Having great company culture is no longer just an option it is a prerequisite for high growth. Today’s employees consider it as much as they consider salary and benefits. In fact, a fantastic company culture is almost expected along with other traditional benefits.
While the culture that works for one company might not work for another, you can learn a lot from companies who are doing it right. Below are exemplars I often quote from around the world.
Zappos has become almost as well known for its culture as it is for the shoes that it sells online. What does that culture look like?
It starts with a cultural fit interview, which carries half the weight of whether the candidate is hired. New employees are offered $2,000 to quit after the first week of training if they decide the job isn’t for them. Ten core values are instilled in every team member. Employee raises come from workers who pass skills tests and exhibit increased capability, not from office politics. Portions of the budget are dedicated to employee team building and culture promotion.
Learning: Zappos recruits according to cultural fit first. It has established what the company culture is, and fitting into that culture is the most important thing managers look for when recruiting. This promotes the culture and happy employees, which ultimately leads to happy customers.
The airline industry is often characterised by poor customer service, but Southwest Airlines bucks those trends. Customers loyal to Southwest often point to happy and friendly employees who try hard to help.
Southwest isn’t new to the industry. It’s been in operation for 43 years. Yet somehow, during all that time, the company has managed to communicate its goals and vision to employees in a way that makes them a part of a unified team. Southwest also gives employees “permission” to go that extra mile to make customers happy, empowering them to do what they need to do to meet that vision.
Learning: Employees who aligned and engaged with a vision are people who are excited to be part of a larger purpose.
Employees of Twitter can’t stop raving about the company’s culture. Rooftop meetings, friendly coworkers and a team oriented environment in which each person is motivated by the company’s goals have inspired that praise.
Employees of Twitter can also expect free meals at the San Francisco headquarters, along with yoga classes and unlimited vacations for some. These and many other perks are not unheard of in the startup world. So what sets Twitter apart?
Employees can’t stop talking about how they love working with other smart people. Workers rave about being part of a company that is doing something that matters in the world, and there is a sense that no one leaves until the work gets done.
Learning: You can’t beat having team members who are pleasant and friendly to each other. No activity or set of rules can beat having happy and fulfilled employees who feel that what they are doing matters.
It would seem wrong not to mention Google on a list of companies with great culture. Google has been synonymous with culture for years, and sets the tone for many of the perks and benefits startups are now known for..
As Google has grown and the organisation has expanded, keeping a uniform culture has proved difficult between headquarters and satellite offices, as well as among the different departments within the company. The larger a company becomes, the more that culture has to reinvent itself to accommodate more employees and the need for management.
Learning: Even the best culture needs to revisit itself to meet a growing company’s team. The most successful company culture leads to successful business, and that requires an evolving culture that can grow with it.
Adobe is a company that goes out of its way to give employees challenging projects and then provide the trust and support to help them meet those challenges successfully. While it offers benefits and perks like any modern creative company, Adobe’s is a culture that avoids micromanaging in favour of trusting employees to do their best.
Adobe products are synonymous with creativity, and only through the avoidance of micromanaging are the people who create those products truly able to create. For example, Adobe doesn’t use appraisals with a rating system to establish employee capabilities, feeling that that inhibits creativity and harms how teams work. Managers take on the role of a coach, letting employees set goals and determine how they should be assessed.
Learning: Putting trust in your employees goes a long way towards positive company culture, because trust leads to independent employees who help your company grow.