Make It Great: Company Culture Tips From the Best Places to Work

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Here are a few company culture tips from some of the best places to work.

Here’s a statistic for you: increasing employee engagement investments by 10 percent can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. 

Below are a few lessons to learn from companies with amazing cultures:

1. Determine Fit First

Here’s the deal, you can build a culture only if you are able to unify all your employees under a common set of values and thoughts; to make that happen, you need to pick the right people.

A few years back, all companies ever cared about was to get the golden eggs for their baskets. They went after the brightest, the smartest and the most driven candidates to build their company’s workforce. All that has changed now as more and more companies are placing a strong emphasis on attitude fit and culture fit.

Just like Herb Kelleher of the Southwest airlines puts it: “We will hire someone with less experience, less education, and less expertise, than someone who has more of those things and has a rotten attitude. Because we can train people. We can teach people how to lead. We can teach people how to provide customer service. But we can’t change their DNA.”

Companies like Zappos and LinkedIn have already adopted this ideology. In fact, Zappos pays employees to quit after a week of training if they feel that the job isn’t for them. Making sure that you have a workforce that is passionate about the work and the company can pay high dividends, monetarily and otherwise.

Related Article:Why Company Culture Matters More to Employee Than Pay

2. Dedicate a Team to It

Only about 25 percent of business leaders have an employee engagement strategy. - Dale Carnegie

Don’t make that mistake. If you go back a decade or two, we see that extracurricular activities like team dinners and outings are just some perks that come along with the job; it’s not the case anymore.

Keeping your employees happy, loved, and cherished is a norm every company is trying to live by. If you want to build a culture that integrates work with play and keeps its employees happy and satisfied, then you should dedicate a special team to do just that.

Consider Warby Parker, the company makes sure that there is always an upcoming event so the entire team has something to be excited about, and it uses techniques to make sure the entire team works well together, for example, by sending out random employees on lunches together.

Building a happy workplace is not optional anymore, it’s a necessity and it can only be achieved by very deliberate attempts such as dedicating a team to it or by employing well thought-out strategies.

Related Article:What Do a Company’s Core Values Say About Its Culture?

3. Show Genuine Care

Many companies think that giving free beer and having a Poker night is what a company culture is all about. Fancy things like that can attract your employees only for a while; what really pays off is genuine care and concern for their well-being.

Take Chevron, for example, the company is dedicated to making its employees feel safe, secure and supported at all times. Famously called as "the Chevron way" , this company’s culture intends to make employees feel like family and not just a workforce. It offers health-oriented programs for its employees; they have specialized health and fitness centers on site which provide massages and personal training for its workforce.

The employees are encouraged to take regular breaks from work and overworking is discouraged. In fact, it is the company’s responsibility to prevent employee burnout.

4. For Heaven’s Sake, Stop With the Ratings

I really don’t think that trying to quantify the enormous amount of value each employee adds to your company is a great way to build a warm and trusting culture. Many companies have already hopped on this bandwagon, and I am sure many more will and for good reason too, I mean, you might as well ask your employees to wear a rating board and walk around.

Another company with great work culture, Adobe, never uses ratings to determine employee capabilities. According to them, ratings inhibit creativity and negatively affect the team spirit. “An employee could only get high ratings if everyone else fails,” says Cindy Parker, a management professor at George Mason University School of Management in Virginia.

Adobe encourages its managers to take on the role of coaches and mentors, rather watchdog the employees. By doing this, it is eliminating micromanaging, which severely hinders creativity and is placing trust in its employees. A great way to value your employees isn’t it?

Related Article: Creating Your Ethos: The Building Blocks of Startup Company Culture

5. Let Them Be in on It

“Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.” - Zig Ziglar

I wouldn’t want to work for a company who doesn’t share anything with me, who wouldn’t let me see the bigger picture, who wouldn’t help me understand how we are adding value to the world as a company, would you? You may not have the budget to organize extravagant team lunches, outings, and events to please your employees. That’s okay. What they really want is the sense of belonging to something bigger and you can give them that by sharing information, discussing plans etc.

Take HubSpot for example, the company took transparency to another level altogether. Its internal wiki consists all sensitive information such as the financials, board meeting decks, strategic discussions and much more. This idea of building an open company is catching on like a fire, well because, if you want an employee to fall in love with your company give them a reason to, show them who you are.

“There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”  - Jack Welch

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