Corporate culture: What is it exactly?
Corporate culture: What is it exactly?

Corporate culture: What is it exactly?

As you could have noticed, we mention some kind of “corporate” or “company” culture quite a lot in our articles. What you may know is that it’s some collection from the office dimension that we try to follow in our work life so we can live peacefully with colleagues of ours and have it fun every single day. At the same time, not every HR manager can clearly define what exactly this beast is. What kind of animal this is, how to apply it and how to grow it right in your office environment – let us figure it out one by one.

The main reason for the company culture’s self-identification is the unclear nature of origins for such structure. If you look into the boring and official dictionaries, you may probably read something like…

“…behavior of humans within an organization and the meaning that people attach to those behaviors”

It is still not clear, isn’t it?

Yep. So let us try to open it up a little to see if we can get to the core of this definition. Corporate culture is composed of a company’s vision, its values, employees, norms, systems, habits, symbols and language. This is better, right? Right!


What else can you add to the official definition that is clearly made to impress? It’s important to mention that corporate culture is something you can’t create from zero in your business. Company identity is born by itself, without any force appliance from the outside, it’s born just from the environment in your office. Corporate culture is more like a young tree with advantages of freedom of adjusting the direction where it’s going to grow. Moreover, you can follow its growth so it won’t curve anywhere on the way to the adult stage. Office culture is born with the company itself and number of employees does not really matter: there can be only you and your shadow in the list of employees, but it’s already a good base for creating this culture.

Why does it look so easy? A business does not need many people to create a strong corporate entity. If a business’ founder has all above-mentioned feature for corporate identity building, these automatically move to the corporate image of culture. This way, the corporate culture is practically built in the DNA of the business right when it’s born – if you don’t have the vision for company culture it’s going to follow, why in the world are you building this business in the first place?

Meanwhile, our young tree keeps growing and giving life to new branches – this is a process that you’ll see when number of employees will start increasing and bringing their own bits and pieces to build the ultimate form of your corporate culture. The founders can have their own vision for the business development but while the staff grows, it’s easy to notice how the corporate culture is slowly evolving. This is the adaptation to different people within the business.

Company culture is that one bit that distinguishes one company from another.

The culture itself is based on differences, as it seems. For example, if you’re asking your employees to wear only red shirts as the official dresscode, this is corporate culture: it’s your company’s value, no less. It’s something that makes your company look different from others. But if you don’t implement any limitations on what to wear and, for example, force your employees to have lunch together, it’s not a corporate culture in any of its meanings: thousands companies do this, this doesn’t make your business any different.


Corporate cultures also have a trait to be good or bad for certain employees: some people may not share the values that you cultivate, and this is absolutely fine. You cannot satisfy everyone. Sometimes it creates obstacles when it comes to hiring new people: some candidates are scared off on the initial stage of interview process.

There is an opposite problem, too: not every candidate is fit for certain corporate culture, this is where your skill of choosing blends in. It is important to clarify if the new hire possesses the character you need, as well as their views on your company’s culture. HR manager is also responsible for educating managers to listen to newbies: a multi-level business requires holding multiple interviews with candidates, not just with HR. This way you can rule out the possibility when a candidate is a good-go with required skills but he or she won’t probably fit in current employees.

Now we go to perfection that is so hard to achieve.

A 100%-guarantee test for any healthy organizational culture is the high rate of retention for employees: they like everything about the team they’re working with and so they like what exactly they are working with. Business environment appreciates when the corporate culture is healthy since its absence can lead to employees leaving. This all sounds obvious, but how exactly can you keep your company culture alive and well?

Leader is a hero for his employees.

Leaders do one thing they do best – they lead people. So, in a sense of our topic, he is leading the corporate culture as well as employees. He is the original source of the culture as well since it’s up to leader to shape the corporate identity among other companies.

Company must have the future.

It is hard to imagine a prospective business that will flourish without any perspective vision on its future. Employees need that perspective mostly because it is hard to concentrate on work without clear future.

Support your employees’ self-development.

Employees are likely to be inspired if they have the hope for promotion, so this way they can dwell deeper into your company values.

There is a need for supporting the team-building events.

It is so you can keep the positive environment inside your company, of course. This way you can also promote your company values and keep your team strong.

Keep it up with employee benefits.

It might seem simple but there is a lot of value: make employee benefits a crucial part of your corporate culture and you will notice how positive your team will become. Even small perks like free fitness can increase motivation and loyalty to your organization. For example, apply free dress code for Fridays, or allow shorter days for Wednesdays. Trust us, they will appreciate that a hundred percent.

Don’t be a despotic ruler.

One of the key features here is that corporate culture must be enjoyable, so please don’t enforce it on your employees. They won’t appreciate the fact that leader forces them to sing corporate anthem every morning, that’s for sure.

Now is the time when corporate culture and the ability to keep up with it is one of the major skills when it comes to hiring people – it’s no less important than tech skills, believe it or not. You can argue with this statement all you want and blame the values that changed over the years but the importance of the positive organizational culture goes front nowadays. Just be sure not to ignore it, otherwise you’ll have to deal with damage to the business.

Images credits: Getty Images, Shutterstock

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