Important Elements of Organizational Culture

Palpable items like good salary and benefits are important elements of organization culture, but so too are things like room for innovation and growth.

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Modern companies need to provide their team members with a competitive salary, a healthy benefits package, a safe work environment, and opportunities to advance. Those are good elements of organizational culture, but more is needed. One of the key components that successful organizations share is a strong organizational culture, a culture that allows for innovation and growth, as well as the ability to weather storms and to pivot when needed. A strong organizational culture increases employee engagement and reduces turnover.

Let’s explore the ways you can help to create a high performing workplace culture in your organization.

The backbone of organizational structure

No matter what  size the business is, or no matter what industry it’s in, there are certain elements common to organizations with a strong corporate culture:

Values and company vision shared by all

The mission statement and the overarching goal of the company are larger than any one person or department. Every team member needs to understand and buy into the reasons why the company exists.


When team members are given the responsibility and opportunity to own their performance and have control over their own schedules, instead of having every one of their tasks closely managed, it shores up their confidence and increases their loyalty to the company. This improves the employee experience and builds a strong culture.

A sense of belonging

Our own human nature dictates that we want to be part of a group. People rely on a sense of community at work. A strong company culture fosters a network of tight relationships among team members.

A good leadership team that clearly explains and models expectations

When team members have a clear picture of what each team member is responsible for, it takes the guesswork out of knowing what success looks like. If everyone is on the same page, working toward a common goal, it engenders high employee morale and engaged employees.

Open lines of communication

When it comes to running a successful company, little else is more important than effective communication. Consistent communication efforts work smoothly to develop collaborative teams with productive communication dynamics. Communication — across the organization — keeps information flowing, strengthens relationships, and increases productivity and efficiency.

When team members are given the responsibility and opportunity to own their performance and have control over their own schedules, instead of having every one of their tasks closely managed, it shores up their confidence and increases their loyalty to the company.

Work culture examples from the best of the best

There are plenty of companies that have built impressive organizational cultures. Here are a few examples of the most impressive ones.

  • Google. Despite its huge workforce, the tech giant fosters a sense of inclusion. The Google workplace, reportedly, is comfortable, fun, and flexible, and it provides a one-on-one mentorship program. Two of Google’s core values are “There’s always more information out there” and “Great just isn’t good enough.”
  • Delta Air Lines. Delta’s culture fosters high performing teams with their core values of honesty, integrity, respect, perseverance, and servant leadership. Delta also focuses on diversity and inclusion and encourages employees to respect others’ ideas “through their actions, not just words.”
  • Farmers Insurance. 83% of Farmers employees report that the insurance company is a great place to work. By focusing on every person’s unique potential, Farmers creates a culture focused on diversity and inclusion, one where everyone’s ideas are welcome. Farmer’s also encourages its employees to give back to the communities they serve by volunteering their time on community projects.

5 ways to foster a strong organizational culture in your workplace

Here are some ways that you can take action to forge and to maintain your desired organizational culture.

Create or edit the mission statement

Good leaders will create a strong mission statement that reflects what they want to see in the workforce. The mission statement and the core values of a company are the foundations of the organization’s great culture.

Craft clearly worded policies and procedures

An employee handbook and other written processes serve as the guardrails of the company culture. These should clearly describe the kind of  employee behavior that will meet company standards. If any of the organization’s policies or procedures sound vague or incomplete, rework them to be as concise as possible.

Create a culture of acknowledgement

Every employee wants to feel as if they’ve contributed to the company’s success.Tell them!  Kudos cost nothing. Weekly recognition at meetings, handwritten thank you notes for a job well done, yearly awards, and peer-to-peer recognition all help build a great culture.

Frequently solicit employee feedback

Effective leaders must understand how their team members feel and think about the company and its initiatives, in order to build a strong collaborative culture. Use surveys to measure employee engagement and to learn which areas need improvement. If you find that you need assistance building surveys or analyzing the results, hire a cultural development company to consult with you.

Provide enthusiastic leadership

A high-performing, collaborative workforce takes its cue from its leaders. Passion for the job, drive, and the ability to see the big picture rub off on the other team members, creating an exuberant and exciting work environment. Fostering can-do, idea generating attitudes will benefit and strengthen the organization’s  culture, as well as its bottom line.

Building a strong corporate culture is essential to protecting the integrity of your company and to helping it to meet its goals. Company leaders need to keep protecting and strengthening the culture right at the top of their must-do lists. To explore this topic further, read about how Zenefits’ HR software can help empower your company culture.

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