It’s often a great idea to look at company culture examples when trying to determine the best way to improve your workplace culture. When you look at successful companies, pretty much every one of them has a great culture for their employees. If you’re looking to make your employees happy at work, this is where you need to focus your attention.
What Is Culture?
Company culture is what helps your employees understand the expectations you have for them on a daily basis. It’s the guiding factor that influences productivity, morale, attitude, and overall happiness in the workplace. Company culture is often explained as a mixture of three things:
- Values: what your company uses to guide the daily conduct
- Norms: guidelines that explain what is and isn’t acceptable in the workplace
- Goals: what your company is looking to achieve
Company Culture Examples
To get a better understanding of what a company culture should look like, it’s a good idea to dive into what makes a culture great. There are a few well-known companies that have a reputation for providing a great workplace culture. Let’s look at their company culture examples to see what you can learn from them.
Southwest Airlines is well known for its positive company culture example. Certain aspects that they have implemented to help boost culture include thorough training and development programs at all levels of positions. Part of their development even includes the option to check out what another position is like by shadowing in another department for a day.
Southwest also offers tuition reimbursement, which is a perk that allows employees to develop themselves much further than the confines of their current position with the company. However, the perks don’t stop there.
Southwest employees get incentive points when they perform well and have great attendance records. These points are then turned in for products like gift cards and iPods. Then there’s the added bonus of free standby travel privileges. This combines with discounts on other travel needs like hotels and rental cars.
Southwest’s company goals also play a huge part in maintaining a positive culture though. They work towards achievable goals that keep morale high because they’re realistic. It’s clear that their goals of being friendly and reliable are helping boost the company culture from the top down.
Another great example of company culture comes from the outdoor product company REI. They have a unique approach to culture that has proven to be working well for them.
A large benefit REI gives their employees is their willingness to support team members in their passions and adventures. Part of this approach includes what’s called a “Yay Day.” Every six months, an employee gets a non-working day where they get to go on an exciting outdoor adventure. Not only that, but they can get $300 worth of REI products to use in that experience.
REI also focuses on employee retention by offering extra paid time off for their employees with the highest tenure. This seems to be working well for them because REI has double the retention rate of the industry’s average. That’s impressive! Plus, 93% of REI employees say they’re proud to work for the company because they get growth opportunities and feel like part of the team. That’s what culture is about.
How to Improve Your Company Culture
This is the perfect time to make something clear: what builds a great workplace culture won’t be the same for every company. REI’s Yay Days may not fit the type of company you are in, and you likely don’t have the ability to offer free flights like Southwest can. However, what is the same for almost every culture is the types of areas to focus on when improving culture.
You need to approach these areas with your employees and company in mind. However, if you take a good look at these areas in your workplace, you’re likely to see the type of change you’re looking for.
Focus on Employee Relationships
One of the biggest areas that can impact culture is how connected leadership is to employees. As a leader, it’s crucial that you spend time building true connections with your team members. This can include developing them through feedback sessions and coaching. However, it should also include getting to know your employees on a more personal level.
When leaders talk to their direct reports in a natural way and are their true selves at work, it builds morale, trust, and overall productivity. All of these factor into great company culture examples.
Make Sure Purpose Is Clear
When you help your employees understand their purpose at work, it can drastically improve company culture. Your purpose is the reason behind the work you do on a daily basis. It can be hard to remember the bigger picture when you’re in the trenches of daily tasks. However, as a leader, it’s important that you help remind your employees of their why.
It’s best to start out by making the company’s purpose clear during the hiring and onboarding process in your company. However, it’s just as important to keep the purpose in the front of the minds of your current employees as well. Having a purpose is more important to the people in today’s workforce than the generations before them. That’s why it’s a crucial element of having a great culture.
Have Open Communication
Have you ever worked at a company that said they had an open-door policy but really had anything but? That’s a huge problem when it comes to having a great company culture. Having clear and constant communication through all levels of employees is something you’ll find in pretty much all great company culture examples.
Employees are craving transparency and open lines of communication now more than ever. It’s important that you’re honest with your team instead of being vague or, even worse, not communicating at all. When communication suffers, so does culture.
Make One-On-Ones a Priority
Following up on the idea of having great communication, you should have one-on-one meetings with all of your team members on a regular basis. These are great opportunities to help you build the trust and relationship that you need with each of your direct reports. When you’re building these elements, it definitely boosts culture.
Not only that, but these meetings are a great time to give and receive feedback while also coming up with plans on how to improve in areas at work. When you’re working with individual employees to improve their performance, it will boost their morale and productivity an impressive amount.
Make your meetings genuine and informal when possible. This will help grow organic connections and trust, which will allow your direct reports to become less fearful of you and more likely to open up to you when they need to.
Signs Your Culture Is Struggling
Now that you know the areas to focus on for improving your company culture, it’s time to know the signs that your culture needs help. Since great company culture examples have shown us what a different culture makes, it’s vital that you’re aware of the red flags to watch for in your own culture.
If you notice these issues in your workplace, it’s time to double down on improving the culture:
- A lack of patience from the majority of employees
- Less empathy is being shown between one another
- Management is beginning to micromanage or become overly bossy
- Engagement is lacking
- Attrition is on the upward climb
Questions to Ask to Create Great Company Culture
As mentioned, improving culture looks different in every company. It’s important that you tailor your approach to company culture to meet the desires and needs of your employees.
The best way to do this is to ask your employees what changes they would like to see while also finding out what areas they’re happy with. When you’re getting this information from people who experience your company culture on a daily basis, you can begin to notice trends of issues that need to be addressed.
Take time to discuss culture with people at all levels of our company. While you’re talking to them, consider asking them these questions to see how they feel about your current cultural situation:
- What areas of your job do you enjoy?
- Where have you noticed our company values at work lately?
- What areas of your job do you think need a better approach?
- What makes you feel the most motivated at work?
- How do you explain your job and our company to those in your life who are unfamiliar with us?
Company culture examples are everywhere. They’re a great tool to use to see what works and what doesn’t in different fields. However, you must tailor company culture to your employees. Take time to get to know the people you work with and see what their feelings are about the culture. Then, focus on areas that boost company culture. The difference it makes will shock you.