Marketing Tips

5 Examples of Truly Unique Company Culture


Kayla Carmicheal

When I start a job search, a huge factor that notates whether or not I send in an application is a company culture I can see myself contributing to and thriving in. I am totally one of the candidates who won’t apply to a company with a negative reputation.

Download a Free Guide and Template to Help You Create a Company Culture Code. 

Companies are defined by the values and protocol set in place. This is what a company culture is. They describe how company beliefs are reflected in the experience of employees and customers.

HubSpot’s culture code is available online as a commitment to our value of transparency. Other companies (Spotify, Hootsuite, Asana) with transparency as a part of their culture have done the same, showing that culture works in implementation, not just establishment.

If you’re looking for inspiration for your company culture or are working to define one of your own, check out what these companies are doing to make their employees and customers receive a positive experience.

1. Google

At Google, the spark of ideas is key. Employees, affectionately dubbed ‘Googlers,’ are encouraged to be creative. Innovation is a big company goal, and because of this, Google has the X lab.

This is a lab space where employees can experiment and failure is accepted as a learning experience necessary for growth. Without this fear of doing something wrong, employees can feel empowered to strive for higher goals and feel supported along the way.

Googlers can enjoy the flexibility of choosing how they work and offices with video games and nap areas. Common spaces like kitchenettes and various meeting rooms bring employees together and encourage productivity with in-office food options and breakout spaces.

A unique feature of Google’s culture is the program ‘Googler to Googler.’ This is focused on team development and working together; Googlers get the chance to educate each other in skill-building from yoga to team management.

2. Netflix

Netflix is another company where culture immersion starts during the interview process — candidates who make a splash display empathy and a track record of working well in teams. Candidates who have great achievements but negative attitudes might be passed over for one enthusiastic about joining a new team who is seen as a natural fit.

Ownership through flexibility is also important to the streaming service. Providing employees with unlimited vacation time is a way Netflix encourages not only a flexible work schedule but sets in place the expectation that unique perks will be respected.

Another quirk about Netflix’s culture is its extreme honesty policy. To prioritize respect in the workplace, the company believes that if you wouldn’t say something to a colleague in person, you shouldn’t say it in private. This builds trust in work relationships, for example, those with coworkers and managers.

3. Amazon

The biggest focus at Amazon, in terms of company culture, is producing an excellent experience for the customer. To achieve this, Amazon imposes high standards into everything culture-based. What do I mean by this?

Employees are encouraged to deliver their best performance. To aide with this, Amazon has a “two-pizza” rule: Teams should be small enough to be fed with two pizzas. This approach helps managers create a more personal relationship with their team, provide adequate support, and maintains company productivity.

Further, the high expectations from customers influence the drive from employees to build high-quality experiences. What’s more, this approach attracts potential employees who see themselves in the company’s brand and want to deliver the best service possible to customers.

4. Buffer

At Buffer, culture is made up of personal development, humility, listening, and transparency. The company has a policy of providing honesty to their employees and customers and encourages them to do the same. Buffer also promotes employee skill-building and a supportive environment for innovation.

Buffer employees can expect a culture that is huge on transparency, from employee salaries being posted on their website to encouraging open employee/manager relationships. The company is also huge on being gratuitous. Valuing positive collaboration and hard work solidifies a workforce where employees feel valued.

Though self-improvement isn’t a culture aspect unique to Buffer, it’s a huge part of it. Buffer believes prime employees don’t throw themselves into work. Instead, they believe the best employees balance a healthy workload with their drive to improve their skill sets in and outside of work. This could be personal goals, like fitness, or professional goals, like team management.

Buffer has a commitment to listening to their employees to provide the best work atmosphere possible, promoting the practice of listening to understand rather respond. Similarly, they put the same emphasis on listening to providing a positive customer experience.

5. Zappos

Have you heard the story of the Zappos employee who spent 10 hours on the phone with a customer? This is an outcome of the culture Zappos has put in place for their company. From the interview process to day-to-day functions, the company is devoted to like-minded employees driven by customer experience.

At Zappos, immersion into the culture starts the moment candidates are picked up from the airport for their in-person interview. Future Zapponians are the ones who have high marks from social interactions. From the driver to the interviewer, almost every interaction a potential employee has is evaluated for personality.

Another unique part of the culture at Zappos has to do with accepting an offer. New employees work at the company for a month, of which a week is spent (no matter the role) in the call center. At the end of the month, the new hire can either accept their offer and continue their role or walk away from the role with $3,000 for their time and no further questions, helpful towards employee retention.

Zappos values the ideas of their employees, supporting a culture that fosters thought leadership and a positive environment to work in. This means flexible dress codes, hours, and the encouragement to share ideas among supervisors and employees.

When implementing or redefining a company culture, choose the one that your company can follow from day one. For example, most companies cannot provide an office ping-pong table at launch. But, a startup can implement a promise to employees that their health is of high priority to increase productivity, and encourage team runs or yoga classes from day one.

Keep in mind that no culture is perfect, even the above examples. Some of them have addressed fault and divides in their company cultures. Make sure that above all else, you listen to your employees and take their ideas into account.

The biggest perks in investing in a company code are seeing the retention of employees and happy customer experiences. A culture that focuses too much on glitz and glamour may lose sight in what’s really important to their beliefs, so make sure that yours is reasonable, yet effective.

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