The 8 Culture Types
When it comes to culture, no two companies are alike…understanding and defining your company culture will help your business function well across all areas of operation, and it will help your team be able to make decisions in their roles, and understand your company as a whole.
Simply put: your team should know who they are working for, what is expected of them and you should know who you are looking for to be a part of your team!
Often, people mistake their company values as culture. Although your values and mission are certainly an element of your company culture, it goes beyond that. Your company culture encompasses how you, and your employees, interact and behave, what the workplace environment is like, how problems are handled, how changes are met, how internal and external relations and communications are managed and what goals you set.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to company culture, and that’s why, as a leader, establishing your culture is an important task to tackle in the early stages of scaling your business.
Why is identifying your company culture so important?
As your business grows, you’ll want your team to be able to make daily decisions and actions on their own and have an understanding of the company they work for…not just their specific role and duties. Their ability to do this relies on their understanding of your specific company culture.
Today’s workforce wants (and expects) to know what a company culture is. And, they don’t want to piece it together when they are hired; people want to have a clear understanding of a company’s culture when they are interviewing, and especially before they sign a contract.
In other words, retention and talent acquisition are directly affiliated with your company culture. If you are facing issues with turnover, or find you cannot seem to attract an ideal candidate, there are many factors to consider, but your company culture could be one of them.
How does culture impact your business?
Without a clear understanding of your culture, you will not be able to create an effective strategy for managing and scaling your company.
Culture drives behavior; you want to attract, hire, and retain the best team of people whose values, attitudes, goals and ethics align with the company and other staff. Your staff should all be able to collaborate and be productive, and comfortable, in their workplace. In addition to this, if you don’t define what your company culture is, your staff will decide for themselves…which can lead to a lot of disconnect, and could potentially disrupt the flow of your business..
Culture is the glue that holds organizations together…you want your employees to be excited about coming to work, and have an in-depth understanding of the environment they work in and company they work for.
What are the culture types?
There are 8 culture types, each with its own set of strengths, weaknesses and unique identifiers, they are:
These companies pride themselves on taking care of their employees. They often have extensive benefits packages and are very focused on work/life balance, as well as employee collaboration. Employees of Caring Culture Workplaces often help one another and become invested in one another’s success.
The downside of these cultures is that they can be seen as “coddling” by some employees, and they may not be as driven to achieve results.
These companies exist to achieve a greater good, not just to make money. They are often mission-driven and values-based, and this extends to the mindset(s) of their employees, too! The purpose driving the company is often one that is highly important to employees and unites your entire team.
If there’s any potential ‘con’ to a purpose-driven culture, it’s that they can be overly idealistic and may have difficulty making tough decisions.
Example: Whole Foods
These companies believe that learning is a lifelong process and invest heavily in employee development. They are often very open to new ideas and adapting new (or altering) practices.
The downside of these cultures is that they can be seen as “flighty” by some employees, and they may not be as focused on achieving results.
These companies are all about having fun while you work! They often prioritize comfortability and have a very informal structure; they typically encourage employee creativity, flexibility and collaboration.
Although a more playful work environment sounds appealing to some, note that they can be seen as unprofessional and employees may not take their work seriously if there aren’t clear boundaries and expectations set out…a well written, concise employee handbook can help with that!
These companies are focused on achieving results, and often have a very competitive environment. The upside of these cultures is that they are highly productive and achieve great results.
The downside is that they can be very stressful and may not be as conducive to employee development. Decisions may also be made unilaterally, as many results-oriented companies opt for a hierarchical structure.
These companies believe in a top-down approach to management, and often have a very hierarchical structure as well. The benefit to an authority-style culture is that they are very efficient and decisions are made quickly.
Unfortunately, they have potential to be inflexible and may not be as open to new ideas or encouraging employees to think outside the box or ‘grow’ in their roles.
Safe or ‘Risk-Conscious’:
These companies prioritize safety and security, and often have very strict rules and regulations. The upside of these cultures is that they are very safe and employees feel secure.
The downside is that they can be seen as overly cautious and may not be as innovative.
Example: Public sector entities, Government agencies
Order, or ‘Structure’:
These companies are very organized and follow a set of strict procedures. Cultures with order and structure are efficient and employees know exactly what is expected of them.
Similar to authority cultures, they may not be as open to new ideas and things may run on a very strict schedule.
Example: Big Banks like TD, CIBC, RBC
I know which culture I want for my company. Now what?
It is important to note that defining your company culture isn’t always a ‘black and white’ scenario (it is possible that your company culture is a combination of two). But, defining what your primary and secondary cultures are is still vital!
If you want to learn more about company culture and how to improve it, or if you need help defining it, an HR professional can help you define and establish yours as your company grows.
Establishing a company culture that clearly aligns with your mission, values, goals and structure of operations will help ensure that you attract and retain the best team, and that your company operates well across all departments, and with a unified rhythm and understanding of workplace culture!
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