Corporate Culture 101

People often ask me what makes a good culture.  For some, it may be beer in the company fridge, for others it may be having a lot of processes in place for everyday activities.  Everyone has different components that they like to see in a culture.  One company’s idea of a fun celebration may be your idea of a nightmare.

Corporate Culture 101

Like people, companies have their own personalities.  If you see a company do something and you think that it’s not for you, that’s a good thing!  It means you know what qualities you dislike in a company.  If you are stalking a company page for open positions harder than your ex’s Facebook page, it’s also a good thing too.  It means you know what you like in a company culture.  It’s important for companies to own the type of culture they have and promote it to attract candidates that have similar values.

Company cultures are unique, but company’s that have great culture all have similar key attributes.  To me having values, an inspiring vision, living your values in everything you do, and giving back to the community is what separates the good companies from the great companies.

With values, your people have a clear sense of the direction in which to make daily decisions on the company’s behalf.  Values can be used in lieu of policies.  Think of them as the positive way of stating your policies.  Most great companies have about 5-10 guiding values that their people live and breathe.   How do they do that?  Great companies know how to create positivity around their values.    By tying celebrations, nominations and recognition, companies put their values on center stage.  Then, they reward and honor people that have the same fastidiousness surrounding the values.

An inspiring vision or purpose statement is another cornerstone of having great culture.  A vision helps people know the long -term goal of the company.  Having a vision that’s a crazy, big goal is motivating to people.  It lets them know why they are coming to work and what they are working to achieve.  Most people work at company’s to be a part of something greater than themselves.  Your vision should communicate the level of greatness you are looking to achieve.

Lastly, giving back to the community is a component of a great corporate culture.  There’s a few ways to do it.  First, you can go out physically help people in the community.  Another way is to offer your people Volunteer Time Off.  This is a way to give people flexibility to support a cause they are interested in.  Another option is to offer grants.  Companies with great cultures set up grants their people can apply for to get money to give to a charity, start a charity, or get creative with their philanthropy.  Another grant option would be to have your team award people in the community with a grant to help them foster their goals.  No matter what you choose to do, giving back is a great feeling.  It’s a great thing to do to bring your team together, get mojo when you’re company is going through a funk, and it creates a culture that fosters supporting each other.

At the end of the day, some people are just not going to think getting hit in the head with a Nerf ball is a great place to work and that is ok!  There are plenty of fish in the corporate culture sea.  Figure out what types of cultures you are attracted to, make sure they have these key cultural components, and then get your application on!

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Stephanie Krieg

Stephanie Krieg aka HRChick is the Founder of HR Culture Club. She is a corporate culture consultant, who makes work fun while gettin' sh*t done. In her spare time, she enjoys club hopping, bottle popping, and online shopping. Connect with Stephanie.

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  1. Kyle Jones says


    In the last paragraph you said: Figure out what types of cultures you are attracted to, make sure they have these key cultural components, and then get your application on!

    Great advice! It is too often that we find ourselves conforming to the norm and the expected – or the available – when looking for jobs.


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