriented environment with a group of employees who are staunch advocates for their own company culture. Free meals, yoga classes, and even unlimited vacations for some employees are just a sampling of the offerings that motivate Twitter employees to want to work together for a common cause.
The culture and organizational structure at Squarespace are created from a unique formula. Described as “flat, open, and creative,” this organization features few levels of management, putting employees closer to executives in the hierarchy. They offer team members:
- 100% coverage of health insurance premiums
- Flexible time-off
- Relaxation spaces complete with fully stocked kitchens
What kind of inspiration can we draw from these examples of company culture? The answer is this. Employees are the heart and soul of every organization. They’re the ones on the front lines who show up every day and work hard for the success of a company. They deserve attention, care, and consideration from the companies they are fighting for.
Happy employees create happy customers, who in turn create happy shareholders and a successful company. It’s a cycle that needs cultivating, but when done correctly, creates long-term success for everyone involved.
Take the inspiration offered here and run with it. Remember to think outside the box and step into the shoes of your workers. Employees are human beings, first and foremost. When an organization pays attention to the well-being and happiness of its team members, great things happen.