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Zappos1 an online shoe and clothing retailer known for its exceptional company culture, prioritizes core values like delivering "WOW" through service and embracing and driving change. The organization has created a workplace where employees satisfaction and engagement are top priority, helping promote work life balance.  

This commitment to culture has translated into high employee retention rates and customer satisfaction, showcasing the tangible benefits of investing in a positive company culture. 

Creating a positive workplace culture fosters a productive, engaged, and thriving workplace environment. According to a study by Deloitte2, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a positive workplace culture is important to business success. 

In this blog, we will delve into the meaning, types, examples and process to building a positive company culture that empowers employees, promotes collaboration, and cultivates a sense of belonging and purpose within the workplace.

What is company culture?  

Company culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that characterize an organization and guide how employees interact with each other and with customers. A positive workplace culture that binds a company together with the elements of employee satisfaction, job satisfaction, and work life balance constitutes a value-driven company culture.  

According to Gallup3, employees who feel strongly connected to their organization's culture are 3.7 times more likely to be engaged at work and 55% less likely to actively look for another job. This proves that organizations need to prioritize offering a value-driven company culture for their employees.

Key aspects of company culture include: 

  • The company's mission, values, and goals that guide decision-making and employee conduct 
  • Norms, expectations, and unwritten rules that influence how things get done 
  • Leadership style and how managers interact with and support employees 
  • Workplace environment, policies, and benefits that impact employee satisfaction and retention 
  • Traditions, celebrations, and social interactions that foster a sense of community 

4 types of company culture 

Here are 4 types of organization culture 

1. Adhocracy culture  

Imagine an organization that's both flexible and structured, constantly innovating while maintaining some order. That's the essence of an adhocracy culture. It combines the adaptability of "ad hoc" (meaning "for this purpose") with the organization of a bureaucracy. 

In an adhocracy, rules don't stifle creativity. Instead, the focus is on continuous improvement and challenging the status quo. 

Where can we use adhocracy culture? - This fast-paced environment is ideal for startups and tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. It allows them to be nimble and keep pace in a highly competitive, ever-changing market. 

However, as these companies grow into tech giants, a single adhocracy across the entire organization might not be sustainable. Some departments, like compliance or ethics, might require more structure and a slower, more methodical approach.  

Adhocracy enables businesses to flourish in volatile settings by promoting a culture of perpetual enhancement and strategic risk-taking. As businesses grow, some departments may need a more structured approach while keeping their innovative spirit. 


  • Emphasis on innovation and creativity. 
  • Encouragement of risk-taking and experimentation. 
  • Fast paced and dynamic work environment. 
  • Flexibility and adaptability to change. 


  • Drives continuous innovation and differentiation. 
  • Encourages employees to think creatively and take risks. 
  • Promotes a culture of adaptability and agility. 


  • Potential for lack of focus due to rapid changes. 
  • May be overwhelming for employees who prefer stability. 

2. Clan culture  

Clan culture at work is like a close-knit family, with tight teams and a shared sense of purpose. This culture is often found in small, family-owned businesses or startups where hierarchy takes a backseat to collaboration. Employees, regardless of their position, feel valued and supported.  

Examples of clan culture  

Companies like Tom's of Maine, Redmond (Real Salt), and Chobani are prime examples of clan culture which prioritizes their employees and fosters a clan-like atmosphere.  

Specialty of clan culture  

  • Teamwork is the backbone of this culture, with everyone feeling comfortable sharing ideas and honest feedback.  
  • Mentorship and apprenticeship often play a significant role too, ensuring skills and values are passed down organically. 
  • One of the biggest strengths of a clan culture is high employee engagement, which can translate into exceptional customer service.  


  • Open and informal communication. 
  • Supportive work environment. 
  • Flat organizational structure with minimal hierarchy. 
  • Strong relationships among employees. 


  • Encourages open feedback and communication. 
  • Fosters strong relationships among coworkers. 
  • Promotes a sense of belonging and unity. 


  • May lead to a lack of formality in business interactions. 
  • Risk of employees becoming too relaxed in their approach to work. 
  • Maintaining a close-knit dynamic environment can be challenging. Expanding operations might lead to a loss of focus and agility. 

3. Hierarchy culture 

Hierarchy culture is a type of organizational culture that places a strong emphasis on structure, order, and rules. In this type of culture, the organization is structured in a hierarchical manner, with a detailed hierarchy system that defines job titles, roles, and levels within the organization.  

Employees are expected to follow the rules and procedures set by upper management, with a top-down flow of information and communication. This culture thrives on clear chains of command, established procedures, and well-defined roles. Everyone knows who they report to, who they manage, and the rules that govern their work. Following these rules and doing things the right way is paramount. 

Challenges in hierarchy culture  

  • Hierarchy cultures might struggle to adapt quickly to changing markets or innovate at a rapid pace.  
  • The emphasis on established procedures can stifle creativity and responsiveness in a world that increasingly demands agility.  

Pros of hierarchy culture 

  • Hierarchy cultures excel at streamlining operations and clearly defining duties. This makes them a natural fit for industries like finance, healthcare insurance, and oil and gas, where stability and risk management are crucial.  
  • Clear structures allow these companies to function efficiently and handle complex processes effectively. 

Cons of hierarchy culture  

  • Inflexibility and Resistance to Change 
  • Barriers to Communication 
  • Lack of Creativity 

While hierarchy offers stability, companies in this culture might need to find ways to embrace calculated risks and foster some level of adaptability to stay competitive in the long run. 

4. Market culture  

In market cultures, the game is all about winning. Companies here are laser-focused on maximizing profits and staying ahead of the pack. They prioritize results and keep a watchful eye on the competition, constantly striving to deliver products and services that keep customers coming back for more.  

Examples of market culture  

  • Tesla 
  • General Electric 
  • Amazon 

For these companies, innovation is the lifeblood. They need a steady stream of top-notch products and services to maintain their edge. This constant push to outperform can fuel creativity and lead to groundbreaking advancements.  

However, the pressure can be immense. Employees in market cultures often face high expectations and relentless demands for productivity. While this drives business success, it can also lead to employee burnout and a neglect of employee well-being. 

The challenge for market cultures lies in striking a balance. They need to maintain their competitive edge while fostering an environment that supports and motivates their workforce. 


  • Emphasis on achieving results and meeting targets. 
  • Competitive work environment. 
  • High-performance expectations. 
  • Focus on efficiency and productivity. 


  • Drives performance and goal achievement. 
  • Encourages a results-driven mindset. 
  • Promotes a sense of urgency and accountability. 


  • Risk of fostering a cutthroat environment. 
  • Potential for burnout due to high-pressure work culture. 

How to build a positive company culture 

The steps in building a positive company culture is listed below  

1. Define and communicate core values 

Clearly defining and communicating your company's mission, vision, and core values is the foundation for building a positive culture. These values should guide decision-making, employee conduct, and the overall employee experience.  

For example, Zappos has built its culture around delivering "WOW" through service and embracing change. 

2. Foster open communication and transparency 

Prioritizing open communication and transparency at all levels of the organization is crucial for building trust and engagement. This includes encouraging employee feedback, acting on it, and being transparent about company decisions and performance.  

A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with high company culture is as low as 13.9% while the probability of job turnover in low company cultures is 48.4% 

3. Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion 

Creating a culture of appreciation for diversity, equity, and inclusion is now critical to a company's success. Embracing diversity helps foster innovation, attract top talent, and create a more engaged and productive workforce.  

4. Recognize and reward employees 

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions is a powerful way to boost morale, engagement, and retention. Dedicated recognition programs that provide meaningful rewards and celebrate successes can help create a positive work culture.  

Companies with best-in-class cultures are 72% more likely to invest in training for leaders compared to others, emphasizing the importance of strong leadership in shaping corporate culture. 

5. Prioritize employee wellbeing 

Supporting employee wellbeing, both physical and mental, is essential for creating a positive work environment. This can include offering wellness programs, flexible work arrangements, and resources for managing stress and burnout

6. Encourage continuous learning and development 

Promoting a culture of continuous learning and development not only enhances employee skills and knowledge but also demonstrates a commitment to employee growth and career advancement. Providing opportunities for training, mentorship, and skill development can empower employees and contribute to a positive work environment.  

For example, Google's "20% time"policy allows employees to spend a portion of their workweek on projects outside their core responsibilities, fostering creativity and innovation. 

7. Encourage innovation and creativity 

Creating a culture that values innovation, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking can drive organizational growth and competitiveness. Encouraging employees to share ideas, experiment with new approaches, and take calculated risks can foster a culture of innovation.  

For example, 3M's "15% Culture" allows employees to spend 15% of their time on projects outside their regular responsibilities, leading to breakthrough innovations like Post-it Notes. 

8. Lead by example 

Strong leadership plays a crucial role in shaping company culture. Leaders who embody the organization's values, communicate effectively, and prioritize employee development set the tone for a positive work environment. By leading by example, executives can inspire employees, build trust, and reinforce the company's culture. 

Examples of company culture 

1. Cisco 

Cisco has gamified employee appreciation with a clever peer-to-peer recognition program.  Instead of infrequent, large awards, they focus on a steady stream of smaller rewards throughout the year. This system aligns perfectly with the company's core values and keeps employee engagement on a high note. 

The results speak for themselves: over five years, team members have recognized each other over a million times, translating to an impressive daily average of over 600 recognitions! This constant cycle of appreciation fosters a positive and interactive company culture.  By acknowledging each other's contributions, Cisco creates a more productive and satisfied workforce. 

2. Google  

Google is synonymous with a vibrant company culture that prioritizes its employees. They've mastered the art of attracting top talent and keeping them engaged. Free meals, social gatherings, travel opportunities, and gym memberships are just a few of the perks that set Google apart. 

But Google's commitment goes beyond fun extras. This culture fosters an environment where employees feel valued and motivated. It fuels innovation and allows Google to consistently produce groundbreaking products.  

As the company expands, they prioritize maintaining this culture by embracing remote work and establishing satellite offices. This ensures their geographically dispersed workforce can still experience the collaborative and stimulating environment that Google is known for. 

3. IBM  

Innovation is at the core of everything IBM does, which extends to their company culture. Recognizing the limitations of traditional performance reviews, IBM took a bold step to create a more holistic feedback system for their employees. 

This new system ditches the rigid 1-10 scale in favor of a more nuanced approach. It gathers valuable insights about the support employees need to thrive and reach their full potential. By empowering employees to take ownership of their feedback, IBM fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth. This shift from top-down evaluation to a collaborative approach empowers employees and equips them with the tools they need to excel. 

4. Workviva  

Workviva’s team fosters a culture of feedback, where both giving and receiving are encouraged. Leaders are comfortable admitting mistakes, acknowledging individual strengths, and supporting diverse opinions – even disagreements. This openness, coupled with a focus on patience and employee well-being, creates a positive and collaborative work environment. It's a win-win: employees feel valued and heard, and the team thrives thanks to a healthy exchange of ideas. 

Workiva's cloud platform tackles a challenge many companies face – fragmented data across departments. It offers a centralized solution for controlled collaboration, performance and financial reporting, and more. But managing such a complex system requires a special kind of company culture.  

Case study 

1. Arts Council England – A Culture Supporting Partnership Working  


Arts Council England is dedicated to making great art accessible to everyone by advocating for, nurturing, and funding artistic experiences that enhance people's lives.   

As the national development agency for the arts, they back a wide variety of artistic endeavors, including theatre, music, literature, dance, photography, digital art, carnivals, and crafts. The organization was officially founded in 1946. 


  • Required a collaborative and partnership working approach.  
  • Gaining commitment to the vision of the senior management.  
  • Having focus on departmental interest rather than the wider organization.  
  • Resistant to change at a senior management level.  


1. Involving staff as change agents 

The makeup of the culture change group was viewed as impacting the speed of change. Each area of the organization, including both creative and non-creative departments, sent a representative. This aimed to ensure a diverse group.  

These representatives were then tasked with explaining the cultural shift to their colleagues through briefings, values workshops, and sessions on how new work practices aligned with the desired culture. 

2. Embedding appropriate values  

Organization-wide values workshops were seen as a powerful tool to spark discussions and explore the practical application of the Arts Council's values. These workshops delved deeper into the meaning of each value, specifically how they translated into everyday work at the Council. This approach proved to be highly engaging, attracting even skeptical staff.  

Two key factors contributed to the success of this initiative. First, the workshops focused on building upon the existing positive aspects of the culture, rather than a complete overhaul. This made the process less disruptive and easier for staff to embrace.  

Second, a clear connection was established between the organization's desired competencies and the identified values. This alignment further bolstered staff buy-in. 


1. Cost savings  

Shifting to a mobile workforce impacted the organization's need for physical space and the resources required by these employees. To address this, they planned to save money by letting go of some of their buildings across the country. 

2. Visible signs of change  

  • Office design: Redesigned workspaces facilitated hot-desking, allowing for more flexible work arrangements. 
  • Technology: New equipment like Blackberries' and laptops supported remote working and collaboration. 
  • Communication practices: New processes, like cross-regional arts meetings, encouraged information sharing and teamwork. 


Employee surveys revealed a significant increase in understanding and support for the culture change. Between August 2009 and October 2010, staff comprehension of the cultural vision jumped from 36% to 79%. Similarly, understanding of how new behaviors aligned with the culture rose from 37% to 65%. 

By October 2010, most staff believed in the new way of working and supported the changes. This translated into a more energized and confident organization. 

Survey results showed positive trends: 

  • Alignment: 76% of staff felt everyone could contribute to a more unified organization. 
  • Understanding: 82% knew the new values, and 65% understood their role in supporting the culture. 
  • Clarity: 79% grasped the overall cultural vision. 

Improved grant processing: Timely grant decisions reached 99.7%, exceeding the 90% target. This achievement highlighted better collaboration and partnership across the organization, benefiting external stakeholders. Positive feedback further confirmed the impact of the culture change on external partnerships. 

2. Royal Cyber  

Royal Cyber's growing culture included an exciting work environment and many fun things—from Friday lunches to gaming activities to events and parties.   


  • During the pandemic, the company was forced to find alternative options to keep their thriving culture active.  


At Royal Cyber, "helpfulness" isn't just a value on paper, it's a way of life. They use the Xoxoday platform to empower employees to live this value by recognizing each other's contributions. Whether it's sending an eCard or awarding points for a job well done, Xoxoday fosters a culture of mutual support in a fun and meaningful way. 

This focus on recognition goes beyond simple praise. Winners of virtual games and competitions are also rewarded with points redeemable through the Xoxoday platform. By integrating these two elements – recognition and friendly competition – Xoxoday helps Royal Cyber create a positive and cohesive work environment. 

How does Empuls help build a positive company culture? 

Empuls is an employee engagement platform which extends its horizon into forming a positive company culture. Let’s look at how Empuls creates a culture which tranforms into a competitive advantage.  

(A) Fosters a culture of feedback  

1. Feedback – Helps build a culture of listening with quality employee surveys which help seek continuous feedback.  

2. Measurement – Helps gauge ways employees perceive core values, workplace culture, and relationships.  

3. Analysis – Helps derive key insights on peer relationships, cultural dynamics, and hierarchies.

(B) Builds a culture of belonging 

1. Communication – Through open communication, Empuls helps promote a culture of transparency.  

2. Connection – With the help of social intranet, Empuls fosters a culture of connectness.  

3. Collaboration – Helps promote organic conversations and engagement by driving a community culture.  

(C) Culture of appreciation  

1. Appreciation – Builds a culture of gratitude via meaningful and timely communication.  

2. Recognition – Fosters a culture of high performance by recognizing star performers.  

3. Value alignment – Applauds positive behaviours by reinforcing core company values.  

(D) Culture of wellbeing  

1. Discounts and offers – Looks after the financial wellness of employees via savings from deals, discounts, and cashback.  

2. Lifestyle benefits – Helps employees meet important life goals with voluntary benefits.  

3. Health and wellness – Nurtures mental and physical wellbeing with meaningful health rewards.  


Cultivating a positive company culture is not just a trend but a strategic imperative for organizations looking to thrive in today's competitive business landscape. A strong company culture that prioritizes values, communication, employee wellbeing, and innovation can drive employee engagement, retention, productivity, and ultimately, business success. 

By defining core values, fostering open communication, promoting diversity and inclusion, recognizing and rewarding employees, and prioritizing continuous learning and development, organizations can lay the foundation for a positive work environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and empowered. 

Building a positive company culture is not just a one-time initiative but an ongoing commitment, requiring dedication, leadership, and prioritizing growth of employees.


1. About us | (n.d.). 

 2. Deloitte. (2012). Core beliefs and culture. 

 3. Daley, S. (2024, March 28). Company Culture: Definition, benefits and Strategies. Built In. 

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Akshay Chakrapani

Akshay Chakrapani LinkedIn

Akshay Chakrapani is a good content writer who loves to explore various content styles and categories. He writes unique content on LinkedIn. His hobbies are reading novels and listening to music.