Tech Moguls Share Tips For Creating a Great Company Culture

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Organizational culture is a hot topic and is top of mind of just about every CEO in America.

Many business leaders have difficulty answering questions like, “what is your corporate culture?” A recent article from cultural assessment company Align to Thrive highlighted culture strategies from some of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing companies: Google and Netflix.

While many companies understand the importance of creating a great company culture and know their culture needs an update, it can be quite difficult to create change. If they like their current culture but don’t know how they created it, it can be difficult to protect it when the company grows.

Tech companies like Netflix and Google have taken an inventive approach toward organizational culture, effectively paving the way for massive growth. Emphasizing the freedom and innovation of employees, these companies’ belief systems have delivered results and fostered creativity.

Netflix Shares 7 Aspects of Their Culture

 One Silicon Valley company known for their great company culture and unique approach is Netflix. Netflix Co-Founder and CEO Reed Hastings laid out the video-streaming company’s approach to organizational culture in 2009.

The robust “Freedom and Responsibility” slideshow highlighted some of the methods Netflix uses to motivate their employees and take their organizational culture to the next level. Some of the company’s main beliefs are listed below.

  1. Values are shown by who is rewarded and promoted or let go. It’s not about the values that hang on the wall. It’s about actions. Look at who the company rewards, who they promote or who they fire. That will tell the real values they follow.
  2. High performance is essential. Adequate performance gets a generous severance package. They only keep the highest performing people.
  3. Freedom and responsibility are key. They increase employee freedom and responsibility as they grow to attract innovative thinkers.
  4. Context, not control – it’s about strategy and metrics vs. micromanaging. Give the person the right context and leave them alone to get the job done.
  5. Highly aligned, loosely coupled – Everyone’s on the same page and trusts that others on the team will execute.
  6. Always pay top of market and forget about titles.
  7. People are promoted when the job is big enough and when they are a super star in their current role and an extraordinary role model of the culture and values. They develop employees by empowering them to develop themselves.

Google’s Take On Growth and Culture

Another technology giant known for their innovative culture is Google. With more than 50,000 employees worldwide, the company’s culture model is certainly sustainable for growth.

Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Alphabet (formerly Google), former Senior Vice President of Products Jonathan Rosenberg and Google Director of Communications Alan Eagle wrote a book on Google’s organizational culture titled “How Google Works.” They believe a culture geared toward growth should have the following attributes:

  • Be comprised of Individuals and small teams that have massive impact.
  • Hire “Smart Creatives” that bring innovation, business expertise and creativity to the position.
  • Employees should have the freedom to create and innovate.
  • No formal plan or strategy – They have a solid foundation and a fluid plan.
  • A strong foundation should have the following three pillars:
    • Provide superior products based on unique technical insights.
    • Focus on optimization of growth, not revenue.
    • Know your competitors, but never imitate them.
  • Hiring is the most important thing you do – It’s all about the people.
  • Set unattainable goals, and then fail well.

At this point, you may understand many of the components that make up a great company culture, but reinventing a company’s beliefs and values isn’t going to happen overnight. You can find more tips on culture in the full article from Align to Thrive here.

If you’re looking to make a positive change for your culture, diagnosing your company’s current situation is a great starting point. Check out the Align to Thrive IC-8® Cultural Assessment to take the first step toward improving your company culture.