Last week, we talked about how national cultures can be divided into regional cultures and subcultures. This goes a step further.
Companies have their own culture, as well.
That’s because whenever people are grouped together, they build a culture. And the way that companies build is often with this cultish veneration of shared ideals – ideals they wish each and every one of their employees to hold true.
Company culture has become a selling point for employment. When Starbucks or Tesla is hoping to hire the best, they must promise a thriving ecosystem to work within…an ecosystem with plenty of incentives and inclusivity.
Here’s a look at how some companies got it right, and where others have got it wrong.
Popular Company Cultures
Google famously treats its employees to an “adult playground,” with perks like gyms, swimming pools, video games, nap pods, free haircuts, on-site physicians. You name it.
This has driven Google’s success, encouraging employees to be more creative, productive and to think outside the box.
Netflix, as well, have become renowned for their company culture manifesto. They strive for inclusivity and are averse to the so-called “brilliant jerk” that you might identify with Silicon Valley.
In fact, they only retain those who pass a “keeper test” – that is, managers choose whether or not they’d fight to keep their respective employees, and if they wouldn’t, they’re let go. This way, their culture is cultivating only the best of the best.
Netflix’s primary aim is to motivate its workers, as is shown in its most recent culture doc, which closes with this stanza by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
If you want to build a ship,
don’t drum up the people
to gather wood, divide the
work, and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn
for the vast and endless sea.
Pretty inspiring stuff, right?
Unpopular Company Cultures
Like Google or Netflix, you can build up your employees through incentives, inspiration, and inclusivity…or, like Uber, you can build a toxic company culture through ineffective human resources, vague company values, and company crisis after company crisis.
Uber’s company culture has been described as “aggressive” and “unrestrained.” In this past year, sexual discrimination and harassment led to an internal crisis that has played out in the media.
However, with new leadership on board, the company’s values are changing, as is Uber’s ability to surface problems more quickly. The company can still evolve its culture, turn it around, and build something that its employees are proud to build with them.
Company Culture -> National Culture
As with company cultures, values can either be promoted or condemned by national culture. Management is the driving force in actively shaping their company culture’s values, and a nation’s leaders – politicians, scientists, writers, artists, actors, business leaders, or other influential peoples – shape ours.
Next week, we’ll talk about these values, how they are formed, and what they mean to you.