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Understanding Company Culture (Pt. 1)

Today’s employees don’t just look at the salary offered to them by companies or organizations, and then call it a day. They also look at how the company and its people interact with each other, their values or even the decisions its management makes. For example, does the company provide employees with flexible working arrangements or schedules? Or does the company’s vision, mission and beliefs align with a prospective employee’s?

Thus, it’s important for us business owners and leaders to understand how company culture can benefit us in the long run.

What’s Company Culture?

To begin with, some people may not know what the term “company culture” refers to. So, here’s our understanding of what company culture is:

“Company Culture is the attitudes and behaviors of a company/organization and its employees, and encompasses a variety of elements, including the company’s work environment, company mission, leadership style, values, ethics, expectations, and goals.”

Of course, every company will have their own cultures. Some, like Netflix, emphasize “people over process” in their decision-making processes. Others may prioritize a more formal hierarchy-based management, where their people have a clear understanding of their roles at work.

What does company culture look like?

If you can’t seem to visualize Company Culture or how it works, fret not, for we will present to you a guide to get you started.

Company culture, according to Edward T. Hall, looks like an iceberg with two levels: What we commonly see above the surface of the water, and what’s under the water.


Most of the time, we only see what’s on the surface. Here are some of the common traits we see in a company’s culture, on the surface level:

1. Perks and Benefits

a. The perks and benefits our companies offer can significantly impact our people’s engagement at work.

b. According to employee engagement platform Empuls, at least 48% of people switching jobs would weigh perks as an essential part of their decision-making.

c. For example, does an organization provide flexible working schedules? Do they provide employees with annual healthcare sessions?

d. These are just some examples of the perks organizations are providing for their recruits and talents.

2. Dress Code

a. How our people dress to work can impact others’ perception on our company’s culture.

b. That may be true; however, these days it is beneficial to both lay down some ground rules in terms of the dress code for necessary situations, and also loosen up their dress codes on more casual occasions.

c. Many companies today encourage their people for a more casual dress code (or a smart casual-based one)/

d. This helps make employees feel comfortable at work, and in turn boost productivity.

3. Rewards and recognition

a. According to psychologist William James, it is part of our nature as humans to want to be appreciated in some way or form.

b. Here are some statistics on what happens when we reward our people:

i. Employee productivity and performance are 14% higher,

ii. 69% of employees work harder because they feel their efforts are appreciated and recognized, and

iii. 90% say that the recognition given motivates them to give more effort.

c. All of this also indirectly creates the image that our company culture is one that cares for its people.

As much as company culture is about the important points mentioned above, that is only on the surface level, which we can see, observe and visualize. People may end up neglecting and not noticing what’s underneath the surface, the “Deep Culture”.

What about this “Deep Culture”, you ask? Well, here are some aspects of deep culture that are key in driving your organization’s success and performance.

(1) Purpose and Meaning

  • If our people don’t find a purpose in what they do, they’ll eventually get bored of their work.

  • This, in turn, causes their engagement and performance to decline. Which is, of course, a bad sign of things.

  • Thus, helping our employees understand our organization’s mission, helping them engage, and making them realize they are a part of something bigger is vital for every organization.

  • When our people know why they are doing what they are doing, it drives their engagement, motivation and performance at work to greater heights.

(2) Employee Engagement

  • Continuing on from our previous point, our organization’s culture has a noticeable impact on our people.

  • However, just having a company culture alone is not just enough.

  • It is also crucial for us to take in employee feedback on our culture and act on them as soon as possible.

  • We also need to start communicating with our people on the day-to-day operations of our business.

  • That way, our people feel reassured and engaged with their jobs, coworkers and leaders.

  • This engagement also gives them a sense of purpose in their jobs.

(3) Decision-Making

  • In a successful organization like Google, Facebook and many others, one of their keys to success is their choice to have employees be involved and have a say in their decision-making process.

  • Why this choice, you ask?

  • By letting our people voice out their opinions, or allow them to participate in our business’ decision-making processes, they feel that we value their opinions and efforts.

  • This makes them more satisfied with their jobs and roles at work.

Tim Lambert once said, in regards to company culture, that:

“A company’s culture is the core of its business. Without a strong core, your company is just like a rotten apple.”

There’s more to just company culture than understanding what’s it about. On our next article, we’ll discuss WHY company culture isn’t just a trend, but a necessary investment for organizations, and the benefits of investing into and maintaining a good company culture.

Does your organization need assistance in developing, aligning and maintaining your company’s culture? If your answer is “YES”, take action now! Contact us at to know more about how Leadworkz can assist you with developing, aligning and maintaining a company culture that will attract and retain your talent!


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