There are a few different ways to succeed as a business, and just as many types of company culture. Traditionally, companies have focused their efforts on offering high-quality products or excellent customer service. But perhaps what truly gives an organization its capacity to thrive are two things: its strategy (its destination and plan for getting there), and the company culture that drives it (its fuel).
Company culture (or corporate culture), can be defined as the values, beliefs, and group norms that guide a workforce in its behaviours, has become a hot topic among business leaders in recent years as a measure of company success. In a research paper on corporate culture, 92% of surveyed companies agreed that culture is a major factor in a firm’s value.
Various research shows that companies with strong company cultures and high employee engagement experience higher profitability, better productivity, earn great reputations, and have ease attracting the best talent in the market.
For those reasons, business leaders have been doing their best to implement employee reward and recognition programs as part of their culture to get the very most out of their employees.
But what makes a “strong company culture”?
It's not one size fits all. If you’ve worked in a couple of different companies through the course of your career, you’ve probably experienced, firsthand, how every culture is wildly different. In a Harvard Business Review study, “The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture”, culture experts Boris Groysberg, Jeremiah Lee, Jesse Price, and J. Yo-Jud Cheng made their efforts to define the 8 of the most common corporate cultures based on two factors placed along an axis: how people interact, and how they respond to change.
You can watch The 8 Types of Company Culture explainer video here.
Let’s get into the characteristics of these 8 styles of corporate cultures to find out which one sounds the most like your organization. Bear in mind that you might identify with more than one of these culture types since cultures can often be a mix. Most of the time, you’ll find you identify strongly with one primary culture as well as one secondary culture.
Caring corporate cultures are warm working environments that prioritize mutual trust, respect, and positive relationships within the company. In the Harvard study, 63% of companies in the sample ranked themselves as having this cultural style as their first or second culture type. A perfect example of this type of culture can be found in Walt Disney Company.
Your company might have a caring culture if:
The purpose culture is an idealistic one. 9% of companies in the HBR identified with this culture type. Companies with a purpose culture care about the role their organization plays in the world. Whole Foods is an example of a company that reflects and purpose culture.
Your company might have a purpose culture if:
The order culture is typical in traditional industries that prefer structure. 15% of companies in the HBR belong to this style. An example of a company with this culture style would be the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). This makes sense because their whole business is about following the rules.
Your company might have an order culture if:
In a learning corporate culture, leaders expect employees to be curious, innovative, open-minded and creative. 7% of organizations in the HBR classified themselves as having this culture. An example of a culture with a learning culture is Tesla.
Your company might have an order culture if:
What’s the point of doing anything if you can’t enjoy it? This is the attitude of companies with an enjoyment culture. Only 2% of companies in the HBR study identified with this style. These cultures value independence and flexibility. Zappos reflects an enjoyment culture, in fact, one of its core values is to “create fun and a little weirdness”.
Your company might have an enjoyment culture if:
Unlike the enjoyment culture, the results culture is more about the achievement than the process of getting there. Companies with this corporate culture style take their goals very seriously and measure their success by meeting those goals. 89% of companies identified with this style in the HBR study. An example of a company with a results culture style is GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Your company might have a results culture if:
Companies with an authority culture have very confident leadership that are sure of themselves and their direction. 4% of companies in the HBR study identified with this style. A good example of a company that represents this style is Huawei.
Your company might have an authority culture if:
Simply put, companies with safety cultures put safety as their top priority. They are extremely careful with everything they do. 8% of companies in the HBR study identified with this culture style. An example of a company that embodies this style is Lloyd’s of London.
Your company might have a safety culture if:
Now you have a better idea of which type of company culture your organization falls into, your next step is to make sure you’re doing the right things to support it.
Implementing employee rewards & recognition programs is a great way to improve productivity and employee engagement no matter which corporate culture you’re in. You just need to decide which behaviours or accomplishments you want to be rewarding and how you want to roll out those rewards.
We encourage you to read up on what to look for in a corporate rewards program and how rewarding employees can be made easy with software.