Why A Company’s Culture Will Determine Its Success

Stasia Dempster

Stasia Dempster

“Company Culture” is an often overlooked factor when thinking about business growth and strategy. Many times, understanding company culture and how to resolve cultural weaknesses within the business is the key to transforming an organization’s success. This article will help you pinpoint any weaknesses in your company culture that may slowly be suffocating your business and preventing it from reaching its full potential. 

Disclaimer: This article is a long read, but is worth reading if organizational longevity and maximum growth is a priority. 

An innovative idea. A useful product. A one of a kind niche. A world-class sales team. An entrancing website. New and established businesses alike oftentimes believe that these factors are what will propel them forwards into corporate success. It doesn’t matter if a company has the most fantastic product or service in the world – if its delivery is poor, the company will fail. There are countless elements which assist in a business’s initial success, but there is one often overlooked component that is perhaps the most critical of all. In the long-term, none of these other factors will matter if your business has an appalling company culture.

What Is 'Company Culture'?

A company’s “culture” entails a multitude of factors, all of which intertwine to create a voice, atmosphere and experience. It demonstrates the manner(s) through which a business cultivates growth and development through its environment and practices. A business’s company culture is related directly to its brand and corporate personality, and encompasses a significant variety of business practices – from the obvious to the seemingly trivial. Because a “culture” is so deeply ingrained in the very heart of a being or establishment, many businesses rarely even consider theirs. This lack of acknowledgement can significantly harm a company’s potential, and even result in long-term business failure.

A recent survey found that:

  • 9 of 10 CEOs and CFOs believe that improving company culture would increase the company’s value.
  • 80% ranked culture among the top five most important factors driving a company’s valuation.
  • Companies listed amongst the best places to work based on corporate culture delivered nearly 20% higher returns to shareholders than comparable companies over a five year period.”

The key to developing an excellent company culture is investment from the CEO of company leaders. Kevin Oakes, CEO of i4cp stated, “Almost 90% of successful companies had commitment from the CEO for time and resources to see it through. At almost the same number, the CEO modeled the desired behavior change inside the organization.” Effective change must carry down from the top – it will typically be unsuccessful if it starts at the bottom.

Why Is Company Culture Important?

A quality company culture is absolutely critical for a number of often overlooked reasons. Since it is not something which is frequently discussed between business owners, management and staff – or even in direct B2B conversations – too many individuals responsible for business strategy do not even consider it when issues arise, nor when they are planning their growth and success strategies. At its most basic form, company culture will directly impact a number of important business functions, in addition to helping prevent potentially disastrous consequences.

It directly and indirectly impacts your company’s success.

This topic will be covered thoroughly in the following paragraphs; however, you can think of it like this: Since company culture directly influences environment, actions, speech and decisions, it will eventually influence a brand in its entirety and the products/services that it offers.

It can help prevent PR crises.

Many PR crises are caused by poor internal or external communication, not adhering to socially accepted ethics and values (or laws), company disorganization and lack of structural uniformity, bad business practice, careless or reckless staff, failure to deliver on promises or a severe lack of respect towards employees or customers. By prioritizing an excellent company culture, all of these potential issues can virtually be avoided.

It can cultivate an environment conducive to long-term employees and low turnover rates.

Happy and comfortable staff who feel that their needs are being met equals generally long-term employees. Bonus points if there is potential for continuing education and legitimate opportunity for career advancement. Staff who feel disrespected, unappreciated, or are not having their basic needs met will search for opportunity elsewhere. If your company has a high turnover rate, your company culture is probably not conducive to the establishment of devoted staff.

It can help you find the right employees for the right jobs.

A defined company culture will naturally draw suitable personalities to you. This is because it is so much a part of a brand’s identity that it is conveyed through the wording chosen for hiring ads, the personality of the individual who answers your phone when prospective employees call, the environment that candidates see when they arrive for an interview, the managers conducting the interviews and ultimately choosing which employees they like enough to hire. Just as people are typically naturally drawn to those they feel they can identify with, the same applies to job hunters seeking a suitable future.

It can result in significant growth and improved reputation.

Company culture quite literally becomes a part of every decision a business makes, every employee and their decisions, every verbal and written exchange that is had within a business’s walls, and every customer experience that is had with your products and services. A quality culture will breed satisfaction, enthusiasm and success, while a poor one will harvest mistrust, unhappiness, burned bridges and bad press.

It helps establish longevity, even during times of economic hardship.

Companies with a solid mission, an organized structure, enthusiastic and passionate staff, a quality product with good delivery and a genuine interest in making a positive difference will always outlast companies who do not exhibit these qualities. By ensuring that your company has an excellent culture prior to economical tribulation, the momentum from your good reputation and the reliability from your dedicated team will assist greatly in carrying you through.

your culture is your brand sign

What Defines Your Company Culture?

How you treat people determines who you are.

At this point, you probably recognize how beneficial having an excellent company culture is, and are probably considering how it relates to your business specifically. Company culture, at its utmost core, is all about how your company treats people. In this context, people does not just refer to your customers – it also relates to: your management, your staff (every single one of them), potential customers, previous customers, unhappy and dissatisfied customers, your staff and customer’s friends and family, your target audience, curious individuals with no intent to buy, political groups… the entirety of society and beyond. In this section, we will dissect each individual component of company culture and explain which attributes are almost always attributed to a successful company culture (and consequently a successful company).

How do you treat your employees and staff?

Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to work for another company, or with other companies, has likely experienced the vast differences in the manner through which employees are treated. You may have even experienced how a poor company culture can devastate one’s work quality and enthusiasm firsthand… perhaps this experience was one of the reasons that you decided to work for yourself in the first place. Think about the following and how they apply to your company, from your own interactions with staff as well as the interactions occurring between management, staff and customers/clients. Choosing quality management is critical to maintaining a quality company culture, as even one toxic manager can poison your company’s success.

Respect vs. Disrespect

How respectful is the authority at your company, and how respectful are your staff towards each other? Do you or your staff (management or subordinates) partake in name calling, humiliation tactics, constant blame or criticism? Do you find staff frequently talking badly about others behind their back? Internal and external forms of disrespect towards other people can slowly destroy a business and its reputation. Disrespect will cause you to lose excellent employees, will prevent you from getting new ones, will destroy your current employees’ enthusiasm and trust, and will eventually result in very negative customer experiences.

Punishment vs. Reward Based Systems

Science has consistently proven that positive reinforcement yields superior, longer lasting results to punishment. Utilizing a workplace system based primarily around positive reinforcement will motivate your employees, keep them feeling happy and appreciated, and will result in more dedicated, effective workers. If employees do not feel appreciated or are constantly being criticized, eventually they will seek a future elsewhere. Micromanagement can also result in the same psychological effects that punishment does, by implying a lack of trust for an individual and demolishing their creative and problem-solving potential.

Systems based primarily around criticism, micromanagement and punishment will either collapse entirely or result in you (the business owner) doing all the work yourself because you cannot keep employees. It is very possible to run a one or two person business, but your growth will be severely limited early on. The employees who leave will also discuss their experiences with those around them, and those individuals will discuss their experiences with others, etc. This can severely damage a company’s reputation.

Honest vs. Dishonest

Just because they are your staff does not mean you can get away with lying to them – or asking them to lie for you. Dishonesty, even if it seems harmless at the time, will always come back to bite you eventually. The truth will always come out in one way or another, whether you lied to your staff or your customers. If you are dishonest with customers and they find out (which, somehow they normally do), the consequences can be absolutely devastating.

Open and honest communication is always the best policy! Your staff will appreciate the fact that you respect them enough to keep them in the loop, and will typically respond by adapting their work in a way that may actually solve the business’s problem. The employees working for you are individuals specifically chosen by you or your management, and you and your management should trust your judgement enough to feel that you can be honest with them. This point is so important, in fact, that it warrants a story.

An example of the slippery slope of dishonesty

There was once a dog and cat boarding facility with a very high maximum occupancy rate. It was at least half full most of the year, and completely full for the rest of it.

Partially because proper hygiene standards were not being followed, and partially due to unfortunate circumstance, several of the dogs began vomiting blood. Blood was discovered in progressively increasing amounts in their feces as well, and the staff became very concerned. They went to their boss who told them not to worry about it yet, and to not contact any owners. After a number of days, every single dog was displaying these symptoms – including the new ones who had just come in the day prior completely healthy.

The staff and management alike approached their boss regarding their concerns, desperately asking to contact dog owners to let them know what was happening. Perhaps out of fear, perhaps due to some other unimaginable reason, their boss informed the entire staff body that if any of them contacted owners, they would face severe disciplinary action. He then proceeded to attain a large quantity of an unknown injection from his veterinarian, and told staff to inject every single dog in the kennel. Owners of dogs who had departed during this crisis, meanwhile, were calling the front desk in numbers, asking what was wrong with their pet. The front desk staff were made to explain (and they obeyed – likely out of fear) that their dog was “totally fine while they were here,” and that it was probably something that the owner had done once they’d gotten home. 

Several of the dogs still in the kennel were elderly or on medications, and staff was still told to inject these dogs with an unknown substance. This boss refused to explain to any staff what they were injecting dogs with, and would threaten them when asked about it. 

This episode resulted in over 70% of staff quitting, as well as an uproar on social media once word finally got out. This uproar on social resulted in press involvement, which basically destroyed the business’s local reputation.

Honesty is always the best policy.

Benefits and perks

What do you offer that other companies won’t? Do you offer…

  • Irresistible benefits?

  • A comfortable, well-decorated workspace conducive to quality thinking?

  • Over and above management and department support

  • Appreciation and praise?

  • Excellent pay?

  • Perks and incentives? (Free gym memberships, financial incentives, unlimited vacation, a four day work week, free yoga and wellness programs, parties, etc.?)

  • Freedom and flexibility?

  • A great work/life balance?

… All of the above?

A happy, enthusiastic employee is a successful, lasting employee. Unless you plan to do everything yourself, your employees are who will dictate the success of your company. If you value them, give them a lot of reasons not to build their futures elsewhere.

How organized or disorganized is the company?

Although an organized business structure should be a given, it can be difficult for businesses – especially new ones – to build an effective structure and develop relevant protocols. Companies can also lack effective organizational structure when they grow at a rate too rapid for owners and managers to keep up with. This can be mediated by hiring high quality, experienced business strategists to help you effectively restructure. Think about the following for a moment, and how they relate to your company.

  • Do you have effective protocols in place for dealing with situations (foreseen and unforeseen) or do you just “wing” it? Attempting to navigate a difficult or overwhelming situation without a plan is like trying to find your way out of a forest without a compass or GPS. If you do not make good decisions during times like these, your company’s reputation can be damaged. Unfortunately, stress and chaos does not typically result in quality decision making, which is why it is important to have a quality plan for dealing with these situations ahead of time. It is virtually impossible to prepare for every potential situation, but the more protocols you have put in place, the easier it will be to make a decision when you need to.

  • Is there a solid 6 month, 1 year, 5 year, 10 year plan for your company?

  • Do employees know exactly how to ask for time off? Who to speak to when issues arise? Are their responsibilities and schedules clearly laid out?

  • Do customers know exactly who to contact with questions and how to easily reach each department? Not being able to quickly reach the right people can become extremely frustrating for customers and can actually cause them to seek services elsewhere.

If you consider your business small-medium sized, medium sized or large, having a high quality, effective department head for each sector is critical to prevent confusion and frustration in staff and customers. A quality HR team can also be highly beneficial in managing team and customer communications and expectations.

How do you treat customers?

Your customers are the ones who will ultimately decide if your business succeeds or fails. Entrepreneurs do not develop a business for themself – they create a business for their customers. Bear this in mind when considering how your companies are treated by your customer-facing employees, management, online or phone support team and PR or HR team (especially if they are responsible for directly replying to online reviews and questions). Operating under the philosophy that, “It doesn’t really matter how we treat our customers because the quality of our product/service speaks for itself,” is one that will put you far behind your competitors who may not be offering as high quality a product. If customers have a poor customer service experience, they will remember it, and they will tell their friends and family about it – and possibly even the internet. 

Think about how your customers are treated:

  • Do their needs come first? Occasionally it will be necessary to provide extra assistance to a customer in order to provide them the best company experience possible. Will you go over and above to achieve this?

  • Are you available for them? Although you do not need to be available for customers 24/7 – or even past business hours – your staff should be fully available for them during business hours. That means if your doors shut at 7pm, you do not begin shutting down until 7pm.

  • Are they treated with respect? Scoffing at, threatening, personally attacking, swearing at, objectifying or criticizing customers is completely unacceptable behavior. Destroying property, spitting in food or making physical contact with a customer will lead to devastating press and a potential lawsuit. If you operate a facility that is available to the public, you will eventually have to deal with a perhaps not-so-pleasant customer. When this occurs, keep smiling, remember that you are the business’s identity at that very moment – not your own.
when the customer comes first the customer will come last saying

Treating your customers with respect extends further than face-to-face contact; it includes how you and your staff talk about customers when they are not around to hear. If you badmouth a customer, it has the potential to change the way that your staff views them, and consequently how they treat them. By criticizing or making fun of customers, you not only make yourself appear unprofessional to staff and anyone else around (business partners, other potential customers, etc.) but you are giving your staff permission to treat others in the same way.

  • Are all promises being met and delivered? This applies not only to services, but special offers, coupons, follow up services, free evaluations, rebates, 5 year warranties and customer service or special care offered alongside products.

  • Does management or staff regularly talk disrespectfully about customers behind their backs?

  • How do you treat them when they are not satisfied with the product or service? Just because you may believe that you’re providing the best product or service in the market does not mean that everyone will feel that way. Complaints are an excellent opportunity to really make your company shine, even if they do not always initially seem that way. By rectifying a complaint or dissatisfaction with empathy, attention and a sense of urgency, over the top customer service and a replacement or refund as necessary, you can actually create a much more memorable experience than you would have been able to if they hadn’t been upset.

  • Are you giving them value for their money or ripping them off? The most successful businesses are based around a philosophy genuinely meant to better lives or society. If your company operates under the premise that you should, “take ‘em for what they’re worth,” or any other dishonest, self-serving ideology, you will likely find that your repeat business will be minimal. 

How do you deal with adversity?

Adversity is your company’s opportunity to solve a problem in an environment laden with tension, public attention and scrutiny in which your business is the centerpiece. If effectively dealt with, you can make your business shine in ways that are impossible otherwise while simultaneously reaching a large audience. Adversity includes any instance where negative attention or press is directed at your business or its staff. It also includes any event where things do not necessarily go the way that you want them to. Consider the following… how do you deal with them when they occur?

  • Bad reviews and public criticism. Do you respond confrontationally or with hostility? Do you accuse the accuser of being the issue while blaming them for their own misfortune? Do you simply ignore the complaint and hope that it disappears? There will always be instances where your customer is in the wrong, or is simply attempting to create dissension; however, this is your chance to objectively and compassionately provide them with accurate information while indirectly advertising your company in the meantime to other potential customers who may read the review.

  • Company criticism between staff and management. If management is having an issue with an employee, or you are having an issue with your management, confront the individual directly instead of complaining to other staff about it. Criticizing others furtively in business not only prevents the issue from getting resolved before it is too late, but it makes the accuser appear unprofessional and craven. Your staff are not telepathic, and will not often recognize when they are doing something, or acting in such a way, that is undesirable. Honesty and open communication can work wonders for resolving internal conflict in business.

  • Employees who quit: Are you professional, understanding and follow standard business protocols or do you burn bridges and behave spitefully? Your current and previous employees will talk about their experiences with the business. Employees have the right to terminate their employment at any time if the relationship is no longer working for them – the business does not have exclusive rights to any of their staff’s future plans. If an employee approaches you with the news that their position is no longer working for them, the best thing that you can do is ask why (so you can resolve the issue for future staff if there is one), be understanding and professional in your response, discuss any contractual protocols prior to their leaving, and move on. Many times, employee turnover rates can be minimized simply by prioritizing the improvement of your company’s culture and helping staff to attain the future that they want with you.

Your Company Foundations

Your company’s foundations are the factors which define the business at its core through ethics and mission, behavior and involvement.

  • Staff involvement. Although this may not seem like a foundational factor, it can make a significant difference in your staff’s dedication to the company. By getting employees involved in extracurricular activities and company decision making, you will generate personal investment and feelings of belonging while potentially gathering some excellent ideas and insight in the process. Do you ask your staff for their opinions and ideas, and do you make an effort to implement them if they make sense? Do you offer your staff fun holiday parties, field trips or wellbeing events?

(Note: staff involvement does NOT refer to increased workloads)

  • Professionalism. Professionalism encompasses a variety of factors, so we will be referring to how it impacts the company foundations in this section. Do you have an organized, efficient and effective company structure? Are profanities or disrespectful language a standard part of your company’s verbal exchanges (between staff, management or otherwise)? Are internal and external communications kept professional and emotionally neutral? Is harassment and bullying acceptable behavior?

YOUR WORDS AND ACTIONS DEFINE YOU! Do not underestimate how what happens internally on a daily basis can impact what occurs externally with customers and clients.

  • Legalities and basic human rights. It is critical, for a number of reasons, that laws and basic human rights are adhered to 100% of the time in business. Not doing so can result in unrepairable reputational damage (for your company and those involved), lawsuits and legal action, loss of licensing and even prison time. Are employee protection laws followed? Are wage and benefits laws followed? Are tax and financial laws being followed? Are basic human rights taken seriously? Is harassment disciplined appropriately

  • Creativity and innovation. Does your company foster an environment conducive to creativity and innovation?
building blocks of success

Diversity (or lack thereof)

Diversity entails the amount of social and racial variety you choose to include as a part of your company, and where these individuals are placed. The employees whom you choose to work for your company should accurately reflect the brand you would like to portray to your audience. Prioritizing diversity in the workplace can significantly affect the effectiveness of your business. By hiring individuals from a variety of backgrounds and including them in daily operations, you can learn a great deal about what people are going through and how to best help. This allows you to gain a deeper understanding about what your audience truly needs, and can inspire brilliant social responsibility programs. 

Collaboration is critical to a company’s success and it is consequently highly beneficial to hire based on personalities, goals and values. Finding individuals who share similar goals and values, while demonstrating a personality that will fit in with your other staff and benefit your business’s environment can work wonders for keeping peace and inspiring creativity in the workplace. Your staff are the face of your company, so choose them wisely. Do not choose staff in hopes that you can “mold” them into the perfect employee. Choose staff for who they are and appreciate them for the unique perspectives and strengths which they can contribute. Focus on maximizing your staff’s natural abilities and strengths, and show them that they are appreciated along the way.

Comfort and Environment

Do not underestimate the power of a work environment. Environment in its most basic sense includes sensory factors contributing to the experience of a workplace. Some of these factors include:

  • Ambience. This can be lighting, smells, the music you play and your floor plan layout.
  • Temperature
  • Hygiene and cleanliness of the facility and those working in it
  • Interior design. Think colors and decorations here.
  • Workspaces.
  • Work tools.
  • Break rooms, kitchens, or any extra space directly connected to your work space.
  • Ease of access to relevant departments. This refers to physical ease of access and verbal accessibility.

Some companies attempt to go over and above in providing an environment optimized to quality work and employee happiness. One example of this is “dog friendly” workplaces:

These establishments recognize the positive psychological and emotional effects that pets have on their owners and have found that it increases happiness and efficiency.

Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is your company’s way of giving back to the community while demonstrating that you use your power “for good” – or in a way that makes a positive difference in society. Social responsibility can actually be a selling point when your company is offering something that benefits a greater good when customers interact with your brand. Think Tom’s Shoes, free trade coffee, ethically sourced ingredients, Stryker with “Operation Smile,” or Starbucks with their community service program. When considering social responsibility, think about these factors:

  • Do you care about what your audience cares about and can you prove it?
  • Do you prioritize social well-being or financial and personal gains?
  • Do you give back to the community?
  • Do you use your power and influence for good?
  • Do you prioritize bettering lives simply because you care?

Room for growth and professional opportunity

This relates primarily to your employees and how much long-term investment you can generate from them by giving them a reason to build their future with you. Offering a fantastic work environment and culture works wonders for keeping employees, oftentimes much longer than they would have stayed otherwise. With many young, ambitious individuals, however, there will come a time where they are eager to progress from an entry level position to an intermediate level position or one containing more responsibility, better pay and more respect. Eventually they will be keen to move up the ladder yet again, and then again. People who are serious about their jobs are enthusiastic to learn more, get better, develop professionally and personally and get as far ahead as they possibly can. They will constantly be learning and working to refine their role in such a way where it presents them the opportunity they need to build the future they desire. If you won’t offer these things to your staff, don’t be offended if some of them leave because they found a more appropriate role elsewhere. This is not usually personal, but just as you chose to develop your company for growth potential, freedom and a better future, they are doing the same for themself. Please not that “professional opportunity” does not entail dramatically increasing staff workload and responsibility without appropriate compensation and respect. The threat of losing valued employees to competition for the sake of opportunity can be mediated greatly by offering room for growth and potential opportunity within your own company.

 Do you give your employees options? If you want long-term staff, it is critical that they are happy and feel as if there is room for growth. If an employee is no longer happy in their role, see how it can be developed or modified to keep them happy and enthusiastic. Are you flexible? If you find that an employee displays talent or enthusiasm for a different role than that which they were hired for, would you transfer them or modify their role?

Opportunity is an excellent motivator, provided it fulfills the following criterion:

  • Financial increase
  • Personal and professional growth
  • Outlook for a nicer future
  • Increased corporate respect

Why Does Company Culture Matter, and How Does It Generate Long Term Corporate Success?

company culture infographic

How does Company Culture generate long term success?

Through a circle of creating happiness, comfort and enthusiasm – which is conducive to productivity and effortless achievement – employees will happily talk about how great their job is.

This brings in more desirable candidates who will help the company grow even larger. This growth will result in improved customer service and product experience for your clients who will tell the world about it, consequently increasing brand authority while generating more business.

Examples of Companies With an Excellent Company Culture

glassdoor survey infographic

Source: Glassdoor

The Big 9 Cultural Values are a set of criteria developed by MIT SMR and Glassdoor. In order to collect the primary keywords being displayed in employee and customer experiences, they reviewed 1.2 million reviews through an algorithm in order to identify the commonalities between companies that employ 34 million people (about 25% of private sector employment in the US). This review resulted in the development of “The Big 9 Cultural Values,” – or nine values that drive organizational excellent. These values are:

  •  Agility
  •  Collaboration
  •  Customer
  •  Diversity
  •  Execution
  •  Innovation
  •  Integrity
  •  Performance
  •  Respect

Does your company employ these values? If not, it is worth considering how to best implement these values in your business’s core structure.

In case you still aren’t convinced that company culture generates success…

Let’s review some companies with a reputation for having an excellent company culture. Would you say that they are successful?

1) Twitter

Twitter offers their employees a variety of perks, in addition to strong feelings of purpose and productivity. Some of these perks include: rooftop meetings, a strong “team-oriented environment”, free meals, free yoga classes, unlimited vacation and the general feeling of “doing something that matters.” Twitter is active with its users, updates frequently to provide a better user experience and provides users a unique experience that keeps them logging in.

2) Google

Although Google is growing rapidly, it continues to prioritize its employees and their happiness. By offering perks such as free meals, employee trips and parties, financial bonuses, gyms, a dog-friendly environment, continuing education, pay perks and advancement, it has gained a reputation for having one of the best all-around company cultures. Google has become the most successful search engine available, because it enables users to find a massive array of information all in one place. Google’s algorithm has evolved to present users with the most “helpful” information immediately while pushing less relevant information backwards, in addition to providing other content which users may deem useful when searching. Google is focused on saving users time while creating a pleasant and effective searching experience.

3) Adobe

Adobe avoids micromanaging its staff while also minimizing disciplinary action when they make a “mistake.” They have found that when staff fears punishment, their creativity is stifled and they typically do much less because they are afraid of taking risks. Managers take on the role of a coach, letting employees set goals and determine how they should be addressed. Stock options, continual trading and education, culture promoting risk taking without fear of penalty. 

Adobe offers its users some of the most innovative, world-class creative programs available to the public. It has absolutely transformed the creative industry by offering a variety of programs aimed at optimizing the potential of print and digital publishing, 2D and 3D graphic design and typography, illustration, interactive digital experiences, animation, 4D digital design, movie making and motion graphics, and much more. Their cloud based subscription allows users to have access to instant program updates, a cloud system, a massive database of tools and fonts and a plethora of programs. Adobe also offers education and tutorials for it’s users through a variety of platforms, and allows users to publish their work in public forums for educational and promotional purposes.

4) Microsoft

Prior to 2014, things were looking dire for Microsoft. The company had built an empire, but things were changing (and not in a good way). Something needed to change or the organization would begin feeling the impacts of a rapidly declining company culture. This was the year that Satya Nadella became CEO. “Innovation was being replaced by bureaucracy. Teamwork was being replaced by internal politics. “We were falling behind,” he writes in his memoir, Hit Refresh. Nadella prioritized a massive company culture overhaul, which is almost unheard of for a company of that magnitude. He worked tirelessly on this renovation, acknowledging that he would be a critical component in ensuring that the process was correctly implemented. Since hired, Microsoft’s market value has increased from $300 billion to $1 trillion. Microsoft is currently recognized as having one of the top company cultures for an organization of that size in the world, and they exemplify it through their motto, “Work culture that helps change the world.”

Their culture operates under several core values, in which all of their work and daily process are based: Growth mindset, customer obsessed, diverse and inclusive, one Microsoft and making a difference. Microsoft prides itself on allowing employees to be their authentic selves, inclusive hiring practices, giving back to the community, and offering their employees excellent benefits – including everything from healthcare to professional family support, gym or fitness related memberships, stock plans, loan refinancing, education, flexible work schedules and much more.

5) Indeed

Indeed has been recognized as one of the world’s top job and employee connection websites. It allows potential employees to search for any position or keyword, pulls up an enormous list of results, allows users to refine their search even more through a variety of filters, and then gives an overview of each company and the related job description. Users are also given access to “reviews” written by previous and current employees about their work experience. These reviews include a number of rankings as well as a designated space for employees to write about their experience. Having access to information about what users liked and disliked about their places of employment resulted in them attaining a reputation as one of the “best places to work.” Indeed and their staff developed #insideindeed, which is a hub dedicated to highlighting their company culture and the opportunities that they offer their staff. The company prides itself on inclusion, openness, open PTO, volunteering opportunities, donation matching and more.

How Can You Create a Success Generating Culture

By now, you probably know which aspects of excellent company culture your company is succeeding in, as well as which components may need work. If you still aren’t sure where your company stands, ask yourself these questions:

  • How would you define your company’s culture right now?
  • How well does your management interact with and inspire staff?
  • How high is your turnover rate?
  • Is your company rewards or punishment based?
  • How do you incentive and motivate your employees?
  • Think about the Big 9 Cultural Values, as well as the components listed on the “What Defines a Company’s Culture” section of this article. Where does your business fit?

Consider what could be changed or modified within your company to improve its culture. For some businesses, a structural overhaul may be necessary. Even large companies that have been around for decades, such as Microsoft, have done this in favor of future results. Although a structural overhaul may result in extra work and planning, require financial and personal sacrifice as well as letting toxic staff or management go, the long-term benefits significantly outweigh the short-term disruption.

If you are serious about providing your company with the best opportunity for long-term success, prioritize its culture. Decide what you want to change and then implement these changes – it may even be worth asking your employees how their jobs could be improved. Ensure that all staff and management are willing to abide by any new rules once changes have been implemented. It is even worth providing your employees questionnaires at regular intervals to evaluate if the changes are working for them. Monitor your customer feedback along the way and continue modifying and improving where necessary. Before long, you will have developed a culture worth preserving!

Take away: Regardless of how established your company is, it is never too late to optimize its culture.

In Conclusion

Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. (former CEO of IBM) once said, “ Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization’s makeup and success – along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials and the like. I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game – it is the game. In the end, and organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” 

Truer words perhaps have not been spoken; although good branding, marketing, web presence and SEO can drastically improve your company’s success and profit margins, it is up to you to create the customer experience – and this is what generates sustainable success.

Hopefully this article has helped shine light on why having an excellent company culture is critical to your organization’s long-term success, as well as providing some inspiration regarding what you can do to improve yours. By prioritizing the development of enthusiastic, happy and motivated employees, you can deliver the best possible results to your clients – which, in turn, will generate the best possible results for you.

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