Corporate Culture has been a hot button topic in recent years. Considering the employee engagement rate in our nation is at an all time low (less than 30%), it’s easy to see why making the office an enjoyable place to be is even more important than ever before. Below are a few exemplarily approaches to corporate culture in the business world that are worth their weight in gold and company return. 


Yvonne Chinouard let’s his people go surfing. At Patagonia, the California based outdoor sportswear company, how employees do their jobs is just as important as how they live their lives. Employees are encouraged to leave their desks during the day to take a walk, go for a bike ride, surf, hike, or whatever outdoor activity strikes their fancy. Patagonia strongly believes in having a flexible work-life balance and that time spent outside the office creates better fuel for work done in the office during the workday.  They measure creativity and productivity in terms of quality, not quantity of hours sitting in an office staring at a screen, a standard employees identify with. With nearly 2000 people in their workforce, Patagonia’s turnover rate is in the single digits which saves them time and money in hiring processes.


At Google, one of the world’s largest tech companies, no employee is more important than another employee. They operate on a flat-management system, meaning the company founders or a newly hired employee could be making innovative and strategic decisions one minute and then restocking snacks in the cafeteria the next. They operate on the principle of trust, a rare concept in the corporate world of modern day. In fact, they consider it Trust Capital, an asset just as crucial to their net worth as the dollar signs. What does this give them in return? For one, employee engagement is extremely high compared to the national average. When company surveys are sent out to employees (over 50,000!), the response rate is over 90% - huge compared to most organizations of scale. Most importantly, their trusting, collaborative, employee-driven environment has allowed for some of the greatest technical advances and innovations to date, making their return on corporate culture immeasurable.


Zappos is a customer service company that happens to sell shoes. It’s also considered one of the best places to work. When explaining the Zappos’ approach to corporate culture, Tony Hsieh says, “It's about giving employees permission and encouraging them to just be themselves.” Zappos employees are encouraged to create the culture they want to be a part of.  In fact, if an employee doesn’t feel like Zappos is the right fit for them, they’re actually paid $2000 to leave the company no questions asked. While that might seem like an easy way to make a quick buck, Zappos doesn’t have to write those kind of checks checks often. Their culture is such that most employees enjoy their jobs and want to stay, keeping their turnover rate and hiring costs at a very dull roar. The company’s success for all it’s cultural and customer service efforts are hard to ignore. Their aim to keep employees happy and make customers happy has allowed them to hit over $1 billion in sales each year.


What these examples show us is that corporate culture matters. It is ultimately the strongest root in a company’s health and successes. Employee engagement, productivity, and innovation all start and end with the environment they work in.  So if employees feel compressed in the office, their work will suffer. If they feel valued and encouraged to think outside the box, their work will exceed expectations. Sometimes the difference is just a little breathing room. This little difference for them makes a huge difference for you, the company. Happier employees are much more apt to being or becoming healthy employees. Healthy employees are good for everyone, especially for business and for your bottom line.