company culture examples

How to Build a Positive Company Culture (with Examples)

Have you ever heard someone describe a company as having a ‘great culture?’ It could mean the person describing the culture feels valued, supported, and excited to come to work every day.

That’s the power of a positive company culture. But what exactly is company culture, and why is it so important?

Company culture can be defined as the set of values, beliefs, and behaviors that shape how employees interact with each other, their leaders, and the work itself in an organization.

It’s not just about ping-pong tables and free lunches (although those can be attractive perks). A strong and successful company culture creates a sense of belonging, purpose, and motivation, which can significantly impact your business.

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Why Company Culture Matters

You wake up on a Monday morning, not dreading the work week ahead but feeling excited to head into the office. Your colleagues help, encourage, and collaborate with you, your boss is supportive and motivating, and your work feels meaningful.

This, my friend, is the power of a positive and great company culture. It can

  • Boost productivity and employee retention: Happy employees are productive employees! Companies with strong team cultures have lower turnover rates and higher levels of engagement. This translates to a more stable workforce and less time spent on recruiting and onboarding
  • Empower remote teams: Creating a sense of belonging and connection is crucial in hybrid and remote work environments. A strong culture can bridge the physical distance between teams, improve team morale, and ensure remote employees feel valued and integrated
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What Are The Building Blocks of a Great Culture?

What exactly makes a company culture ’great?’ Beanbag chairs and free snacks are fun, but they’re not the cornerstones. A truly exceptional culture is built on a solid foundation of core elements that create a supportive, motivating, and positive work environment.

  • Mission and core values: A clear sense of purpose and core values that guide decision-making and employee behavior is essential
  • Work environment: The physical space and overall work environment should reflect your company’s values and promote team collaboration and well-being
  • Leadership: Leaders set the tone for the culture. They should embody the company’s values and be approachable, empathetic, and supportive
  • Ethics: Having strong ethical principles and acting with integrity builds trust and a positive work environment

These are essential building blocks that attract top talent, enhance employee engagement, and build a great company culture.

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Different Strokes for Different Folks: What Are The Types of Company Culture?

We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach.” The same goes for company culture and work environment.

Like people with diverse personalities and preferences, companies cultivate unique work environments that reflect their values and goals.

In this section, we’ll explore some of the most common company culture types, each with its strengths and characteristics:

  • Team-first culture: In this culture, collaboration and teamwork are paramount. Employees are highly interdependent, working together towards shared goals and supporting each other’s success. This environment thrives on open team communication, a strong sense of camaraderie, and a shared sense of responsibility
  • Collaborative culture: Open communication and information sharing are the cornerstones of a collaborative culture. Here, ideas are freely exchanged, and employees from different departments work together to solve problems and develop innovative solutions
  • Customer-focused culture: As the name suggests, this culture prioritizes exceeding customer expectations. Employees are empowered to deliver exceptional service and go the extra mile to satisfy customer needs. This environment thrives on clear communication, a deep understanding of the customer base, and a focus on building positive customer relationships
  • Adhocracy culture: Fast-paced and dynamic, adhocracy cultures thrive on innovation and taking risks. Formal structures are often loose, and employees are encouraged to experiment, break boundaries, and develop new ideas. This culture is ideal for companies that operate in rapidly changing environments and require a high degree of agility
  • Purpose-driven culture: For companies with a strong purpose-driven culture, their mission and social impact are central to everything they do. Employees are passionate about the company’s mission and feel a sense of fulfillment by contributing to something larger than themselves

Beyond the Traditional Spectrum

While the above cultures represent some common types, others defy easy categorization:

  • Elite company culture: These cultures can be highly competitive and selective, attracting top talent in a specific field. The environment is mostly fast-paced and demanding but also offers high rewards and prestige
  • Progressive corporate culture: These companies embrace progressive workplace practices, such as flexible work arrangements, social responsibility initiatives, and a strong focus on employee well-being

Hierarchy vs. Horizontal Structures

A company’s culture can also be categorized by their organizational structure:

  • Hierarchy culture: These companies have a clear chain of command, well-defined roles, and reporting structures. Decisions flow from the top down, and employees must follow established procedures. Hierarchy cultures can be efficient and provide a clear career path, but may not be ideal for those who crave autonomy or a fast-paced environment
  • Horizontal company culture: Also known as flat organizations, these companies have minimal hierarchy. Employees have a high degree of autonomy and decision-making power. Communication is often informal, and collaboration is encouraged across all levels
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Shining Examples: Companies with Strong Cultures

Let’s look at real-world company culture examples known for their positive culture.

1. Zappos

Via: Zappos

Zappos is renowned for prioritizing employee happiness and offering exceptional customer service. They invest heavily in employee training and create a fun and engaging work environment.

Let’s dive into the core elements that define the ‘WOW’ at Zappos.

  • Delivering happiness: This guiding principle extends beyond customer satisfaction. Zappos strives to create a workplace that fosters employee well-being and a sense of purpose
  • 10 core values: These values act as a compass, emphasizing aspects like open communication, teamwork, and a sense of adventure. They’re not just words on a wall—they’re woven into the fabric of the Zappos experience
  • Fun and a little weirdness: Zappos encourages employees to embrace their individuality and bring a touch of fun to the workplace. This cultivates creativity and a sense of camaraderie
  • Hiring for cultural fit: Zappos goes beyond traditional skill assessments. They look for candidates who align with their core values and genuinely enjoy a dynamic, fun workplace culture
  • Empowering employees: Zappos implemented the self-organizing management model Holacracy to empower employees and flatten hierarchies. While there were challenges, it demonstrates their willingness to experiment with fostering employee ownership
  • Focusing on customer service: Customer service reps go above and beyond to ‘WOW’ customers. They have the autonomy to solve problems creatively and build genuine relationships

2. Google

Via: Google

Google’s success story is intertwined with its unique company culture, which heavily emphasizes creativity and openness.

As one of the leading company culture examples, this environment allows employees, or ‘Googlers,’ to flourish and develop innovative ideas that have revolutionized how we access information and interact with technology.

  • 20% time: Perhaps the most famous perk at Google is the ‘20% time’ policy, which allows employees to dedicate one-fifth of their workweek to pursue personal projects outside their core responsibilities. Did this have any real-world impact? It led to the creation of groundbreaking products like Gmail and Google Maps
  • Open communication and transparency: Google has a culture of open communication and transparency. Information is readily shared across departments, and employees are encouraged to express their ideas freely. This creates a breeding ground for collaboration and ensures everyone is on the same page
  • Focus on the user: At Google, the user is king. Every product and service is designed with the user’s needs in mind. This user-centric approach encourages Googlers to think creatively about how to solve problems and improve the user experience
  • ’Moonshot Thinking’ and calculated risks: Google isn’t afraid to take calculated risks and pursue ambitious projects. Their ‘moonshot thinking’ philosophy pushes boundaries and encourages Googlers to explore uncharted territories. This has led to the development of cutting-edge technologies like self-driving cars and AI advancements
  • Learning and experimentation: Google values continuous learning and experimentation. They provide employees with resources and opportunities to develop new skills and explore different approaches. This builds a growth mindset and encourages Googlers to step outside their comfort zones

To summarize, Google’s company culture of creativity and openness empowers employees, encourages out-of-the-box thinking, and creates a collaborative environment.

3. Patagonia

Patagonia’s commitment to environmental responsibility isn’t just a marketing slogan; it’s woven into the very fabric of their company culture. Founded by the legendary climber Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia has a long history of prioritizing the planet over profits.

  • Environmental responsibility at the core: Patagonia’s commitment to the planet is more than words. From using responsible sourcing practices to public land protection, they consistently prioritize environmental well-being
  • A bold commitment: In 2022, founder Yvon Chouinard took a revolutionary step—transferring ownership to a trust and non-profit dedicated to fighting climate change. This ensures future profits directly support environmental causes, solidifying Patagonia’s environmental commitment
  • Thriving workplace: Patagonia understands a happy workforce is key to success. They’ve been pioneers in offering employees flexible schedules and generous paid time off, cultivating a culture of well-being long before it became common practice
  • Employee well-being in action: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Patagonia prioritized employees by retaining staff and continuing pay despite store closures, demonstrating their commitment to unforeseen circumstances. In 2022, CEO Ryan Gellert closed all North American stores, warehouses, and offices for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, gifting employees a surprise paid vacation

Patagonia has set a high bar for a strong organizational culture. They demonstrate the power of aligning company values with a cause that positively impacts a larger community while simultaneously prioritizing employee well-being. They are a prime example of a successful business positively impacting both the planet and its employees.

4. GitLab

Via: GitLab

GitLab’s company culture is centered around three core principles: remote-first work, transparency, and a strong emphasis on collaboration.

Remote-First Culture:

  • GitLab is a fully remote company with employees spread across the globe. This builds trust and empowers individuals to work effectively regardless of location
  • If you’re considering a remote-first approach:
    • Invest in remote collaboration tools like video conferencing platforms and project management software. But just because everyone uses them doesn’t mean they’re the best fit for your team. The key is to choose tools that help your unique team collaborate seamlessly and thrive in a remote environment
      • Consider your communication style—real-time chat or asynchronous discussions?
      • Project complexity—does a simple to-do list app cut it, or do you need robust project management features?
    • Offer flexible work arrangements and consider compressed workweeks to create a work-life balance for remote employees
    • Establish clear expectations and performance metrics to ensure productivity in a remote setting


  • GitLab openly shares company financials, performance metrics, and other relevant information with employees. This builds trust and keeps everyone informed
  • If you want to improve transparency in your company:
    • Encourage use of effective communication strategies across all levels of your organization
    • Hold regular communication sessions where leadership shares company updates and answers questions
    • Make relevant work-related data and information accessible to your employees


  • GitLab prioritizes a strong sense of teamwork despite being remote. They organize virtual team-building events and encourage cross-functional collaboration
  • To cultivate collaboration in your company:
    • Create opportunities for cross-departmental interaction through meetings, projects, or events
    • Utilize online collaboration tools like shared documents and task management platforms to streamline communication and ensure transparency within your team

By embracing these core aspects and adapting them to their specific needs, you can cultivate a work environment and organizational culture similar to GitLab’s, cultivating a sense of trust, collaboration, and empowerment that leads to a happy and productive workforce.

5. Buffer

Via: Buffer

Buffer’s fully remote workforce thrives on a workplace culture built on transparency, autonomy, workplace flexibility, and strong team spirit.

Buffer’s approach focuses heavily on building trust and connection despite physical distance. Here’s a breakdown of these core values and how your company can incorporate them:

  • Transparency: Buffer too prioritizes open communication and information sharing. They openly publish company financials, goals, and even internal discussions on their blog. This builds trust and ensures everyone feels informed and invested in the company’s success
    • Implementation tip: Hold regular all-hands meetings or create a company blog where leadership shares updates, roadmaps, and relevant data
  • Autonomy and ownership: Buffer empowers employees to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This promotes a sense of responsibility and accountability
    • Implementation tip: Delegate tasks clearly and provide employees with the necessary resources and support to succeed. Encourage them to take the initiative and experiment with different approaches
  • Building trust remotely: They encourage virtual team-building activities, like online games and social gatherings, to create a sense of community. Additionally, Buffer promotes open and honest communication across teams and locations by utilizing powerful tools and processes
    • Implementation Tip: Invest in communication tools like video conferencing and instant messaging platforms. Schedule regular team-building activities that are fun and engaging in a remote setting

Additional Ideas for Building a Buffer-Inspired Corporate Culture:

  • Focus on values: Define core values that reflect your company’s mission and desired culture. Buffer’s values include ‘Default to Transparency,’ ‘Live Smarter, Not Harder,’ and ‘Default to Kindness.’ Ensure these values are embedded in your everyday work practices
  • Celebrate Success: Recognize and reward employee achievements, both big and small, to maintain morale and motivation
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2 Effective Ways To Evaluate Company Culture

We’ve learned that a strong culture is the backbone of a successful organization. But how do you know if your culture is thriving? Here are two key ways to evaluate your company culture:

Conduct Employee Feedback Surveys and Exit Interviews

Regularly soliciting employee feedback is crucial to understanding your company culture. Utilize anonymous surveys to gather honest feedback on various aspects, such as work-life balance, communication, leadership, and overall satisfaction.

ClickUp’s Employee Engagement Survey Template is designed to help you capture valuable feedback from employees.

Tools like ClickUp’s Employee Engagement Survey template can help you design a comprehensive survey that captures valuable employee insights.

This template simplifies gathering and analyzing employee feedback. It provides a user-friendly format for creating custom surveys, gathering real-time responses, and categorizing feedback by department or team. This allows you to gauge employee satisfaction, identify areas for improvement, and ultimately boost employee engagement.

Perform Regular Culture Health-Checks

Be sure to address your company culture before problems arise. Conduct regular ‘culture health checks’ that involve focus groups, one-on-one meetings, or open forums. This allows you to identify areas for improvement and proactively address any potential issues affecting employee morale or engagement.

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How To Build a Positive Company Culture? Make It All About Your People

Invest in Your People

A healthy company culture is built on a foundation of employee well-being.

  • Compensation and benefits: Offer competitive compensation packages that include attractive benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and professional development opportunities. This demonstrates your commitment to employee well-being and can boost job satisfaction
  • Employee engagement: Actively stimulate employee engagement by involving them in decision-making and recognizing their achievements. Regularly gather feedback and address their concerns to show you value their input

Break Down Silos

  • Importance of creativity and openness: Encourage open communication and diverse perspectives. Allow employees to experiment and challenge the status quo to foster innovation
  • Transparent communication and seamless collaboration: Break down silos between departments and promote cross-functional collaboration. Utilize ClickUp’s Remote Work features like:
    • Goals and targets: Set clear goals and track progress with ClickUp’s Goals feature, ensuring everyone is aligned and working towards the same objectives
    • Real-time chat: Create a culture of open communication and quick problem-solving with ClickUp’s Chat View feature for instant messaging and team discussions
    • Project time tracking: Promote work-life balance by allowing employees to track their work hours effectively using ClickUp’s Project Time Tracking feature
    • Shared calendars: ClickUp’s Calendars View ensures everyone is on the same page by providing a central location to view deadlines, events, and team schedules
    • Shared documents: Create a central repository of company knowledge with ClickUp’s Docs. This allows new hires to get up to speed and promotes knowledge sharing across teams
    • Dashboards: ClickUp’s Teams enable managers to recognize achievements and address challenges through data visualization. This contributes to a culture of accountability and support where employees feel valued for their contributions

These are some of the many ClickUp features that help you collaborate with your team more effectively.

Lead with Empathy and Trust

Leaders play a crucial role in shaping company culture.

  • Role of leadership: Leaders who embody the company’s values, practice empathy, and build trust with their teams contribute significantly to a positive work environment. Lead by example, empower your team, and provide opportunities for growth and development
  • The value of empathy and trust: Empathy fosters a sense of connection and understanding between leaders and employees. Trust empowers employees to take risks, speak up with ideas, and ultimately be more engaged in their work

Building a strong company culture requires a clear vision. If you want help with that, check out ClickUp’s Vision Whiteboard template. It isn’t just for product planning—it can also be a powerful tool for cultivating a positive and unified team environment.

ClickUp’s Vision Whiteboard Template is designed to help you capture your vision and keep track of progress.

This template and ClickUp’s Project Management feature acts as a springboard for collaborative brainstorming and transparent progress tracking, keeping everyone informed and motivated.

Prioritize Work-Life Balance

Prioritizing employee well-being isn’t just about offering ping-pong tables and nap pods. It’s a strategic investment that fuels productivity and reduces burnout.

  • Respect employee time: Establish clear working hours and discourage practices like late-night emails or weekend work unless necessary. Encourage regular breaks throughout the day to prevent burnout. Promote a culture where employees feel comfortable disconnecting after work hours
  • Smart time management: Consider offering flexible work arrangements like remote work options or compressed workweeks to accommodate different needs. Discourage presenteeism by actively promoting the use of paid time off for vacations, mental health breaks, or personal commitments
  • Lead by example: Strong leadership sets the tone. Leaders should model healthy work-life balance by respecting their time and encouraging others to do the same. Create an open environment where employees feel comfortable discussing workload concerns and requesting adjustments

Shift the Onboarding Mindset

Onboarding is traditionally viewed as a process for getting new hires up to speed on their roles and responsibilities. But companies need to go beyond the basics. A well-designed onboarding program serves as a springboard for integrating new hires into the company culture from day one.

This shift in focus requires a few key changes:

  • Focus on values, not just tasks: Don’t just train on job specifics. Infuse onboarding with your company’s core values, mission, and purpose. This helps new hires understand how their role contributes to the bigger picture
  • Facilitate connections: Prioritize building relationships with colleagues and fostering a sense of belonging. This could involve team lunches, mentorship programs, or buddy systems
  • Gather feedback: Onboarding shouldn’t be a one-way street. Regularly solicit feedback from new hires to identify areas for improvement and ensure a smooth and positive integration into the company culture
This new hire onboarding template covers a checklist for new hires to ensure they are well-equipped before starting their journey in the company they are joining!

ClickUp’s New Hire Onboarding Template can help you streamline onboarding and ensure that new hires feel welcome, informed, and excited to contribute.

This customizable template lets you create a step-by-step onboarding process with clear task assignments, due dates, and automated reminders. Later, you can assign tasks to different team members and track progress visually through ClickUp’s Tasks.

This ensures a smooth and efficient onboarding experience, getting your new hires up to speed and feeling valued from day one.

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A strong culture leads to increased productivity, higher employee retention, and elevated brand reputation

Investing in company culture isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also good for business. Employees who feel valued, supported, and engaged are likelier to go the extra mile for your company.

So, take the time to assess your current culture and identify areas for improvement. By following the tips in this blog post, you can create a positive and thriving work environment that attracts and retains top talent, fuels innovation, and propels your business forward.

Sign up for ClickUp today and create a space where your employees and business can flourish!

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