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3 Exceptional Company Cultures

“The thing that will endure for 100 years, the way it has for most 100 year companies, is the culture. The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products.” Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb.

Beautifully said, isn’t it? Once more, it shows us the importance of culture in a company; Airbnb could not have become the global challenger it is today without the commitment of its CEO to build a strong company culture.

Earlier this week we spoke about culture fit and how crucial this is for an organisation. There are probably as many company cultures as there are companies, and whether you like them or not is a matter of personal preferences. In our Friday spirit however, we wanted to share 3 inspiring cultures with you that we think stand out.

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1. Valve

No managers -Flatland as they call it-, no one telling you what to work on and no fixed desk, team or function. These are just a few of the many things that make working at Video game developer Valve a unique experience. Over time, the organisation’s flat structure has become a recruiting tool in itself. An excerpt from the company’s culture book describes this perfectly: “We do have a founder/president, but even he isn’t your manager. This company is yours to steer – towards opportunities and away from risks.” As responsibility lies with everyone, people believe the single most important thing for the company is hiring the right people, everything else comes -a long way- after that. New employees are supposed to read the before mentioned Handbook. This book is meant to guide the most recent members of the Valve team through the rather unusual way things are being done and help them find their way in the company. Illustrations on ‘How to move your desk from one place to another’, ‘How to work without a boss’ and ‘How to figure out what’s going on’ are among the many things that are explained in the Handbook, which makes for quite an interesting read!

2. Pixar

Frozen, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, who hasn’t seen and loved these movies? Pixar has made countless films that are true pieces of art and many of them are classics already. Culture wise there are three relatively simple rules the company tries to live by. The most important one is to put people first. At Pixar, as well as at Valve, the company believes that ideas come from people and therefore people are an organisation’s most valuable resource that is to be cherished. Pixar’s second principle is purpose. A company needs to concentrate on a purpose that makes its employees proud to be working there. In this particular case that would be ‘making great films.’ The last pillar of the Pixar culture is about encouraging people to speak their mind and share their thoughts. Literally -everyone- can make a difference or come up with the next brilliant idea for a fantastic new film.

3. Southwest Airlines

It might not be the first type of company that comes to mind when you think of cool company cultures, but Southwest Airlines consistently scores well in ‘favourite places to work’ rankings. The number one reason for that is the company culture. At Southwest, the organisation puts its employees above all else. Again, this might seem strange for a company in an industry that is as much customer orientated and competitive as the airline business. The Southwest Airlines philosophy however, is employees first, customers second and shareholders third. The idea behind this way of thinking is simple: Happy Employees=Happy Customers=Increased Business/Profits=Happy Shareholders. Makes sense, right? Southwest employees, like Pixar employees, have a sense of purpose and they ‘Live The Southwest Way’ meaning they have a ‘Warrior Spirit, a Servant’s Heart and a FunLUVing Attitude’. The latter reminding them, among other things, not to take themselves too seriously. We like it!

Did you find this interesting? More articles on HR-tech can be found in our HR Tech Blog overview.

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