What Does a Good Company Culture Feel Like?

When you think of ‘company culture’, what springs to mind? Breakout rooms with bean bags, pool tables and free M&Ms? The Googleplex? Or is it a more serious thing? A workplace where being heard, respected and valued are more important than Friday arvo drinks and nibbles? Humanising business is where it’s at. All the numbers in the world won’t mean squat if your people don’t give a toss about whether or not the business is achieving financial success.

Think how you feel when you’re overlooked for a promotion or when you toddle past a meeting room and it falls silent once you’re seen. It’s a horrible feeling! Same goes for ‘water cooler gossip’, cubicle cattishness and project one-upmanship.

So what makes a good company culture?

Just for starters, it’s …

  • Honourable values – People obviously prefer to work for companies that pay their workforce properly, don’t rip off customers, reward hard work, provide a safe environment, understand the importance of family and contribute to making society a little better. Metaphorically stomping on people’s heads doesn’t do any company any PR favours!
  • Employees feel part of a team – From the top down, everyone matters. Companies that have an inclusion culture care about what everyone thinks, from the CEO to the mail room kid. Inviting everyone to the Christmas party, instead of just the executives, and showing appreciation for all contributions to the business’s smooth running are just two ways to make sure everyone cares – for each other and the company’s success.
  • Toxins are addressed quickly – For the good of the team, ‘bad apples’ have to be quarantined asap. One disenchanted employee can infect a whole organisation if their attitude is nasty enough. A good company culture is one that identifies these bad apples and works to either remove or remediate.
  • Teams are equipped to do their best – Providing the right environment, tools, equipment, time, resources and freedom to perform at their best is the way to extract maximum productivity and brilliance from the team. Skimping on any one of these dooms projects to failure and can even lead to team mutiny.

Above all, encouraging all team members to embrace and build on the company culture is key to success. A bit like “the family who prays together, stays together”, in business it’s more like “the team that gives a damn about the company’s success, will be key to its success”. It doesn’t rhyme, it’s not particularly sexy but it makes sense, doesn’t it?

So share with us – what’s the best company culture you’ve worked in? What did they do that made you jump out of bed every day?

Written by Jackie Rahilly.

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