4 Positive Examples of Company Culture

See How You Can Apply Them in Your Small Business

Getty-Happy-Workers-457982967.jpg
••• Sam Edwards/Calaimage/Getty Images

Celebrating the birthday of a colleague is part of the fiber of a positive example of company culture.

Businesses often talk about company culture and cultural fit. When they do, companies like Zappos, with their policy of Holocracy, come up.

Or, people cite Google with their free food on campus, perks that enable employees to practically live at work, and time.

But, when you have 10 employees or are just barely meeting payroll, you may not find these cultures particularly inspirational. So, what can a smaller business learn from these famous company cultures?

Zappos’ Culture Empowers Employees

Holocracy is a predefined set of rules and processes, checks and balances, and guidelines that an organization can use to help employees’ work become self-managed and self-organized

Zappos is famous for Holocracy and the ability of customers to return shoes for a full year after purchase. While shoe returns are easy to understand, Holocracy seems mysterious. Zappos sees it as self-governing and “knowing what you are responsible for, and having the freedom to meet those expectations however you think is best.”

What your small business can learn:

  • While customers are not always right, you can certainly treat your customer right.
  • Strive to create an empowering culture where employees can make their own decisions about how to serve customers, based on the circumstances of the problem at hand.
  • The self-governing employee and customer service go hand in hand.

If your salespeople must check in with you for every decision, your customer service will suffer and your employees will feel micro-managed.

Google Provides a Culture That Values Flexibility

Google is another company that sits comfortably at the top of the list for company culture. They have perks and privileges that most companies (and employees) just dream about having. But, a key point of their culture is flexibility. This is not just flexibility in work schedules, but the flexibility for employees to be creative and try new ideas out.

What your small business can learn:

  • Employees differ widely in their home lives, ideas, and even in their personal body clocks.
  • Not everyone works best when they get to the office at 8:05 am and takes lunch at precisely 12:15 pm. A culture that provides flexibility will serve you well.
  • While your business has specific goals and specific services, you need the creative thoughts of all your employees to move forward successfully.
  • Disruption in business happens all the time, and you need to become prepared.
  • Listen to your employees and allow them the flexibility they need to help your business move forward.

    Wegmans Provides an Employee Supportive Culture

    If you live in the east and have visited a Wegmans, you’ll understand that any company that can make food that good and customer service that friendly must have a great culture. That fact is reflected in their permanent spot on the Fortune Top 100 Companies to Work for list. In 16 of the 22 years, it has existed, they’ve been ranked in the top 10.

    What makes their culture great? Many factors add value, but one of the most important is that they promote from within. If you start out pushing carts as a teenager, you may well work your way up to store manager. Opportunity and the chance for career development are crucial to recruit and retain employees.

    What your small business can learn:

    • Train, develop, and support your people.
    • If you find a person with potential, help them realize that potential. Wegmans offers scholarships to their employees to help them further their education and increase value to the company.
    • Support employees attendance at conferences, provide some financial help with tuition assistance, give them the time to take an online class or pay for a certification credential.
    • Employees that are learning and growing will value their positions and their employer.

    Edward Jones Offers an Inclusive Culture

    While a financial services firm might seem stuffy and not an organization you want to emulate, they have a culture of accepting feedback. Note, this is different than giving feedback to employees. They hire an outside firm to check with their clients and then provide that feedback.

    How does this help the internal culture? Well, this feedback can come without politics and favoritism that often happens in businesses. They get real, clear answers to how things are going. That allows rewards on merits and not on preconceived notions.

    What your small business can learn:

    • How are you doing? Ask your customers. Not only is this good for your employees, but it’s good for the business as a whole.
    • If your clients know that you will take feedback seriously and make changes to improve to meet their needs, you’ll build loyal clients.
    • When you want to build a good company culture, don’t be intimidated by the big businesses that you compete against. Instead, look at what they do, the positive examples of company culture that make them an employer of choice.
    • Don’t worry about the flashy trappings of success, but look at the factors that really make a difference.
    • Although, it never hurts to throw in a free lunch or a company sponsored event here and there for your employees.
    Article Table of Contents Skip to section