What Traits Do All Companies With Great Company Culture Have In Common?

January 22, 2020

Ask anyone what companies out there seem to be the coolest to work for and you’ll likely hear about Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, or another tech giant. And there’s a good reason for that – these companies have poured literally millions of dollars into crafting strong internal company cultures from the inside out, which then reflects outwardly (and positively!) in their employer brands.

Creating a better culture for your business, however, doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. Thank goodness(!), because not all of us are tech companies with lots of money lying around for internal HR programs.

If you’re interested in a free way to make the most of your organization’s company culture, check out the kununu Culture Compass – one of our newest tools and the only tool of its kind that helps you measure, uncover, and display your company’s company culture in a visually interesting and tangible way)

Read on to learn what the common traits are among companies who have a great culture to then figure out how to strengthen your company culture in the way that feels right for your organization:

1. A clearly defined vision

If you talk to someone working at a company with a great culture, they will likely be able to articulate exactly what the organization works to achieve. Take Facebook’s official mission statement:

“Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

Not only does that communicate the company’s values, but it gives prospective employees a clear image of what types of goals they might be working toward.

Remember that a strong vision does your organization no good if nobody knows about it. Consider how you communicate your vision to your current employees and prospective talent. Tell your story on your website, create engaging media, and incorporate your vision into staff meetings. With a little bit of effort, you’ll develop a more engaged workforce who feel motivated by your vision.

2. Transparency

Transparency is critical to your company culture. Companies with a poor corporate culture keep secrets and fail to communicate expectations effectively. In contrast, those with a strong culture communicate constantly, even when honest disclosure might be a little uncomfortable.

Consider Whole Foods, which discloses every employees’ pay in an effort to build trust and lower gender and race-based pay inequities. This is just one type of transparency and it won’t work for every company; what matters is that you work to instill things that that enhance honest communication within your company contributes to your culture of transparency. For example, you might solicit employees’ opinions to include them in decision-making processes or deliver big news before it’s released to the press. The goal is to make employees feel supported and believe that they can trust your organization.

3. Employee focus and appreciation

A whopping 39% of people feel under-appreciated at work, and 77% say they would work harder if they got more recognition. Consider Netflix’s approach to people-focused HR, which is one that routinely evaluates its employees by their accomplishments and abilities rather than number of hours worked or other formulaic HR rules. To that same end, the company also offers a flexible (read: unlimited) vacation and family leave policy that rewards employees for their hard work. Fostering this sense of autonomy further fuels the desire to work hard and continue achieving at a high level – assuming you’ve hired the right people, with right attitude, skill, and work ethic!

Business leaders often feel reluctant to establish an incentive structure, worried that it might prove to be too expensive. However, rewarding excellence doesn’t have to come with a steep price tag. Monetary incentives are just one method of motivating employees and showing appreciation for workplace success (though many workers feel motivated by a pay boost, too). Offering flexible work schedules, hosting social events, or providing more career development opportunities are great ways to reward your hard-working employees. Don’t forget to overlook the impact of a simple compliment or other creative employee motivation ideas. Praising hard work goes a long way in fostering a sense of company loyalty.

4. Ethical and responsible business practices

Since 2000, Google’s code of conduct famously included the unofficial motto, “Don’t be evil.” The code of conduct goes on to enumerate what the company stands for: hiring great people, building strong products, and respecting users. This has contributed to Google’s great culture and has fueled the perception that it is a workplace that takes corporate responsibility seriously.

The need for corporate responsibility extends beyond maintaining a high standard of business ethics. Many employees feel motivated to work for a company that matches their personal values. Indeed, 75% of Millennials say that they would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company, particularly if it contributes to social and environmental issues. To make progress in this area, think about how your company contributes to your local community. Community outreach, volunteer work, and donations to worthy causes can increase your corporate responsibility and strengthen your company culture.


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Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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