Why it matters to have a strong company culture

Written by



September 27, 2021

Over the last two years, many organisations have found themselves under enormous pressure to adapt to a rapidly changing world. During these times of uncertainty and recovery, the role of a robust company culture shouldn’t be forgotten. By looking inward to find ways of overcoming challenges and promoting a unified company culture, organisations can move forward through uncertainty and emerge in a far stronger position than they were before.

Why is a strong company culture important?

Your company culture is defined by how your identity and core values unify your employees towards a single goal, and how your brand is represented in the public mind. 

When an organisation has a strong and positive culture, employees understand their unique purpose and are motivated to give their best.

By inspiring employees and aligning organisational goals with core values, a strong culture creates a powerful environment for problem-solving, innovation, and agility. Essentially, a strong company culture creates an environment where everyone can get on board to achieve goals together.

What are the characteristics of a good company culture?

There is no one-size-fits-all company culture to adhere to. Instead, it’s about ensuring that the culture actively works to support the growth and position of your organisation. In general terms, a strong company culture has the following elements:

  • Bold vision – An organisation’s ‘vision’ outlines the core values of the company and what it wants to achieve, so everyone is working towards a common long-term goal. Simple, unambiguous, and grand, great company visions can be summed up in one sentence or phrase. Oxfam, for example, has “a just world without poverty”. It is a straightforward and compelling statement about what they care about and what they’re here to achieve.

  • Clear values – Clear values are next, providing a type of roadmap that not only attracts talent and investors who share those values but shows employees what matters in the workplace. Values shouldn’t be vague or too general or they won’t resonate. Instead, think of clear core ideas that people can unify behind and become excited about.

  • People power – A company culture means nothing if there aren’t people who embody its values on a day-to-day basis. Employees need to feel empowered by the company culture and want to represent it by acting as brand ambassadors or ‘cultural influencers’ for new employees. When this is the case, employees are far more likely to be motivated, engaged and satisfied with their work.

  • Aligned practices – In a positive and robust work environment, company culture is backed up by practices that align with your mission and core values. These should be designed so that employees can be supported at every level in their efforts to embody the company culture.

If you are unsure about the strength of your organisational culture, we have a useful article on how to measure organisational culture, complete with actionable, practical methods of achieving this.

What are the benefits of company culture?

A strong organisational culture has many benefits, with the most notable being:

  • Talent acquisition – A positive company culture is foundational to your Employer Value Proposition (EVP), showing potential employees who you are, what you stand for, and why they would want to work with you. A strong culture will not only help attract new hires but it can be influential during the onboarding process, as new hires will better understand expectations whilst also connecting with their peers over shared goals and values.

  • Lower employee turnover – High turnover rates often reflect a poor organisational culture. This is because when organisational values aren’t clear or aligned with employee values, people are more likely to become disengaged and seek out a job where they feel as though their role has more clarity and purpose.

  • Higher employee morale and engagement – A strong purpose and vision, when matched by meaningful practices, provides great support to employees, helping them further their own careers and find meaning in their role. This motivates people to be more engaged, enthusiastic and dedicated to their work.

  • A stronger public image of your brand – Organisational culture has a powerful impact on how the public sees your brand. When you tell people who you are and can back your vision up with practices, projects and achievements that support it, you build authenticity, trust, and respect amongst the general public.

How a company culture attracts and retains talent

When a company culture is working, it brings existing employees together under a single banner and attracts new hires who want to be a part of this vision. 77% of people consider a company’s culture before applying for a job, and half of all surveyed workers in the US, UK, France and Germany feel that a good culture is more important than the salary itself. 

The stronger your company culture, the better your access to great employees who share these values which in turn makes your culture even more impactful. This creates a cycle that can develop into an effective and rewarding team development and talent funnel.

A good example of the power of a strong, positive workplace culture for attracting and retaining talent is AstraZeneca. According to Glassdoor, the company has been voted the best place to work in the UK by employees - and their culture is directly cited as a key reason for this. In their drive to innovate and lead the industry, they actively promote diversity and inclusion, and the hiring process includes value-based questions to ensure that their culture and values are supported by the people they hire. 

If your company culture is not working, the effects can be significantly reversed. Employees who feel unsupported or undervalued in their role, who feel their values are being compromised or their work does not have a meaningful purpose are more likely to become disengaged or leave. And these effects should not be underestimated – around 1 in 5 UK employees have left their place of work as a direct result of negative company culture. 

This has a significant impact on geographic, gender, and generational diversity, affecting the ability of an organisation to hold onto talent in specific, key demographics. Reports show that in London alone, 36% of employees left their job due to a culture issue, 23% of women and 23.5% of 18–34-year-olds in the UK chose to leave a company for reasons relating to toxic workplace culture. All in, toxic workplace culture or poor workplace culture is costing the economy an astonishing £15.7 billion each year.

Reap the rewards of a strong company culture with Totem

Totem is a company culture app that allows employees to collect, whilst also helping managers utilise actionable data on employee performance and organisational culture without the need to develop their own surveys. Get honest and actionable Culture Insights using the latest in machine learning and language analysis. Get started for free today!