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A Survey Of The “Best” Company Cultures, And What Makes Them Special

Ask any manager or business owner about culture and what makes a great one, and most people will give you similar answers. It seems that just about everyone knows what a great company culture is, and can usually recognize companies that have it on sight, but few know how to actually build one in their own organizations.

To that end, we’ve identified a handful of companies with outstanding corporate cultures, then took it a step further and identified what, exactly about those company cultures makes them so great, and by extension, such amazing places to work.

Armed with that information, it should be possible to replicate the success of these cultural giants in your own company.

Note that there are many different roads to a great company culture. You certainly don’t need to try to implement every item on this list. Instead, use this article to guide your thinking. By seeing exactly what works for companies that have figured it out, you’ll be able to tweak those ideas for use in your own business.

Let’s jump right in and take a closer look:

Google

No list of companies with amazing cultures would be complete without including Google in the list. In many ways, Google blazed the trail, and even to this day, everybody else is still playing catch up.

There’s no “one thing” that Google got right, but rather, a whole raft of things that, when considered together, make Google an amazing place to work.

First, there are no rigid “fiefdoms” of power inside the company. Teams are very porous and communication between different functional areas of the company.

When you combine that with the perks everyone talks about like free catered lunches, snacks aplenty, a dog-friendly environment, and the now famous “Google Bump,” you get a company with an almost unbeatable culture.

If you haven’t heard of the “Google Bump,” it works like this: The chairs and tables in the cafeteria are intentionally placed too close together so that you’re bound to bump into someone when you go to take your seat. That fosters a conversation with someone new, which creates a more friendly working environment and helps develop and maintain connections that cut across traditional boundaries.

Zappos

You may not have even heard of Zappos before. If not, they sell shoes online, but what they’re really known for is exceptional customer service and being consistently ranked as one of the best places in the country to work.

The secret to their success is that they put culture first. Prospective employees have to make it through two interviews: One where their resume will be evaluated, and a second one to ensure they’re a proper “fit” for the company. Zappos’ CEO admits to passing on a number of perfectly qualified (and in some cases, overqualified) candidates, simply because they weren’t a good fit for the company’s established culture.

Facebook

Like Google, Facebook is famous for its amazing company culture. After all, who wouldn’t want to work at a place that does your laundry for you?

But Facebook’s culture is about more than perks like that. The company expects a lot from their employees, but also gives them almost complete autonomy. That freedom has paid huge dividends for Facebook, and will likely continue to do so for decades to come. It’s just a winning strategy.

Netflix

The thing that makes Netflix such an amazing place to work is simply that they treat their employees like adults, and they are careful to only hire employees who put company interests ahead of their own.

There are no set work schedules, an unlimited vacation policy, and the company’s expense policy is just five words long. What they discovered was that if you treat your employees like adults, they’ll act like adults.

And finally…

The Great Little Box Company

This is another company you’ve probably never heard of, but they consistently rank as one of the best places to work in Canada.

The secret to their success is that they make employees feel like they’re part of something bigger, and they do that by offering cash rewards to any employee who dreams up a way to save the company money.

It works, not only to improve employee morale and retention, but over the years, their employees have come up with amazing ways the company can save money (and have been well compensated for doing so).

Granted, not all of these ideas will be applicable or practical for you to implement in your company, but the simple truth is, corporate culture doesn’t happen by accident. Creating it takes will and dedication. That starts by deciding what you want your company to be, and then nurturing the growth of the kind of culture that will make it so.

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