What Is Your Company Culture & Why It Matters?

All workplaces have one thing in common: their own unique culture. At Soteria, we offer a la carte and on-site services. Regardless of how we work with you, we like to become immersed in your culture. We customize our services to support and enhance your company culture because culture is a significant contributor to overall company success.

The Vital Importance of Company Culture

The quality of a company’s culture is inextricably linked with its financial success as well as its perceived worth overall. In a Columbia Business School study, 92% of those surveyed said that improving their culture would increase their company’s value. This is striking because the respondents were not HR professionals or consultants. They were CFO’s, comptrollers, treasurers, and other executives with financial functions.

Also, one in five Americans has left a job in the past five years due to bad company culture. Just the cost of that turnover is an estimated $223 billion, according to an SHRM study.

What Type of Company Culture Do You Have?

Categorizing basic types of cultures can help executives and employees be more effective and work within accurate expectations. Let’s look at four primary cultures.

  1. Hierarchy culture

    A hierarchy culture (also known as a “control culture”) applies to work environments that are more structured and process-oriented. Existing procedures dictate activities and decisions rather than innovation and freethinking. Leaders are in place to ensure that their teams run like well-oiled machines, and their primary focus is on stability, results, and reliable delivery.

    Most government organizations will use a hierarchical culture because they must adhere to numerous regulations. Therefore, they prioritize policies and procedures. Employees are provided with clearly outlined paths for advancement. These companies minimize uncertainty in day-to-day operational processes.

  2. Market culture

    The market-style culture is also called a “compete culture,” because the company prioritizes results. These are results-driven, market-orientated, and extremely competitive environments. Employees are highly goal-focused and leaders are tough and demanding focused on achieving defined success metrics. Often, these are high-pressure environments, but also rewarding. This culture is thought to be the most aggressive – think of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or the late Steve Jobs as prime examples of market culture leaders.

  3. Clan culture

    Some consider clan culture (also known as collaborate culture) as the opposite of market culture. Clan cultures have a friendly working environment where the company focuses on relationships, morale, participation and consensus. Managers are looked to as mentors rather than figureheads who dish out instructions and reprimands.

    You may have heard people refer to their coworkers as their family because there is an emphasis on teamwork and togetherness. Zappos was known for having this type of culture. Tony Hsieh, Zappos ex-CEO, even wrote a book on their culture of happiness. He believed that when employees feel like a part of a tribe, they are motivated by a sense of purpose and obligation to the whole team to work harder and treat each other well.

  4. Adhocracy culture

    A workplace with an adhocracy culture fosters a very entrepreneurial type of work environment, where employees are encouraged to take risks and aggressively pursue out-of-the-box ideas. You may have heard this culture also referred to as the “create culture.”

    This culture can produce innovation, learning, and growth – for employees and the organization as a whole. Employees can feel secure to try out new concepts, but some may feel a lack of stability because there may be constant changes in projects, technology, and personnel. Google is known for its adhocracy culture and focuses on continuous innovation to improve and launch new products.

You may have elements of each of these culture types within your own company. Your culture is the heart of your organization and it’s a participatory effort from your employees, HR team and leadership. It pays to be intentional when developing and fostering your company culture to ensure employee satisfaction and productivity.





James Harwood