Creating a company culture that works is not an easy job. Yet it is absolutely necessary because culture can make or break a business.
Winning company culture
According to a Bain & Company study on how to build a winning culture, “a company’s key to success is in its heart and soul.” The primary objective of a well-designed company culture is to attract and retain engaged and talented employees.
You can have an exceptional business plan and an outstanding product, but if your team is not devoted and motivated to go the extra mile, your chances of success are very slim.
Lyle Potgieter, CEO of PeopleStreme, explains in an interview with Open Colleges, that employee engagement “is not the same as employee happiness or employee satisfaction – it goes deeper.” Engaged employees will not only work longer hours when necessary, but they will also be your brand advocates. Potgieter suggests “it actually connects the employee, not just to the organization, but to further their job role or their career destination.”
Tech companies are pioneers in creating winning company cultures. Google and Facebook are probably the best-known examples. However, when you dive deeper, you find the trend that started in Silicon Valley is now worldwide.
Startups are taking note of the importance of engaged employees and seeing fruitful results. These three companies inspire business leaders and entrepreneurs to create a winning company culture:
Hubspot has a culture code under the mantra “creating a company we love.” They define it as “a work in process” in an internal company slide deck. Yet, one of their main values is transparency, and this is exemplified by the very fact that they decided to share it with the world.
Here are some remarkable takeaways:
Culture happens whether you plan it or not as all companies have a culture. So why not create a culture we love?
Culture doesn’t just help attract amazing people; it amplifies their abilities and helps them do their best work.
Our best people don’t just fit our culture they further it.
Some brilliant employee perks that Hubspot doles out include:
Unlimited free books. Request a book, and it magically shows up in your Amazon Kindle account.
Unlimited free meals program. Take someone smart for a meal and learn something. You can expense it without any approval needed, all you have to do is use good judgment.
Healthy @Hubspot initiative. It includes standing desks, healthy snacks, fitness room and spontaneous laughter.
Since Netflix CEO Reed Hastings created the “Netflix Culture Deck” in 2009, it has become a reference for tech company culture. It is a very simple, but genius, deck that acts as a reference guide to implement a company culture of freedom and responsibility.
Here’s a look at the highlights:
A great workplace is stunning colleagues. So at Netflix they only hire and keep people you respect and learn from.
Managers provide the context, instead of control, in an environment where good judgment is highly valued.
Managers use the keeper test: which of my people, if they told me they were leaving in two months for a similar job at a peer company, would I fight hard to keep at Netflix?
Talented employees get top of the market compensation, which doesn’t depend on Netflix success.
If there isn’t a 9-5 day policy, why should there be a vacation policy? The focus is on what people get done and not on how many hours or days they work.
Spotify is another excellent example of a brilliant engineering culture. Kevin Goldsmith, CTO and Director of Engineering for the music streaming company three years and counting, gave a talk at the BBC Develop Conference in London in 2013, where he explained—in great detail—how to create a strong company culture.
Using Spotify examples, he explained how to protect it if you already have one and how to fix it if you are missing one. Here are a few main takeaways:
“You are the average of the five people you spend more time with.” — Jim Rohn
“Culture enables success, but it does not cause success.” — Patty McCord
Six things make a good engineering culture: stuff gets done, it gets done well, people are happy, leaders provide direction and guidance and get out of the way, success is celebrated, and failure is used as a way to learn.
This article has been edited.
Maria Onzain is a content marketing expert and part-time entrepreneur. She is passionate about all things digital and when she’s not writing about startups, entrepreneurship, and content marketing strategy, she is working on her online project about travel and food. Connect with @mariaonzain on Twitter.