Corporate culture, organizational culture, company culture – you can call it whatever you like, but all of these basically amount to the same thing and these are values and traits that a business will do its best to promote and instill in its employees. The right culture will definitely mean an increase in customer service, perhaps productivity as well, but most importantly of all it can translate to the overall impact of the company’s brand. And later on, it will eventually have an effect – good or bad – on your business profit margins.
When you think of Apple products, the first words that would probably come to mind are innovative, stylish, and user-friendly. Those are also the very values that the late Steve Jobs had worked extremely hard to instill in his entire workforce. Everyone knows Jobs as a perfectionist and a harsh critic, but in the end his forceful ways still inspired his employees to be like him and to strive for his goals. His hard work – and his employees’ hard work – paid off with all Apple products remaining to be on the top of their respective niches.
Their offices, their company culture, and their employee’s lifestyle within company premises have been frequently documented over the years. You get to see cool offices and people coming to work in laid-back attire and even skateboarding to their offices. All these may seem like laissez faire management but it’s not. It’s actually a very calculated move on the search engine giant’s part – and one that’s paid off as well.
Google encourages innovation in its employees. It gives free time for employees to work once in a while on whatever projects’ taken their fancy. But they are also very strict with their work schedule and goal management. Everyone in the company definitely didn’t skateboard their way to their positions. If you take a look at their resumes, you’ll see that every one of them is backed by serious credentials that only the complete dedication to work can bring.
Established as an Internet shoe store in 1999, Zappos eventually became an online retailing behemoth as well as a byword for excellent customer service. It started to see profit since 2006 and in 2008 grosses $1B in sales. The figures on how great and how it will continue to be great can go on and on, but for its CEO Tony Hsieh all these are because of one thing: happiness. More to the point, he believes that the business has always been able to achieve its goals – no matter how lofty they seemed at the start – simply because the company focused on the most important thing, and that’s making both customers and employees happy.
Hsiesh says that building the right culture depends largely on having committable core values for employees. Basically, it means values that don’t ask people to be saints. One of these core values for Zappos is humility, and the company goes as far as conducting real-life tests to determine if an applicant has this value as well as choosing to fire an employee or not hiring an applicant if this value is not present.