Company culture is the personality of an organization. Comprised of shared beliefs and values, it defines a company’s unique working environment. Today’s workers value respect, a sense of purpose, and a great team when looking for an employer.

To appeal to a modern workforce, employers must develop an engaging company culture that inspires employee growth and success. Building a culture that focuses on modern values is pivotal to recruiting and retaining the best talent.

Why is Company Culture Important?

“Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing.”—Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot

Your company culture is how you brand your business to talented workers—it’s what makes them want to work for you. In order to have the best team of employees, you need a strong culture that attracts them. HubSpot recruits with its culture in mind to find workers that will fit in well with the company.

Company culture is also important for:

  • Employee retention and satisfaction
  • Productivity and quality of work
  • Reputation
  • Attracting and retaining partners and customers

Top employers stay at the forefront of recruitment, management, and innovation with these important aspects of modern company culture.

Developing Company Values

“Company Culture is the product of a company’s values, expectations and environment.”—Courtney Chapman, Rubicon Project

Many of the most successful companies have a set of defining values that serve as the mantra for how employees approach their work. These values are the cornerstone of company culture and connect employees and executives under a unified vision.

From the WWF’s core values of results, integrity, and respect, to Coca Cola’s values of leadership, passion, diversity, and collaboration, each business chooses these principles based on its brand, audience, employees, and goals for the future.

Identifying your company values can help to recruit people who share those same values and guide existing employees throughout their careers.

1. Freedom and Responsibility

“Responsible people thrive on freedom and are worthy of freedom.”—Netflix Culture Slide Deck

Netflix made history (and turned a few heads) with its company culture. From “acting in Netflix’s best interests” as a corporate expense policy, to “adequate performance gets a generous severance package” as its motto for excellence, Netflix has built its identity around high performance.

While its company culture slide deck may seem over the top to some, Netflix managers feel that it’s important to build a strong team, even if that means turning some people off with its direct, no-nonsense approach.

“Hire great people and give them the freedom to be awesome.”—Andrew Mason, Groupon

By steering employees in the direction you want to go, while still giving them freedom to get a project done their way, employees perform at higher levels and feel respected as individuals.

Netflix is a big proponent of treating its employees like adults and giving them autonomy. For example, Netflix has no formal policy for tracking vacation days or hours. It is more concerned with results, not hours worked, which is why employees have the freedom to create their own schedules.

2. Work-Life Balance

“Work hard, play hard.”—

When determining which job to apply for, employees often think about how it will influence their personal lives. Millennials, in particular, desire employment with a business that encourages a healthy work-life balance.

Having a work-life balance means that an employer understands you have a life outside of work and helps to promote the integration of both worlds.

Google is a model employer for work-life balance. It offers employees on-site child care, gym memberships, and even a pet-friendly work environment. Because Google cares so much about employee well-being, its workers are more satisfied, healthier, and less prone to burnout.

Other ways to encourage work-life balance are to provide flexible work hours, telecommunication opportunities, transportation passes, and assistance with relocation.

3. Teamwork

“As valuable as we are as individuals, we are exponentially more valuable when aligned and working together.”—LinkedIn Culture Slide Deck

Workers spend a great deal of their time at work, and, consequently, with their co-workers. Through collaboration, staff can work towards a common goal, and enjoy the creative benefits and ideas that come from cooperation, brainstorming, and feedback.

Working together is one of the major keys to success and can make or break a workplace. A strong team often produces quality work quickly, and has the added benefit of team members learning from each other.

4. Self-Improvement and Growth

“Diversification and globalization are the keys to the future.”—Fujio Mitarai, Canon

Another shared value among modern employers is diversity. Diversity means offering equal employment to everyone, regardless of gender, race, political views, religion, and more. Apple embodies this value by attributing its innovation to the diversity of its team. Discovery Communications shares a similar view and thinks of diversity as a competitive advantage in a global market.

In addition to innovative thinking and a competitive advantage, workplace diversity and inclusion also provides businesses with insight into different cultures through an array of talent.

6. Social Responsibility

“Make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, has a meaningful impact and is contributing to the good of society.”—Larry Page, Google

Company culture can shape a business’s reputation. Those that are involved in giving back to the community, donating to non-profits, and volunteering can have a positive impact on society.

Many businesses participate in philanthropy to some extent, whether it’s funding a cause, starting a foundation, or running events and campaigns that support other organizations.

Recognized for its “one-for-one” model, TOMs is a leader in using its profits from each purchase to help provide shoes, water, sight, and more to people in need. This model has been successful for TOMs and has enhanced its reputation among consumers as a charitable company they can feel good about supporting.

Getting involved with a charity, donating a portion of your profits, or even volunteering as a business group are all ways to use your business as a force for good. In turn, a company who gives back will naturally fuel a culture of giving and support, and instill a deep sense of purpose and social responsibility within its employees.

7. Transparency

“Transparency starts as a mindset change.”—Kevan Lee, Buffer

Another important aspect of an effective company culture is honesty and authenticity. If the business has a top-down approach of communicating with its employees regularly and openly, a culture of transparency seeps through the organization.

Transparency can be more than releasing financial information about your business. A transparent business actively involves employees in decision making, encourages open communication and mutual respect, and builds trust.

Your Culture is Your Brand

A company’s culture is unique to its organization and its employees. It defines the work environment, and gives direction and guidance to all levels of employees.

With a new generation of workers raised in the digital age, employment is rapidly evolving to accommodate modern values. The millennial worker wants a culture of flexibility, transparency, freedom, teamwork, work-life balance, growth, social responsibility, and diversity.

Appealing to these cornerstone values will help businesses recruit the best and brightest workers. To keep the culture alive and nurtured, a company should look to its employees to refine the workplace culture and make it the best it can be.

What is your workplace culture like? What are your values?

Posted by Kristy DeSmit

Kristy is a blogger, Twitter enthusiast, and company legalese interpreter.