29 Aug Workplace culture and 4 companies with the best
One of the many benefits that arises from being leadership consultants and executive coaches is the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of individuals and organisations. From entrepreneurs kicking off their ventures to senior managers leading large and complex businesses, and everything in between. The conversations and insights from these diverse groups are invaluable. A key point of conversation in almost every case is on workplace culture.
Time and time again workplace culture has been proven to be a key driver in productivity and organisational success. If you aren’t sold on this fact, think about this for a second. Research has found that companies with a strong workplace culture experience approximately 400% greater growth than those that do not.
We’ve all heard the dreadful tales of the toxic working environment at organisations like Fox News, where harassment scandals seem to be revealed every month. However, there are also many examples of organisations with tremendous workplace cultures. With that in mind, and in the spirit of sharing some positivity, here are examples of four companies with a tremendous workplace culture!
Twitter and it’s workplace culture of rooftop meetings and yoga classes
Modern technology companies, particularly those headquartered in the Californian bubble it seems, have a reputation for positive workplace cultures. With a focus on innovative and out-of-the-box thinking, leaders of these organisations are huge fans of promoting unconventional activities that are centered around improving overall employee well-being. Twitter is no different.
When you think business meetings, what immediately comes to mind? Conference rooms? Closed doors? A generally serious setting? That’s not the case with Twitter. With access to the beautiful skies of San Francisco, Twitter employees constantly engage in rooftop meetings, with free meals – in addition to access to complementary fitness/health-related activities like yoga.
Twitter’s approach isn’t a revolutionary concept – it’s actually very simple. Hire people who are great at what they do, and love what they do, and surround them with facilities and opportunities that provide them with the space to be comfortable and grow, and harness their skills, energy and enthusiasm.
Zappo’s practice of prioritising cultural fit during the hiring process
Many organisations are placing greater emphasis on cultural fit during the hiring process in order to ensure two very important elements – retention and productivity. Employees who ‘fit in’ are more likely to enjoy their work, thereby ensuring greater productivity while lowering the likelihood of them leaving. Zappo’s practice is to ensure cultural fit as the primary qualifier for recruiting new employees.
The company takes this approach even further by offering new employees $2,000 to quit after the first week of training if they decide the job isn’t for them. While this may seem odd to begin with, when you think about it, the approach works in favour of both parties.
Zappo’s leadership also allocates a significant portion of its budget to employee team-building initiatives and culture enhancement/promotion programs.
Google’s workplace culture
It would feel like a mistake to leave Google out of this list, given that the company has virtually epitomised the meaning of positive workplace culture since its inception. From a very open culture, where the organisation’s highest executives are accessible and accountable to all layers of the organisation, to dog-friendly work environments in an effort to assist employees better cope with workplace stress, to gyms and great pay (an obvious benefit), Google really takes the cake on this front.
However, the reason I’ve included Google on this list has more to do with how the company has continued to adjust and evolve in relation to its growing community of employees. Despite its vastness, Google has managed to maintain a great deal of its start-up identity during its meteoric rise to big company status.
Adobe’s emphasis on coaching and taking risks
While giving employees stock options isn’t necessarily a differentiating phenomenon, Adobe provides this and emphasises it further by providing organisational coaching and coordinating regular training sessions and workshops centered on building a culture that promotes risk taking without fear of penalty.
Additionally, instead of setting up tests, KPIs and ratings to evaluate performance, Adobe allows employees to set their own benchmarks and goals – allowing them to determine their own path to improved productivity. The result of this approach is that employees have greater accountability and take more ownership of their work. Few things will go wrong when you have an energised and motivated workforce that comprises people who know they matter.
Many of us have worked in organisations where the culture has left a lot to be desired. Conversely, some of us have had the privilege to experience a positive workplace culture, where the leadership was instrumental in ensuring ‘the way we act around here’ was conducive to a healthy and constructive environment, and where productivity flourished as a result. So palpable is the power of an organisation’s culture that one can often feel it within seconds of entering the premises. It is every leader’s role to work hard to establish and maintain an appropriate culture – but this is not confined to the CEO. Responsibility for culture setting flows down to each layer, and to each leader at every level.
Hopefully, this blog has provided good insights to help you move your organisation in the right direction. For more information on leadership development, irrespective of the type or size of your organisation, feel free to visit our website or contact us and one of our representatives will be in touch!