Do you know what your company culture is? #CultureCode

SlideShare’s #CultureCode campaign revealed a series of great company cultures expressed through visually inspiring documents. This open invitation spurred more and more replies as different cultures and values opened a serious discussion on the importance and ROI of having a healthy and well-defined company culture.

But for some companies, uploading a document with their company culture is not that easy. And it’s not because they don’t have one. It’s because many organizations are not yet sure where their culture is at, how to define it and analyze its impact.

Our mission at Hppy is to inspire and promote workplace happiness. That’s why we decided to take the #CultureCode challenge to the next step and help you assess your own company culture.

We took the Apocalypse metaphor to the next level and created “The 7 Seals of Company Culture” that will protect your business.

7 culture examples from 7 brands who came to be defined by their cultures

1. Keep talking about your culture

Zingerman’s started out in 1982 with only one store. Their company culture is what drives their uniqueness and exceptional service.They realized from the very beginning that they need to define themselves and their culture. Every decision from there on could easily support and reinforce their mission statement:

  • We share the Zingerman’s Experience:
  • Selling food that makes you happy
  • Giving service that makes you smile
  • In passionate pursuit of our mission
  • Showing love and care in all our actions
  • To enrich as many lives as we possibly can.

As Bo Burlingham puts it in his article The Coolest Small Company in America:  Zingerman’s has a passionate, challenging culture and corned beef on rye to die for.

Inspired by their culture? Then these 12 natural laws of business should be a great start to power-up your own company culture.

2. Encourage people to dare to be different

HubSpot – the lovable company that revolutionized online marketing. They believe that a great culture helps people deliver their best work. To achieve their mission, they are constantly putting an incredible amount of passion and dedication into everything they do.

They dare to be different and they’re committed to helping other organizations achieve the same.

3. Follow your vision. Create a cult, not a company.

Admit it, if I say Apple right now are you thinking of the fruit or the company? As Steve Tobak puts it: Apple’s culture is like a genetic mutation of the corporate America genome. A mutation that should be studied and replicated wherever possible.

Being part of a company like Apple makes you feel like you really are part of something bigger, something that changed the world. A culture that binds people to such a level that they will forever be defined by it is a cult-like culture, that all companies should aspire to.

“You are part of something much bigger than you. The ideas you talk about in the hall, the neat tricks you figured out in CSS, the new unibody machining technique, that’s part of your job, something you are paid to do for Apple’s success, not something you need to blog about to satisfy your ego. Don’t f— it up for everyone.”

Justin Maxwell, former user interface designer at Apple (source)

4. Foster happiness in the workplace.

When he built Zappos, Tony Hsieh knew it would be a unique company. Its employee culture now stands as a benchmark for workplace happiness.

At Zappos, people are valued as a whole, for who they are. Cultural compatibility is so important that they hold two recruitment interviews, one for technical ability and one for culture fit.

Of these 10 Zappos Core Values, which ones apply best to your business?

1. Deliver Wow Through Service
2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
4. Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth and Learning
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8. Do More with Less
9. Be Passionate and Determined
10. Be Humble

“So many people when they go to the office, they leave a little bit of themselves at home, or a lot of themselves at home. And they have to put on this different persona in the office, especially in corporate environments. And our whole…there’s a lot of talk about work life separation or balance and so on, whereas our whole thing is about work life integration. It’s just life.”

Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO (source)

5. Just do it.

Like Apple, Nike has a cult-like culture. This fifth seal, however, focuses on doing things, evolving and innovating.

“Figure out where you want your career to go, and when you see something that would help you get there, ask us for it.”

Nelson Farris, NIKE Inc.’s director of corporate education (source)

These maxims are at the heart of Nike’s #CultureCode:

“It is our nature to innovate.”
“Nike is a company.”
“Nike is a brand.”
“Simplify and go.”
“The consumer decides.”
“Be a sponge.”
“Evolve immediately.”
“Do the right thing.”
“Master the fundamentals.”
“We are on the offense–always.”
“Remember the Man.”

6. Do your own “thing”. What makes you YOU?

Employees at Twitter love the company’s flexibility. Engineers are allowed to work on multiple projects, with very few restrictions. They can also choose to develop their skills in their very own Twitter University or do an engineering exchange with Etsy.

Twitter does its own thing and employees love it. They encourage open communities, open culture, freedom of speech and the notion that all ideas should be free. In Twitter’s quarterly global “Tea Time”, the company’s founders answer any question that any employee has. Their culture is defined by their unique stand on how they want their company to function.

“There’s a strong feeling that we’re all in this together, and that ideas should be discussed in the open and really debated (…) I think the product and the desire to work on that product to change the world really drives a certain culture inside Twitter. (…) We have trust in every single person to go make a difference on the product in some way.”

Chris Fry, Twitter’s senior VP of engineering (source)

7. Never stop learning.

Founded in 1971, Southwest Airlines has shown the irreplaceable value of company culture.

A culture of constant learning that made it the fourth largest airline in the USA in terms of domestic passenger miles flown today.

“We are committed to provide our employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest customer.”

Most of Southwest Airlines’ employee training takes place at Love Field Airport-based University of People. Yes, they have a University of their own to provide employees with learning opportunities.

The center is equipped with four classrooms, a dining room, a reception area and office space for its staff of twelve: six full-time instructors, two managers and four administrative support staff.

“It’s great to be located in an airport facility. When out-of-town participants arrive, they can walk directly to the University and return to their gates for departure.”

Liz Simmons, director of Corporate Learning and Development—a division of the People Department (source)

Image via under C.C.0 license