Organizational culture examples isn't something you build by accident. It takes planning, commitment, creativity, and a willingness to prioritize people over profits. It's not easy, but it pays dividends in the long run, especially when it comes to employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention.
Company culture is more than ping-pong tables and free SWAG. It's a collection of your values, behaviors, people, and actions. It's what your company does—not just what it says.
Need some inspiration for building your own culture? Below, we'll explore some of the leading organizational culture examples from modern-day businesses that are getting it right. These companies talk the talk and walk the walk, and their employees are proud to work there.
First, let's get on the same about what organizational culture is (and isn't), why it matters, and give organizational culture examples we see commonly today.
What is Company Culture: Organizational Culture Examples
Organizational culture defines who your business is, what it cares about, and how you operate. You could think of it as a list of actionable traits, such as the following:
- People first
Your company culture isn't just a list of attributes like these on your website's culture page, though. It has to be what your organization believes and practices. Furthermore, it has to be who your employees are.
For example, it doesn't matter if your company culture says it promotes happiness if your staff is generally disgruntled. You have to hire and train for these qualities, and it's never an overnight transformation.
Benefits and perks don't create a company culture, but they are usually a natural extension. A company that puts families and health first would intrinsically want to provide generous paid time off (PTO), gym perks, and mental health days.
Why Organizational Culture Matters
Organizational culture can make or break your business. Adopt the right culture, and you'll be ready to overcome challenges and reach new heights. Adopt the wrong culture, and you'll crawl toward your goals without making the world any better.
“Companies clearly care about revenue and their people but are likely not looking at culture as a way to grow both," said Erica O’Malley, Grant Thornton partner, Organizational Strategy. “Our study shows that, in fact, investing in culture can help companies grow and thrive financially, and keep employees for a longer time period.”
Here are a few of the findings from their study:
- Healthy culture leads to less turnover: Respondents who describe their company's culture as "extremely healthy" are 16% more likely to retain employees for more than 6 years. Around 49% of employees would quit for a lower-paying job with better organizational culture.
- Culture impacts your bottom line: Businesses with healthy cultures are 1.5x more likely to experience revenue growth of 15% or more over 3 years and 2.5x more likely to see significant stock growth over the same timeframe.
- New hires care about culture: Around 77% of employees consider a company's culture before they apply for a job there.
- Employees leave toxic environments: 71% of employees would look for a new job if they noticed their current company's culture begin to deteriorate.
Organizational Culture Examples: Most Popular Types of Organizational Culture
Organizational cultures tend to be unique, but most share a lot in common. That's why it's helpful to categorize these cultures into general types. Experts at Harvard Business Review studied company cultures and ultimately identified these 8 foundational styles:
- Caring: Friendly, collaborative work environments with a focus on mutual trust and relationships. Employees feel loyal, and teamwork makes the dream work.
- Purpose: Tolerant, compassionate places where employees and leaders strive to improve the world through sustainability and global communities.
- Learning: Inventive, open-minded cultures where success is defined by innovation, exploration, and creativity.
- Enjoyment: Lighthearted workplaces that tend to be exciting and playful. No one tends to take themselves too seriously, and everyone does what makes them happy.
- Results: An outcome-oriented culture where top performance is a means to achievement and winning. The culture is united by drive, success, and accomplishment.
- Authority: Competitive work environments where career progression is a priority, and strong leaders unite the employees towards a common goal.
- Safety: Risk-conscious environment where planning, caution, and preparedness help leadership anticipate challenges and protect the company.
- Order: Workplace organized by respect, rules, structure, and share norms. Employees follow time-honored customs and follow procedures as normal.
7 Inspiring Organizational Culture Examples
No organizational culture is perfect, but some have gone above and beyond to build a special workplace. While not every culture or its dynamics will work at your business, we hope this list of organizational culture examples will give you the inspiration you need to build your own.
1. Twilio Puts Employees (and Their Families) First
Twilio has built an inclusive work environment where everyone is welcome, and it shows when 94% of employees say they're proud to tell others they work at Twilio. The tech company has evolved to become a remote-first company with flexible options for employees to work when, where, and how they want.
Twilio cares about more than just its employees, though—they also care about their families. And that's why the company offers benefits like:
- Maternity, paternity, adoption, and family medical care leave
- Funding to help with adoption, fertility treatment, and related expenses
- Generous time off, company breaks, and holidays
- Engaged employee resource groups
- Comprehensive healthcare and mental health programs, including access to therapy and family resources
When you're a Twilion, you feel like the company cares more about your health than your output, which shows in the company's core values and culture.
2. L.L. Bean Lives Its Values
L.L. Bean employees speak for the company's culture and engagement—the outdoor retailer has an unbelievable 3% turnover rate with full-time employees and an 11% turnover for part-time employees. Employees receive generous discounts on gear and apparel, and the company sponsors outdoor excursions like camping, snowshoeing, sea kayaking, and more.
Why? Because the organization knows how valuable it is (physically, mentally, socially, and even spiritually) for people to get outside, they want the same privilege for their employees.
L.L. Bean might be a for-profit retailer, but they prove they're a for-employee company, too. When the business blew 2021 revenue out of the water, they provided employees with a 20% performance bonus of annual pay.
“Every employee is the most important ever in this company," L.L. writes in its culture deck. And you can feel that's true from the leadership and employees' actions.
3. Adobe Encourages and Rewards Creativity
Adobe wants to be on the front end of innovation, and it puts its money where its mouth is with generous rewards for employees. Employees receive patents when they come up with original ideas, and the company recognizes them with bonuses at an annual banquet.
Product releases don't just come and go—individual employees and teams get recognized for their contributions with monetary bonuses, SWAG, and awards.
Beyond career creativity, Adobe also encourages and promotes inclusivity. They connect employees through speed networking events, and they have built a company-wide community for LGBTQ members to socialize.
4. Zappos Embraces Unapologetic Wackiness
Zappos is a culture-first company that believes in who it is more than what it does. At its heart, they sell shoes—but Zappos and its employees do much more than that. They provide top-notch customer experiences with a touch of wow and weirdness.
It's the type of culture that recognizes and rewards employees for sitting on the phone with a customer for 10 hours (yes, it happened) rather than reprimanding them for being "unproductive."
The culture portion of the interview process has the largest weight, as leadership wants to ensure new hires fit the bill before they join the team. Zappos CEO will even offer new hires $2,000 (or more) to quit after their first week if they feel like the job isn't right for them.
5. Walt Disney Makes Things Magical for Employees
Walt Disney has created an exclusive workplace and contagious work environment that breeds kindness. Employees care about each other and like to see one another succeed. It's not just the "Happiest Place on Earth" for visitors—it's the happiest workplace for employees.
Disney creates this atmosphere with a very intentional hiring process and provides benefits like generous discounts at parks, hotels, and merchandise. Employees also get access to Mickey's Retreat, an exclusive place for cast members and their families to relax and socialize.
Walt Disney operates under the principle that if they can exceed employee expectations, employees will exceed customer expectations—and that's where the magic happens.
6. Netflix Focuses on Productivity (Not People in Chairs)
Netflix follows a culture model that most closely represents radical candor—it's essentially being extremely honest while maintaining empathy and compassion. It was the first major studio to require COVID vaccinations for all cast of U.S. productions, but it's also the type of business that cares more about what is accomplished (not how much time is spent at the computer).
Netflix values autonomy and freedom. It trusts employees to do the right thing and gives them the power and flexibility to do it. For example, Netflix doesn't monitor time off. You take how much you need, work it out with your manager, and that's the end of it.
They have the shortest (and probably the most powerful) expense policy: "Act in Netflix's best interests." Netflix follows the same vein with most of its policies, keeping things informal and hiring people they trust to do the right thing.
7. United Wholesale Mortgage Brings Services On-Site
United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) focuses on keeping employees healthy and happy so that they can bring their A-game to work every day. Instead of requiring employees to take PTO or personal time off for services, they've brought popular conveniences on-site (and some are free). For example, employees can get haircuts, coffee, and fitness classes at no charge.
- On-site doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, and massage therapist
- Basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, on-site escape rooms, arcade rooms, restaurants, and a cafeteria
How to Develop Organizational Culture (Even If You're Not a Billion-Dollar Business)
You don't need a massive budget to treat your employees to exceptional organizational culture. There are plenty of low-cost things you can offer that'll foster the type of culture you want to create.
- Extra Days Off: Additional PTO isn't exactly free, but it might be something you can afford—especially if you have highly productive employees who can do more with less.
- Recognition Awards: Employees want to feel seen and appreciated for the hard work they accomplish, and the best way to do that is with performance, milestone, and service awards (which we can help with).
- Wellness Perks: A healthy workplace is a happy (and productive) workplace. The investment in your employees' health usually pays for itself. Host wellness and activity challenges or offer reimbursements for gym tuition.
- Flexible Work: Empower your employees to work from home, in the office, or a combination of both. Let your employees choose when they work—whether that starts early in the morning or in the afternoon.
- Easygoing Attire: This doesn't work for every industry, but consider letting your employees dress a bit more casually for work. Being able to throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt can be a huge comfy boost for employee morale.
- 4-Day Weeks: Everyone loves the idea of having an extra day off every week. Survey your employees and see if they'd be willing to work 4 10-hour days.
- Family Days: Host special events for spouses and family to meet the company and employees and feel like they're part of the experience. Trust Terryberry to Help Build Your Organizational Culture.
Positive organizational culture starts with employees feeling special, and that begins with recognition.
Terryberry can help you build recognition programs (customized to your business and culture) with the following:
- Social Recognition: Empower managers and employees to give and receive recognition publicly and in real-time.
- Performance and Incentive Rewards: Build a performance-based rewards program that engages and motivates your employees to hit their targets.
- Milestone and Service Awards: Develop award programs that recognize employees for tenure, milestones, and service.
- Feedback and Communication: Empower customers to share feedback and recognize employees that go above and beyond.
- Employee Wellness Programs: Run wellness and activity challenges to inspire your employees to stay healthy and build team camaraderie.
Want to learn more? Schedule a demo with our team to see how Terryberry can help transform your organizational culture.