Your company culture can make or break your business.
If you don’t have a healthy and positive work culture, it can hinder your ability to attract new talent and prevent your employees from finding meaning in their work, leading to poor morale, productivity, and revenue losses.
As elusive as it can be to capture, it’s important that you take the time to define the culture of your company based on the values that are important to you and your workers.
To help you accomplish this goal, we’ll be sharing real-life examples of companies with impressive organizational cultures that you can learn from and use to inform your culture-building strategies.
Hubspot is easily one of the most popular companies in the world. Its sales, marketing, and customer relationship management software have won numerous awards, but that’s not the only reason why the organization is beloved by all.
The company has also earned recognition and has been consistently ranked among the best places to work because of its excellent organizational culture.
Hubspot’s culture is built around its people and shared values represented by the acronym HEART—Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, and Transparent. The company prides itself on open communication and making sure employees are aware of any news about the company before outsiders catholic wind of it.
Hubspot has created a work environment where leaders are charged with providing direction and elevating employees rather than merely passing instructions and delegating tasks.
Everyone knows they have a voice and that they can disagree and make mistakes without fear of retribution.
The online shoe retailer has taken deliberate efforts to build a culture and value system that fosters employee growth, customer happiness, and business success.
Before anyone gets hired, they have to scale through Zappos cultural fit interview first. And if an employee joins the company but realizes after the first week of training that the job isn’t right for them, Zappos will give them $2,000 to walk away.
One key aspect of Zappos’ culture is cultivating an atmosphere where failure is accepted and understood because not all seeds will bear fruit. The company’s culture is also focused on helping the team bond and trust each other.
Getting raises and promotions at Zappos is based on proven abilities and how well an employee does on skills exams, rather than workplace politics.
Additionally, Zappos offers great employee perks such as pet insurance, free meals, nap rooms, on-site wellness service, 40% employee discounts, monthly team outings, and above-average vision, dental, and medical insurance.
Beyond being one of the best CRM software in the market today, Salesforce is famous for having an exceptional culture that’s worth envying. The company’s culture is based on its core value and mission which is to improve the state of the world.
To accomplish this goal, the company is committed to implementing the 1-1-1 community giveback model. This means that Salesforce donates 1% of its product, 1% of its employee time, and 1% of its equity to nonprofits and educational institutions around the world every year.
Since it was founded, Salesforce has given over 240 million in grants, 3.5 million hours of community service, and access to its products to over 39,000 organizations and institutions.
The company also encourages and supports initiatives to bolster team building, trust, growth, equality, transparency, and innovation amongst its employees.
The company that democratized movie streaming has also built a reputation for having good organizational culture. The culture at Netflix is built around two tenets: freedom and responsibility.
Netflix believes that if employees are trusted and empowered to do their jobs, they will deliver and even exceed the expectations you set. The company encourages employees to take unlimited vacation days, share knowledge and information, and make their own decisions.
Unlike most other businesses, Netflix measures employee effectiveness by the end product or what they achieve, rather than how many hours they work. Netflix places a premium on open communication and honesty even when it’s harsh or unpleasant.
By giving employees the freedom to decide how and when to do their jobs, they will develop accountability, self-discipline, and a higher sense of responsibility, ultimately pushing them to be productive. Netflix strongly believes this and so far it has worked incredibly well for them.
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In building Zoom’s culture, the company’s founder wanted to create the kind of place where people would want to work for 10 or 20 years—and clearly, he succeeded.
In 2021, the video conferencing technology, Zoom was named the best place to work. It has also won the company with the happiest employees twice in a row.
Zoom was already giving its workers the choice of working remotely even before the pandemic necessitated it. And after the pandemic hit, the company provided extra funds to employees to set up their home office, home gym, and even get food and groceries delivered to their doorsteps.
The company has a dedicated team known as the happiness crew that is responsible for organizing celebrations, events, and volunteer activities.
They’re also charged with maintaining Zoom’s positive work culture and optimizing the work environment to boost employee satisfaction and happiness.
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Adobe is one of the leading software companies in the world with hundreds of millions of users and thousands of workers distributed across the world.
Despite its imposing size, Adobe still manages to keep employee spirits high by giving them the tools and support they need to succeed.
The company’s culture strives to give workers freedom and flexibility in the performance of their duties. Adobe doesn’t believe in micromanaging people.
Instead, people are given assignments and are trusted to utilize their creativity and do their best to successfully accomplish set tasks.
Adobe also uses a self-evaluation system to measure staff capabilities, so each employee gets to set goals and choose how they want their progress to be measured.
Other perks that the company offers to improve the working experience include paid sabbatical, subsidized transport, tuition reimbursement, gym memberships, employee patents, performance bonuses, continuous training, and stock options.
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The music streaming company has been able to grow rapidly and expand into different markets thanks to an innovation-oriented and mistake-tolerant culture that encourages employees to experiment with new ideas, fail gloriously, and learn from their failures.
At Spotify, workers are given autonomy; they are told what the company goals or purpose are, and the role they are expected to play in making it a reality but are given the freedom and flexibility to decide how to get to that destination.
The company expects its employees to be servant leaders, to teach and learn from each other, and take accountability for their responsibilities without needing to be micromanaged.
Spotify encourages employees to have the courage to kill an idea when it doesn’t bring the expected results. Spotify’s culture also emphasizes that rules are meant to guide and to be broken when necessary, so workers can take risks as they see fit and change gears if it doesn’t pay off.
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Nike is another great example of organizational culture that you can use to inform and improve your own company culture. “Just do it” isn’t just the company’s slogan, it’s a practice that its employees try to embody every day.
Nike takes its employees’ well-being very seriously and constantly comes up with initiatives to support their physical and mental health. I mean, how many companies do you know that would close all their offices for a week so that workers can go on a mental health break?
Nike not only did this, but it also offers amazing perks to help its employees achieve excellence in and out of the workplace.
Nike is also big on communication and transparency, so much so that it has spelled out every step of its interview process on its hiring page.
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Turns out the secret to Pixar’s amazing run at the box office lies in its company culture. Pixar understands that ideas don’t always come out fully formed and may not even make sense at first, this is why it has created an environment that provides psychological safety.
This means that employees can freely share their ideas while they’re still in the “ugly baby” phase and get the support they need to nurture their creativity until it blossoms into something beautiful.
Pixar encourages employees to get used to being embarrassed when showing the things they’re working on. The company values and promotes cross-team collaboration, mutual respect, honesty built on empathy, and trust in people even over processes.
Pixar’s workplace culture also prioritizes smart people even over groundbreaking ideas, thinking creatively instead of conforming, and building community rather than operating as a free agent.
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The culture at Southwest Airlines has been embedded into all areas of the organization. The company practices a tribal culture that treats every employee like they belong to a community.
Southwest Airlines is all about putting employees first because it operates on the belief that when employees are happy, they are more likely to put in their best to meet the business’ overarching goals.
The company encourages employees to bond and build relationships with other members of the team.
From their first day at Southwest Airlines, employees are inculcated with the company’s core values at the center of which are recognition, appreciation, and celebration.
They are given the freedom to take initiative as long as it aligns with the company’s purpose. At Southwest Airlines, learning is encouraged, employee happiness is prioritized, and everyone’s ideas, opinions, and contributions are valued.
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Google has always been a market leader even on the corporate culture front. It has won numerous awards for being a great place to work and is responsible for pioneering many of the initiatives and perks that startups use to attract and retain their employees.
For example, Google has in-house financial advisors that employees can go to get advice on all kinds of finance-related issues from debts to taxes. These advisors can even help them set up and manage their investment portfolio to create a more financially secure future.
Google operates a flat infrastructure across all of its offices that enables employees at all levels to communicate directly with senior managers and executives without going to any trouble.
The company offers other incentives to create a great working environment for its staff including games, free meals, cash bonuses, parties, vacations, nap pods, fully equipped gyms, game stations, laundry and dry-cleaning services, and more.
Paxos is known for being the first regulated blockchain infrastructure platform in the world. It’s on a mission to build a new, decentralized financial system to enable organizations to move their assets cheaper and faster than traditional methods.
On the road to accomplishing this lofty objective, Paxos has been intentional about fashioning an inclusive culture for both new and existing employees.
To help recruits assimilate into the environment, the company sets them up with onboarding buddies and arranges for them to have lunch with their supervisors in those early days.
Paxos strives to celebrate diversity and promote tolerance and inclusivity by implementing a variety of creative initiatives including a Guacamole-Off, where teams compete to see who can make the tastiest guacamole.
The company also boosts team spirit and bonding by celebrating personal milestones like work anniversaries and birthdays and coaxing employees to volunteer in the community.
Slack’s organizational culture puts people first. The company expects people to do their best work and go home to their lives afterward.
Unlike other companies where working overtime is encouraged or even mandated, Slack does not expect its employees to work past their regular hours. In fact, Slack forbids workers to use the Slack app on weekends or after 6 PM on a weekday.
Slack embraces honest and open communication at all levels of the company. This way, everyone knows what’s happening and can contribute ideas or solutions to tackle issues and help the brand achieve its purpose.
The company runs a Slack for Good initiative that gives people from underrepresented backgrounds access to opportunities in technology.
Additionally, Slack has woven community service into its culture to encourage more employees to organize and participate in activities within their communities.
Employees who want to volunteer for community programs or activities can take paid time off to do so.
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Another example of organizational culture worth emulating is Airbnb. The hospitality company has built a nurturing work environment that thrives on radical open and transparent communication.
The company strives to ensure that all news and happenings in the company are shared internally before they are made public. At the end of every leadership meeting, employees will receive notes on all the points that were discussed within 24 hours.
At Airbnb, workers are charged with taking ownership of their role responsibilities. The company helps everyone feel included and creates room to freely discuss all kinds of topics and issues.
Airbnb has a specialized department known as the ground control team that is responsible for hosting company-wide conferences, annual vacations, and other events to keep employee engagement up and foster integration.
The team also ensures that every employee gets recognition for their performance, contributions, and wins, whether small or big.
GTreasury is a software-as-a-service risk and digital treasury management platform that helps companies streamline their processes and strategically optimize their treasury functions.
To achieve its goals, GTreasury has built a culture that places a strong emphasis on over-communication and continuous feedback. By constantly sharing information, thoughts, and opinions, the company believes that everyone will be kept in the loop and all voices will be heard and welcomed.
GTreasury encourages employees to build strong personal relationships with one another. It fosters team bonding by organizing a host of company events such as birthday, holiday, and wedding celebrations, Halloween hackathons, charity chili cook-offs, and more.
GTreasury’s culture promotes accountability and collaboration. Teams are expected to assist other teams to complete projects or provide solutions to problems so they can all succeed together.
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16. Kin + Carta
Kin + Carta is a software engineering company that helps Fortune 500 firms devise and adopt digital solutions to critical problems so they can grab new market opportunities.
The secret to the company’s growth can be traced back to how dedicated it is to developing strategies to advance employee skills and improve its culture.
The powers that be at Kin + Carta understand that people are an organization’s most important asset, so the company constantly invests in its teams.
Employees are given a budget of $5000 annually for personal development to help them learn new things, acquire in-demand skills, and advance their careers.
Whenever someone new joins Kin + Carta, they are assigned their own personal team buddy who will mentor, train, and support them during the time they spend at the company.
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As a company that enables other businesses to effectively manage the lifecycle of their employees, it’s no surprise that Hireology has built an inspirational organizational culture.
It practices a hybrid work system that supports both office and remote work and ensures all employees feel included and valued regardless of where they’re working from. Hireology provides training for remote workers to empower them to effectively telecommute.
Hireology’s culture preaches the importance of communication and empathy in establishing productive working relationships. From time to time, employees are asked to engage in empathy exercises.
These exercises essentially involve swapping jobs with a different employee to get a sense of what their job is like and the challenges they face in the course of carrying out their duties.
Twice a year, Hireology hosts in-person treats so that remote and office workers can interact face-to-face and get to know their teammates on a human level.
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The outdoor gear and clothing brand, REI is another fine example of organizations that have successfully built a thriving and admirable culture.
REI considers employees to be the life force behind the brand and its culture emphasizes how much it values the people behind the company’s goals and achievements.
REI is committed to empowering both customers and employees to explore the outdoors and take care of the environment. One of the ways it does this is by awarding “challenge grants” to employees.
To receive a grant and win the accompanying reward—free equipment—workers have to submit a pitch for a challenging outdoor adventure. To foster transparency, REI encourages employees to participate in town hall sessions or submit questions anonymously if they prefer.
REI also gives employees “Yay Days”, alongside unlimited paid time off. Workers can take yay days to work on personal projects or just spend time outdoors.
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19. Warby Parker
The prescription eyewear specialist is not only known for making and selling affordable glasses. Warby Parker has also made a name for itself in the organizational culture arena for building an environment that workers feel happy, welcome, and motivated to do their best work in.
Warby Parker takes employee feedback and input seriously, it always seeks their take in shaping the company values and arriving at decisions.
The company has implemented a variety of initiatives to help members of staff bond and work comfortably with each other including randomly picking employees and sending them out to grab lunch together.
Additionally, Warby Parker reinforces its positive workplace environment by providing free meals and organizing fun programs and events to give employees something to excitedly anticipate.
Squarespace is another shining organizational culture example. Since its inception, the company has been regularly rated as one of the best places to work in New York City.
The high-growth startup embraces an open, flat, and creative atmosphere that empowers every employee to take ownership of tasks and diligently get their work done.
Squarespace’s flat structure means that the company has very few levels or tiers standing between employees and management. All employees practically have the same degree of power, authority, and authority.
The company also offers great employee perks like flexible vacation time, free meals, relaxation spaces, stocked kitchens, monthly celebrations, and 100% health insurance coverage.
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The best company cultures support employee happiness and satisfaction by making workers feel safe, valued, and supported in their personal and professional lives.
These companies have taken great strides to create environments that people want and love to work in. By emulating their efforts, you can transform your organizational culture for the better.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.