No kidding. A work culture can be the deal-breaker or decisive factor when it comes to a company’s success. If you’re on the lookout for some awe-inspiring organizational culture examples, we won’t disappoint you.
To be clear, great company culture just doesn’t happen on its own. It’s about more than the inspirational quotes and artwork chalked onto the pillar, glowing customer testimonials lining the walls, and bean bags littered on the floor. It’s much more than the pay checks, fun and perks.
All that stuff is nice and makes life more pleasant – but it does not change the core of who you are as a company. So let’s dive in.
7 popular companies with inspiring organizational culture examples
Here’s a list of seven companies known for their fabulous company culture.
As is evident, they have put a lot of thought into making workplaces motivating and productive. We hope you get inspired by these organizational culture examples!
1. Zappos – Complementing the right people with the right culture
When organizational culture is the topic, you can expect Zappos to be at the top of the list. Always, without exception. They weed out the people that are just there for a pay check and retain only those who are committed to what the company stands for.
- What sets them apart: At Zappos, they do a culture fit interview which carries half the weight for hiring the candidate. Then all employees, senior or otherwise, have to go through the same four-week call center training where 10 core values are instilled into each team member. And at the end of the first week, the Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh will pay you $2,000 to quit if you decide that this isn’t your cup of tea. After such rigorous screening, it’s a wonder if their work culture doesn’t work like a charm.
- Takeaway: Care more about the kind of people you acquire than the money for hiring them. Because if you locate the right talent, and have the right culture to nurture them, they’ll pay you back twice as much with their commitment and drive.
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2. Walt Disney – Where the happiest place on earth is the happiest place to work
Walt Disney is not just one of the most recognizable brands in the world. They are also the kindest community on the planet. A brand that is almost synonymous with magic, Disney extends the magical experience to its employees and organizational culture.
- What sets them apart: According to one Disney employee, it’s their unparalleled heritage, pride and culture, wonderful community, amazing growth opportunity and a creative atmosphere. Disney only hires people who align with what they stand for. The Disney employee benefits include access to Mickey’s Retreat (an exclusive area only for cast members and their families), generous discounts on Disney parks, hotels and merchandise, incentive schemes, and private healthcare. Magical, isn’t it?
- Takeaway: All the fancy office furniture, designer juice bars, and loud vodka parties don’t really matter if people aren’t nice to each other. This type of organizational culture strives to make every place the happiest place to work.
People can tell when their company cares for them. And as is the case with Disney, they care back. Win-win!
3. Twitter – Where fun meets inspiration to bring out the best
When someone says rooftop meetings, I think Twitter! Twitter employees can’t stop raving about their wonderful work culture.
- What sets them apart: From rooftop meetings to paid lunches, yoga classes, and even unlimited vacation for some – Twitter employees get to have all the fun. On top of that, Twitter is leading the charge in remote work by allowing all employees to work from home, forever. They also run a quarterly ‘Hack Week’ when employees are encouraged to explore their crazy ideas. In other words, people have a concentrated time to go wild.
- Takeaway: Build a workplace where people can inspire each other to work better. And don’t hold back on making your workplaces fun. This is a breath of fresh air and the perfect antidote to monotony.
4. Nike – The work culture that ‘Just Did It’
Turns out, it’s not just Nike’s famous logo that gets people to just do it. It’s their charming work culture too. Nike’s employees live their company maxims like ‘Be a sponge’, and ‘If you have a body, you’re an athlete’ – unprompted and willingly.
- What sets them apart: Would you close your offices for a week so that your staff can take a mental health break? Nike just did. Nike has an amazing company culture that its people swear by. Fun, employee perks and high energy are just the tip of the iceberg. At its core, Nike’s organizational culture definition is about achieving greatness within and outside of work. So it’s no surprise that they made it to this organizational culture examples list.
- Takeaway: Supporting your people leads to better performance, and better business overall. It also helps you build a brand that your employees will be proud to call their own.
5. Google – A corporate culture that employees stand by
Apart from being one of the Big Five of tech, Google is an amazing employer. It was the first to launch many of the perks and benefits that startups are now known for. Google employees are synonymous with drive, talent and a motivated workforce. So what makes them one of the best organizational culture examples?
- What sets them apart: With flexible work hours, free food, gyms, a pet-friendly environment and more, Google’s corporate culture is a treasure trove of rewards. The real innovation however, is Google’s culture of openness. Google also encourages employees to coach each other in the ‘Googler to Googler’ programme. What’s more, it is one of the leading companies to approach a hybrid work model where employees will work from their offices at least three days a week.
- Takeaway: Employee happiness matters. Aspire to be a company that employees will stay by.
6. Netflix – Where trust is the keyword of culture
Wondering why Netflix made it to this organizational culture examples list? Because they actually trust their employees! Unlike most organizations, Netflix doesn’t measure employees’ efforts by work hours, but by the end product.
- What Sets Them Apart: Netflix’s culture was devised early on by Patty McCord with a 124-page slideshow known as ‘Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility‘. They want to keep only the best around, so they embrace honesty – even when it’s brutal. Netflix has also become the first studio to launch a blanket policy requiring COVID vaccinations for all the casts of its US productions. Fun fact: Did you know that they offer unlimited vacation days to their employees?
- Takeaway: Don’t be that dragon guarding treasure. Be honest with your employees about what the company wants, where it’s going, and what their role in it is. And then, trust them to do their best.
7. Medium – No people managers + maximum autonomy, redefined
Medium started out as a radical adopter of the Holacracy model. One of the first principles of Holacracy is “No people managers. Maximum autonomy.” However, as Medium scaled, they felt that it was time to move beyond Holacracy.
- What Sets Them Apart: “Teach me something.” – a routine question in Medium hiring interviews. This golden question is used to subtly evaluate a candidate’s taste, dynamism, and influence – a valuable skillset in Medium’s company culture. And the best part? Everyone learns something new, which what Medium tries to achieve through its content. What’s more, unlike many other companies, Medium puts thought and effort into improving the effectiveness of its management model.
- Takeaway: Don’t fake what isn’t already there. All companies – even the best ones – struggle with organizational process and structure. So don’t hesitate to change if your current structure isn’t working.
Bonus Organizational Cultural Example: SurveySparrow
Come on, did you seriously think we wouldn’t list ourselves here? But hey, before you judge, here’s how we applied our culture codes.
We didn’t prepare a 1000-page ‘culture code to abide by’ book for our employees. Our only intention was to put forward a culture code to build, empower and nurture our employees as we grow. And today, we are stronger than ever. Better than yesterday, and a little lesser than tomorrow.
So what went into our culture codes?
- Maximum transparency. This makes sure that everyone is on the same page about the codes.
- Understanding what the codes and values meant to us. Every new hire goes through this process.
- Appreciation. We want each of our employees to appreciate one another.
- Peer-to-peer recognition and teamwork. It is the only way to move forward.
- Crafting everything we do around our culture codes – hires, knowledge transfers, recognitions, performance reviews, 360 employee feedback, and much more.
Takeway: It’s easy to adapt when the culture codes are ingrained in the team. All of us were able to adapt to remote work pretty quickly during the pandemic. Slack became our everyday office. We brainstormed ideas, joined meetings, made business decisions, and did stand-ups on channels. To encourage peer recognition, we even started a #kudos channel.
And we’re still growing!
Do your core company values mean something to your employees? Or are they just decorative wall jargon?
Like the brand, work culture reflects who runs the company and why. What works for one company may not work for everyone. Learning the pulse of your employees is a good starting point, and online survey tools can help you capture that information. This way, you know what works and what doesn’t, and you’re on your way to creating a better organizational culture.
But if you need tools specifically for employee engagement, you can invest in a good employee engagement software or even a performance management tool. Today’s job seekers are savvier than ever. The better your culture, the better your chances of weathering the ‘Great Resignation’!