It's impossible to talk about talent management these days without the issue of culture being raised. It's becoming an increasingly important tactic for attracting new hires and also helps improve employee engagement for the staff already in place. In fact, positive cultures have been tied to lower turnover rates, higher innovation and productivity, and higher job satisfaction. Company culture has been called the “soul” of an organization and that's really what it should be. It encompasses the mission, values, goals, and environment in which employees thrive. It can also include factors such as unique ideals and behaviors that the company promotes, setting the bar high for all.
Having a strong culture can also help protect a company against changing market forces as a community bonded by trust and appreciation is far more resilient than a company where employees merely clock in and out. However, while there are numerous benefits, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to creating a strong one. In the words of Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, "There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” With that in mind, let's look at a few companies who knocked their culture out of the park.
Examples of strong company cultures
Ready for some true corporate culture inspiration? Here’s a rundown of some of the top organizations that are winning the culture game.
Who is it: The cloud-based software company is the only organization that’s named in the top 10 respectively in both the 2019 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For and Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work Employee’s Choice awards. Salesforce has long been considered to offer a kick-ass culture that’s described as “incredibly supportive” and “focused on giving back”. They offer generous VTO and have a model that donates 1% of revenue, 1% of the time and 1% of product to charity.
What they do differently: They see each employee as being valuable and support them, even if they are struggling in other areas of their life. An employee said they have a saying: "Bring your whole self to work!"
How they measure success: Salesforce has been focused on financial KPIs for the last few years and has purchased other businesses to build its size and influence in the market. Despite this, the culture remains friendly and fun.
Wegmans Food Markets Inc.
Who is it: This grocery store chain is also on both of the above winner’s lists (though not in the top 10), as well as the 2019 People Companies that Care awards, and rates highly with employees in terms of culture. It’s described as “mission-driven”, and “family-friendly” with an emphasis on respecting everyone. Managers are very involved with making sure employees have the tools they need to be successful, and it’s a team effort where everyone wants to work hard.
What they do differently: The focus is on happy and productive employees, and everyone is supported in their career growth.
How they measure success: Wegmans employees who have been with the company for a while have noted that part-timers are promoted to full-timers, and many employees are internally promoted to management roles.
Who is it: Technology companies have always strived to build unique cultures that attract the best talent, but social media business platform LinkedIn has gone above and beyond to focus on its people. In fact, LinkedIn culture includes 5 values: Transformation, Integrity, Collaboration, Humor, and Results. All employees are expected to embrace these cultural values and promote this in the community and with each other.
What they do differently: Linkedin leadership values all ideas from employees and rewards the top-performing employees. Some describe the culture as being “aligned with personal beliefs” and leadership tends to be relatable.
How they measure success: LinkedIn rates other companies based on a number of factors, so no doubt they will continue to measure their own based on the employee experience.
Who is it: St. Petersburg, Florida has been hiding this gem of a culture rich company for a while now. This digital and web design company was voted Number One on the 2019 INC. Best Workplaces report, and it's not surprising given the company’s mission is about making employee self-care and volunteerism just as important as work goals.
What they do differently: Employees are encouraged to lead a life of balance with generous vacation and VTO.
How they measure success: Leaders are accountable for the success of teams who complete monthly feedback surveys.
Why corporate culture matters
A company's culture says a lot about who they are and what they value. From your work environment to team building to employee retention, culture impacts every level and every aspect of your company (or should). Leaders know that in order to build strong organizations, business goals must be balanced with a passionate workforce who believes in a shared vision. Great cultures are the best way to gain that alignment and foster growth and happiness in employees. And as an added benefit, strong cultures attract strong job seekers which can help a company stay competitive in the war for talent even if they're a small business. So next time you're thinking about culture change, remember it's not all about ping-pong tables (though they are much appreciated) and more about building a community with guiding company values and ethics. And remember, when employee happiness is high, everyone wins.