How We Sense Company Culture And Why It Matters
The reason why we want to buy from, work for or support certain companies
You will come across many companies in your lifetime. Thousands. Hundreds of thousands.
You’ll buy products or services from them; you’ll donate to them, you’ll work for them, you’ll learn from them, and you’ll compete with them. As you've interacted with these companies you will have noticed that not all companies are created alike. Some of them leave a bad taste in your mouth, much in the style of a rotten banana, anxiety, or an acid reflux. Other companies, on the contrary, leave you feeling delighted: warm and happy. You perform and finish your transactions with them and walk away feeling better.
Whether your business sells to business customers or direct to consumers, your company’s potential for success within a globalized, ever-more-competitive digital marketplace, lies in its power to resonate deeply with the people buying and using your product. As consumers, we pay attention to which companies make us feel what emotions, and we broadcast that more easily. From word-of-mouth recommendations to viral tweets, we are happy to celebrate a company’s strengths. The more a company resonates with us, the more we will tell others about it, and give it our support.
- There’s a reason why you are intrigued when you hear that Charlie Kim, the co-CEO of Next Jump, mandates that his employees spend 50% of their time on culture development initiatives and 50% of their time on revenue-generating initiatives.
- There’s a reason why you initially struggle to wrap your mind around the fact that all employees at Makers Academy, set their own salaries.
- There’s a reason why 99% of all Unbounce’s hires are made without the assistance of a recruiter saving the company in the region of $1.5m annually.
- There’s a reason why Mark Organ the CEO of Influitivethreatens to fire his employees if they don’t take three weeks’ vacation.
- It’s the reason why Hotjar offers company perks that include a €2000/year holiday budget, a €4000/year home office budget, €2400/year working space allowance, €500/year personal development budget, €2000/year working together budget, €2400/year well-being allowance, 40 days of planned leave annually, 16 weeks paid parental leave, a free Kindle Paperwhite and company retreats twice a year.
This encompassing reason is what many more such ground-breaking companies—from seasoned giants to high-growth startups—have harnessed to break through the mundane, connect on a deeper level with their customer and employees, and propel themselves up to unparalleled heights. This reason is the internal glue that binds such companies; it is, at the fundamental level, the sum of each company’s values, mission and vision—all of which combine to form the company’s DNA.
You’ve also heard of it referred to as the company culture.
Whether or not you’ve stopped to consciously think about it (and if not, take a minute and do so now), you’re more likely to do business with people you like.
Countless studies have proven this; so too do your own past experiences and intuition. You tend to like the people whom you resonate with and who resonate with you. And given this reasoning, you’ve most likely found yourself returning to and commending companies and businesses that embody their culture in the feelings you get when you do business with them—in how you sense them having the right attitude, their good vibes, and their inherent commitment to the delivery of excellence, wow-ing you and making you happy. That’s how we sense a company's culture.
We sense a strong company culture because we get something extra or different when interacting with their employees, using their services and unpacking their products. By the same token, we know when a culture is weak. Although company culture is mostly invisible, subconscious and intangible, we can still sense when companies haven’t invested in their culture because we pick up clues from their employees, the lack of care and attention to detail in their products, the poor service and the bad taste left in your mouth after you've dealt with them. The companies that invest time in defining their culture and ensuring that their leadership and employees live it, make it easy for us to sense their culture. Companies like Next Jump, Influitive, Upwork and Makers Academy allow us to resonate with their culture because every employee lives and breathes it. They are the companies that we want to work for, buy from, partner with, commit to and help succeed.