Fostering a positive and proactive company culture should be at the forefront of any business strategy. It’s what sets your company apart from the rest. A happy workforce makes for productive results, so it’s no wonder that companies of all shapes and sizes are working hard to make their organizations into exceptional places to work. So what does great company culture look like? Let's take a look at five startups who are embracing an innovative company culture.
Read more: Startup in need of some networking? Come to our October conference.
"I dreamed of an enterprise with great opportunity for all who would join it, a virile organization that would foster self-fulfillment and which would multiply the capabilities of the individuals comprising it beyond their mere sum."
- Bill Gore, 1961
The makers of world-renowned Gore-Tex may not be the usual business you’d expect to see mastering startup company culture – especially not with the likes of Google and other ‘tech start ups’ taking the center stage time and time again. But over a consistent 57-year period, Gore has built an empire based on strong employee values. Many new startups tend to focus their attention on fresh, young employees, while Gore has kept hold of the same employees for over 20 years, known as ‘The Wise’.
Gore works closely to its company slogan – “We don’t manage people, we expect people to manage themselves”. Employees are referred to as ‘Apprentices’ and the company doesn’t have managers, it has leaders. The focus on company culture has enabled Gore to be featured on Fortune’s "100 Best Companies to Work For" list every single year since 1998.
Zappos has nailed its company culture. It’s almost as well-known for its company culture as it is for its shoes. CEO Tony Hsieh ensures that employees are there because they want to be – and not just for the paycheck. This instills brilliant customer service from the core of the company.
The interview process is based half on skill and experience, and half on company culture to ensure that all new staff fit into the company dynamic. Tony Hsieh takes things a step further and offers new employees $2,000 to quit after the first two weeks of training to weed out those who are simply there for financial reasons. All members of staff work in the call center for the first month, whether you’ve been hired as a lawyer or web designer. Great company culture is the focus of Zappos’ core values – it believes that great customer service and branding will happen of its own accord when the company culture is right.
Shopify started life as a small team of five working out of a coffee shop in Canada. It has since grown to a team of over 2,000 employees working in five different offices across North America. Its success with its core product: a popular online store builder, is founded on strong core company values and a killer company culture that has made Shopify’s success possible. The whole CMS started as a solution to common ecommerce problems faced by bootstrapping entrepreneurs.
There are many reasons why Shopify is one of the top startups for company culture. It has an internal praise tool called UNICORN that ensures no good deed goes unnoticed. This tool even allows employees to offer cash bonuses to other employees who they feel deserve it. It has impressive office spaces and numerous company benefits, such as Apple gear for everyone who works there. It even strives to look after employees’ health, offering $250 towards fitness classes or equipment, and will cough up the cash for a gym membership because it knows this will increase productivity.
Dropbox is one startup that has stuck close to the mentality of its roots. Dropbox has worked hard to become one of the best sharing services for businesses and consumers alike. There are some great perks to the job too, including breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared for staff every day. If you are lucky enough to work in the San Francisco office, it has a restaurant offering Michelin star meals to all employees.
CEOs Ferdowsi and Houston are found onsite and are easily accessible for employees to speak with. They are genuinely concerned about the welfare of staff, making Dropbox one of the best companies to work for. Ferdowsi and Houston work according to the mentality ‘you're smart, you can work it out’ – granting staff the responsibility and flexibility to work on what they are good at.
Hootsuite likes to shout its company culture to anyone who will listen and works hard to ensure a great working environment for all. As one of the world's largest sharing platforms, it’s no wonder that its own social media channels include interesting employee posts like #hootsuitelife and viral content that sparks engagement from its followers.
It lives by its manifesto and even has it documented on Slideshare for all employees to see. Keeping morale high and communicating its company culture makes Hootsuite an innovative startup with incredible company culture at its core.
We're always hearing about how companies work hard to offer customers the ultimate experience with their brands, but what about employees? Dedication and productivity comes to those companies who work hard to ensure their staff are happy. With happy employees comes good customer service and a willingness to take your business to the next level. What do you think is the most crucial part of company culture? Let me know below.
Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and ecommerce marketing expert. She works with both large and local brands to maximize their reach in the digital world. Victoria enjoys sharing her expertise with other entrepreneurs to promote success.