So far in our Company Culture blog series, we have looked at characteristics that create a dynamic and effective culture.
In addition to the three basics identified by Pike (Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose), companies that succeed in the effort to build and maintain great cultures show flexibility in their market segment and a commitment to excellence. Today, we will look at a mix on “old market” and new market companies and their highly respected cultures.
Riding rapidly to dominate its market spot in the world of digital marketing, HubSpot has developed a Culture Code that it reinforces with each hire and each corporate decision. It even inspired us to create our own!
The core of HubSpot’s code is a call for passion — about customers, about team members, about having fun and well, about culture. The Hubspot crew doesn’t just talk and teach about culture; each employee is empowered around the principles espoused by Pike. As they say, the proof is in the pudding, and HubSpot boasts of one of the industry’s most celebrated cultures.
REI is a company that has been around for decades, and during that time it has repeatedly ended up on the lists of the companies that have the best company culture. It is also frequently found on lists of both the best companies to work for and the most profitable in their segment.
Of course, if Pike is right, the latter two lists will naturally follow with the first (as with the other companies discussed here.)
Customers of REI come to the outdoor supplies store with a passion about their sport or hobby and want to find the same passion (mastery) in the people they buy from. The Outdoor Industry Association conducted a case study of REI and found passion and fun at the heart of its success. Likewise, the company is known throughout the business world for its customer loyalty and long-term retention.
Harvard Business Review considers USAA a prime example of the point we made in our opening blog in this series. Brands actually reflect the culture of the companies they stand for, and USAA has a culture that solidly reinforces its highly respected brand.
Founded as a simple insurance company serving a niche market, USAA has earned the highest level of customer loyalty a company can aspire to. Although the company does its business almost entirely over the phone, its reps are some of the best trained in the business world and are empowered to solve problems, not pass them on.
A common question from this company’s competitors (and other envious business managers) is “How do they do it?” Year after year this airline confounds its observers and sets new records and profits. It too has been the subject of many case studies and evaluations. The truly unique aspect of Southwest’s success is the fact that it has maintained its culture when common wisdom would have called for leaving it behind. However, the company’s legendary commitment to customers and employees has helped it weather massive industry storms, including the events of September 11.
In fact, the unique culture of Southwestern has also achieved success in clearing one of the most difficult challenges to any startup that becomes a major corporation. Many companies grow to success around the character and drive of a charismatic founder. Maintaining that culture and success has proven an impossible task for many such ventures. However, Southwest has continued to prove the strength and vitality of its culture many years after it founder Herb Kelleher left the company management team.
And, who doesn’t love those little red heart swizzle sticks?
Considered by many, especially its customers and employees, to be the champ when it comes to great cultures, Twitter also enjoys the fruit of a successful culture. Specifically, more than 1,600 employees became millionaires as a result of its 2013 IPO.
The correlation here, however, between culture and success should excite all aspiring young companies. Note it can be argued the culture helped create the opportunity for amazing financial success, not the other way around. This further underlines the point that financial rewards should be a by-product of a great culture, not the foundation.
You’ll find a great read on the Twitter culture (and how it compares to Google’s) at Dave Partners.
Glassdoor takes note that of the top 25 company cultures (according to their employee ratings), 11 come from the tech industry. This dominance is somewhat expected, as these are largely companies that have grown from startups free from “old economy” environments and expectations. However, it is worth noting that the majority of those considered to have great cultures are older companies who have succeeded in adapting and proactively responding to the demands of their marketplace.
This ability to adapt and grow is an increasingly essential attribute of any culture that will survive in today’s rapidly evolving business environment.
Need some inspiration for writing your own culture code? Check out ROI Online's!