8 Types of Culture in the Workplace


8 Types of Culture in the Workplace

Employees are greatly impacted by the internal culture of an organization. Understanding how companies function and live out their values can help you decide where you want to work and what type of culture best suits your personality, skill level and work methods. Many different cultures exist within the workplace and organizations often embody more than one type as they function within a set of values and expectations. In this article, we define organizational culture, describe the types of culture common in companies and offer tips to improve the workplace environment.

Organizational culture is a way to describe the overall environment within a workplace. Organizational culture happens naturally or is strategically planned by upper-level management through various initiatives and attitudes. The culture of an organization can make a big impact on employees and whether they feel comfortable and supported in the workplace.

Workplace culture reflects the values of company leadership and can also shape the interactions and motivations of employees. Organizational culture can impact the success of a business, which is why many companies dedicate time and thought to understanding the way their workplace environment functions and ways to improve their culture.

What factors affect an organizational culture?

Company policy: The organizational practices set up by senior management can impact the overall culture of an organization because they establish the governing principles that employees follow to perform their jobs.

Company mission: Company culture is often formed by a common mission. If a company sets clear goals that staff members believe in, they are more likely to form a specific environment in the workplace based on those objectives.

Company history: An organization’s background can impact the type of culture that’s formed in the workplace. Startup companies usually create a different environment than an established corporate firm.

Leadership: The leadership style of an organization’s management can greatly impact the culture. Leadership sets the tone for an organization’s values and interactions within the workplace.

Motivational tools: How an organization chooses to acknowledge and reward staff can also contribute to the culture. Praise, monetary bonuses or other incentives can affect the cultural environment by increasing enthusiasm and productivity. Motivation can be used to drive success but can also contribute to competition.

Location: The way an organization operates whether in a physical building or as a remote business plays a role in determining the company culture. Metropolitan and rural organizations as well as regions can also differ in their environments both outside and within the workplace, affecting their values and attributes.

Communication: How ideas are communicated within an organization has an impact on the way staff members function within the environment. Transparency and honesty are often big concerns for employees. Organizations who communicate effectively are more likely to have a positive work culture.

What is Company Culture?

Company culture can more simply be described as the shared ethos of an organization. It’s the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they’re doing to get it there. Collectively, these traits represent the personality — or culture — of an organization.

The environment in which they spend that time will largely dictate the quality of an employee’s professional life. If they work for a company with a strong culture that aligns with their own beliefs and attitudes, they’ll be more likely to work hard and remain with the company for the long haul. If, on the other hand, the company’s culture does not reflect their own personal feelings, they’re much more likely to leave — or worse, remain with the company but underperform.

Your core values – Core values are certainly part of your culture, but until you put them into action they’re just words on paper. In fact, core values can negatively impact culture if they aren’t adhered to. Employees will see this as the company paying lip service and failing to live up to its own standards.

Your perks and benefits – Ping pong tables and beer on tap can be great, assuming they represent what your employees really care about, but perks and benefits are not a substitute for strong company culture.

The yardstick by which all candidates should be measured – Hiring for cultural fit has become a hot topic over the past few years, but we’re already seeing companies shift away from this line of thought. Hiring people that align with your culture makes sense on the surface, but too many companies use this “metric” as a crutch. Many companies have pivoted to a “cultural add” model, wherein they look for candidates that align with the most important elements of their culture, but will also bring their own unique traits to the table.

A successful company culture is one that is bought into by everyone from the newest intern to the CEO. It’s living and breathing your core values. The job of the company is to make sure that every employee understands the expectations and acts accordingly. A truly great company culture is one that inherently promotes curiosity, respect, teamwork and employee health.

A way to really boost your company’s culture is to put a concerted emphasis on diversity and inclusion. In simplified terms, diversity and inclusion in the workplace is making a group of individuals, with completely different backgrounds and experiences, feel safe and accepted in expressing their uniqueness while at work. Allowing employees to express their differences, learn from each other and feel safe while doing it creates a strong cultural bond that breeds employee happiness and productivity.

company culture benefits

Building a strong company culture should be at the forefront of every company agenda.

Importance of Company Culture

66% of job seekers consider a company’s culture and values the most important factor when considering career opportunities (source). Looking to recruit top talent? Your company culture had better be a priority.

Companies that actively manage their culture boast 40% higher employee retention (source). Culture is about more than attracting talent. It also plays a huge role in retaining your top performers.

Only 28% of executives say they understand their organization’s culture (source). Candidates care about culture. Employees care about culture. Isn’t it time your executives get serious about the topic?

Organizations with strong cultures boast 72% higher employee engagement rates than those with weak cultures (source). Company culture influences employee engagement, which has a direct impact on performance.

Highly engaged teams outperform their peers by 10% in customer ratings, 21% in productivity and 22% in profitability (source). Simply put, engaged workers are productive workers, and productive workers are profitable workers.

Unfortunately, only 13% of employees identify as being engaged with their work (source). It turns out that very few companies are benefiting from all of those perks associated with a highly engaged workforce.

company culture strategies

There are a number of strategies companies can take to build a better company culture.