Culture at your company

If you have a great culture at your work, what are some things that you think make it so awesome? This is a topic that interests me and I would be curious what things you enjoy that could possibly be tried out at the org I work for!

understand your work properly over work

transparency / balance of teamwork and autonomy / open office / sit-stand workstations / Aeron Chair or Equal / flexible hours / upward mobility / aligned with same ethics and standards / no dress code / natural air & light / no cubicles / a good and present producer who is fully engaged / regular client meetings and reviews / art director or creative director who is closely integrated with the team and understands the medium / fellow teammates and organization have knowledge sharing and no internal competition or hidden agendas / good rates of pay and or benefits / option to work from home or own office when not needed on site / decent parking / located in Los Angeles / 3D Specific

Good management and clearly set tasks.
I’d upvote the second one. It’s very frustrating, when no one can tell you exactly how you can achieve the expected results, and you get all the blame, when you’re not using the methods you were supposed to use (like you knew!). That’s actually one of the reasons why I quit my previous job.

Thanks for the responses everyone! Culture is really interesting to me, especially companies like Zappos with a very unique culture. From what I have read, Zappos potential employees go through a 4 month long courtship where they attend social events etc. with different team members who then vote on whether or not to let them proceed to the next step. At the end they are given a choice: You can leave the company and receive $3000 to never return, and you will never be aloud to work for Zappos ever, or you can take the job. Although rigorous, I’m sure it weeds out bad employees very quickly!

That sounds absolutely terrible.

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I agree with Keno about inclusive culture. It you are accepting, you should have a diverse staff and not really test to see if someone fits (other than the no-a-hole rule).

A few things that I found help:

lunches. Eating together builds a team. Pot lucks are fun for getting some discussions going too.

Be honest to the nature of the group. Organizing an after work laser-tag competition is not for every team. The team activities need to come from within the team.

The leader needs to be a bit of a mirror. A leader who boasts culture all the time and then follows their own rules is doomed to lose the respect of the team.

Good point with the element of discrimination. I don’t agree this is the intent behind these approaches, but it definitely could allow it to happen much easier. I do think though to some of my past jobs, one in particular where I worked with a company of VERY conservative people (not just political, but religious, socially, etc) which is fine, and I got along with all of them on a day to day but I never felt very connected, it just wasn’t my tribe. I was recently listening to the podcast “How I built this” and they were talking to the owner and founder of the company Patagonia. He talked a lot about their culture and it was extremely fascinating. Some things that stuck out were their lack (intentionally) of designated leadership. They hire people to get the job done and trust they will use their time however best suits them. Want to go surfing? Do it, just make sure your work is getting done.

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There’s two sides to every story, and i’m sure for some it didn’t work as well for their work style, especially the ones who need to be babysat and can’t be self sufficient, and some others just need more structure, which is fine. There’s definitely not a one size fits all, but I am finding this conversation helpful and I think there are elements that could help our culture (not that its bad, just could be refreshing to try some things new)

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One of the things important is that, next to a good and productive group atmosphere, the company never loses track of individual goals and wishes of people in the company. In the end, it is great management/coaching setting up occasional one-on-one meetings that does this. People need a way to develop and exploit their talents and if it can be done in a work environment, all the better!

I’ve never worked anywhere that didn’t have a ping pong table, nor would I. :wink:

Great first post Michael Roberts!

Inspiring thread. Will post some deeper thoughts with more time in my Bands.


When I first read this at a quick glance I thought it said “Clutter at your company” … this also can be a problem :laughing:

Clutter is never a problem! Just don’t try to find anything on my desk.

I think that this is very important. One of the least productive things I have experienced is a workplace that doesn’t care about the development of their employees. The company should always be aware that most employees are there for more than a salary, and to nurture this for their mutual benefit. Happy employees are hard-working employees.

I totally agree, and on the flip side the employee has to meet the company half way. An easy topic is to talk about the company’s role in attracting and retaining talent. Less talked about is the employees’ role in making sure this is a place they really want to spend time, and the company’s duty to remove poor fits who damage the team dynamic. I’ll give you an example, at a previous company I had a very unhappy employee. I was her director and I tried everything in my power to make her work life better; rearranging projects, workflow, schedule. Her demeanor was so poor that it had a negative effect on the entire team, but she was talented and skilled so I was trying to work it out. In one of our monthly one on one check ins she told me that it didn’t matter what I did, who she reported to, or what the projects were, she just hated the company. I went to HR and got her a severents package. Once I knew for certain there was no way for her to improve, the right thing for the culture was to get her to move on. Not a fun thing to do, but as a boss not all of life is arranging fun offsites and presenting to execs. A lot of it is making really tough calls where you are not sure if you are doing the right thing until after.

I agree with yo, it is a two-way street. A company should invest in their employees to make them up to date and more efficient. My apologies to equating them to equipment, but if you aren’t using Windows 95, why wouldn’t you want an employee trained to the latest and greatest out in the world? There also needs to be a wifm for the company too. Why would you train an employee who wants to learn C++ but the company has no application for it?

That said, it gets hard when the company claims culture A, but in reality, culture B is what is in place. In that case, I would work for a severance for an employee who was “misled”. On the other hand, if the employee is expecting something other than advertised, I have no problem showing them the door.

We have a pizza oven, great garden, no dress code, friday pub lunches and a drinks cart. A good coffee machine we can hit up any time and a full fruit bowl at all times. No “why were you late?”, “that was a long lunch”, “where were you/where are you going?” like I’ve had in every other job.