It was Peter Drucker who famously said that ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’. No kidding. A work culture can absolutely be the deal-breaker or decisive factor when it comes to defining a company’s success.
Great company culture just doesn’t happen on its own. It’s more than mere fun and games. It’s beyond the inspirational quotes and artwork chalked onto the pillar, glowing customer testimonials lining the walls, and bean bags littered across the floor. All that stuff is nice and makes life more pleasant, but it does not change the core of who you are as a company. A great organizational work culture is more than paychecks, fun, and perks.
We have listed seven companies that are known for their fabulous work culture and listed what sets them apart. As is evident, a lot of thought goes into making workplaces motivating and productive. Get inspired!
When organizational culture is the topic, Zappos always make it into the list. Always, without exception. They weed out the people that are just there for a paycheck and retain only those who are committed to what the company stands for.
What Sets Them Apart: At Zappos, they carry out a culture fit interview which carries half the weight of whether the candidate is hired. All employees, whether they are in a senior position or not, 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 it isn’t your cup of tea. After such rigorous screening, it’s a wonder if their work culture didn’t work like magic.
Takeaway: Care more about the kind of people you acquire than the money that goes into hiring them. For if you locate the right talent and have the right culture to nurture them, they’ll more than pay you back with their commitment and drive. At Zappos, employee raises are the result of their performance, not office politics. And liberal budget portions are set aside for team building and cultural promotion activities. They obviously care, and they have the team to show for it!
2. Walt Disney
Walt Disney is not just among the most recognizable brands in the world, they also are the kindest community on the planet. A brand which is almost synonymous with magic, Disney extends the magical experience even to its employees and the company culture. Who wouldn’t want to be part of such sheer magic? Sigh!
What Sets Them Apart: Unparalleled heritage, pride and culture, wonderful community, amazing growth opportunity, and a creative atmosphere sets them apart, says a Disney employee. Disney only hires people who align with what their brand stands for. The organizational benefits of being a Disney employee include access to Mickey’s Retreat (an exclusive area accessible only to 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. Disney strives to make every place the happiest place to work and is compassionate towards each other. People can tell when their company cares for them more than as an employee code. And as is the case with Disney, they care back. Win-win!
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. Guess what’s even better than these countless perks? The team-oriented environment in which every person is motivated by the company’s goals.
On top of that, Twitter runs a quarterly ‘Hack Week’ when employees are encouraged to explore their crazy ideas. People are allowed to have concentrated time to go wild. This is a breath of fresh air and keeps the work-life from getting monotonous and stagnant.
Takeaway: Does your core company values mean anything to your employees? Are they a sham, just jargon-stuffed gobbledygook that are just there to decorate the walls? Built a workplace where people can be with fellow-minded colleagues who inspire each other to work better. You can’t beat having team members who are pleasant and friendly to each other, and are both good at and love what they are doing. And don’t hold back on making your workplaces fun, not miserably stressful, given the so many hours your employees invest in there.
Turns out, it’s not just Nike’s famous logo that gets people to ‘just do it’, it’s their charming work culture too. People live their company’s maxims such as ‘Be a sponge’, and ‘If you have a body, you’re an athlete’, unprompted and willingly.
What Sets Them Apart: Nike has an amazing work culture that its employees swear by. The culture – fun, employee perks and high energy are just the tip of the reasons that make their contagiously energetic work culture. Nike’s organizational culture is centered on creativity and innovation to provide products that are cutting-edge and stays that way.
Takeaway: The people you work with make the job worthwhile. Build a brand that your employees will be proud to call their own. It pays to think about cultural practices critically and rigorously.
Google is renowned as an amazing employer with many other organizations trying to mimic it, and sets the tone for many of the perks and benefits startups are now known for. Googlers are renowned to be driven, talented and among the best of the best.
What Sets Them Apart: With perks galore from free food, employee trips and parties, financial bonuses, open presentations by high-level executives, employee recognition, gyms, a pet-friendly environment to the main campus that rivals a world-class resort, Google’s corporate culture is the standard by which all other tech companies are measured.
Another factor that sets apart Googlers from the rest is their drive and loyalty to the organization which makes them stay on with the company and receive a number of promotions throughout the year.
Takeaway: Aspire to be a company that employees will stay by, and call their own with pride. Unhappy employees are 10 percent less productive than their happy counterparts, according to Entrepreneur.
Wonder why Netflix makes to this list? Because they actually trust their employees! They trust their employees to put in their best efforts at work. Unlike most organizations, Netflix doesn’t measure employees’ efforts by the number of hours they work, but rather on the end product they deliver. In turn, employees love this sense of trust and flexibility.
What Sets Them Apart: Did you know that Netflix has no set schedule, but offers unlimited vacation days to its employees? It’s not for all companies and certainly easier said than done. Netflix’s culture was set up and formulated in its early days of existence by Patty McCord with a 124-page slideshow known as ‘Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility‘. The company culture has got its own share of naysayers but the fact remains that people love working for them.
Takeaway: People want to know where the company is going, and they want to understand their role in it. This is where transparency comes into play. So you may not afford to have a transparent salary calculator like Buffer, but you don’t want to be that dragon treasuring secrets either. The earlier the culture is set, the better!
Medium is as popular among its employees as it is among the writer-reader community. A radical adopter of the Holacracy model, Medium is primarily about “No people managers. Maximum autonomy.”
What Sets Them Apart: “Teach me something.” Routinely asked on Medium hiring interviews, the questions shed light into the company culture and reflect on the skill set that the company values in employees. This golden question is the best way to evaluate a candidate’s taste, dynamism, and influence – exactly the qualities Medium wants in its employees and its content.
Takeaway: First and foremost, hire well! Offer your team fantastic training and make them realize that they are valued. Do not fake what isn’t already there. If you want your employees to succeed as individuals, they will return the favor and make your company grow.
Culture is built, not bought. Like the brand personality, work culture reflects who runs the company and why. What works for one company need not work for everyone. Some organizations may allow lots of autonomy for their employees and assign them big problems to solve. Some other companies are popular for great pay and perks. Companies like Salesforce let their employees choose a non-profit organization they feel strongly about to volunteer at for 7 working days of the year.
You could try your own thing in your organization and see how grateful your employees are for the efforts you put in. Running regular employee engagement surveys is one way of doing it. Invest in a good employee feedback software to collate employee feedback. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Today’s job seekers are savvier than ever, and the better perks you offer, the more avant-garde your organization is for them!
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