5 Characteristics of a Great Company Culture

UPDATED: September 26, 2015
PUBLISHED: January 9, 2015

A few weeks ago, we celebrated our annual 180 Communications Christmas party—a remarkable mixing of our personal and professional lives. I know inside other offices and companies, it’s a dreaded annual obligation, but while at our event, I witnessed pretty amazing camaraderie between our team and family members. From a home-cooked meal to a White Elephant gift exchange that left us all laughing, the focus was very clearly on strengthening our bonds, and by the end of the night, it became apparent that relationship-buildingis a key component to our company’s success. 

No doubt, a business’s work culture has a powerful impact on performance. Behind every winning organization is a unique identity, one that sets it apart from others and gives employees a strong sense of belonging, ownership, value and meaning. They know their work matters, and that feeling inspires them to create passionately for the company.

Any successful relationship must have these same factors to ensure success. There are elements within our personal relationships that can be applied directly to improving a team of professionals. By focusing on these five factors of relationship-building, you are investing in the future success of your company.

1. Honesty. In great companies, as in strong personal relationships, there is a high level of integrity in every interaction, from the bottom of the ladder to the top. All stakeholders hold themselves to the same standard of open communication when giving advice, receiving constructive criticism or discussing client interactions. Honesty allows an environment of trust, openness and authentic gratitude to be the norm.

2. Performance-based metrics. Employees are not all wired the same, and each one measures success in different ways. A company that understands the motivations that drive each individual employee knows the value of active team-building. By being in sync with what inspires each person and determining how they define success, a company can become innovative in a very personal way. 

3. Accountability. A strong company creates an accountability system for every role and responsibility on a team. Work becomes more personal as a higher element of transparency is required and ownership of goals becomes shared. Accountability ensures the whole staff has a personal stake in every project, so there’s a built-in sense of appreciation for each person’s contributions. This, in turn, opens up the opportunity to celebrate employee accomplishments.

4. Cooperation. The best ideas come from dynamic group effort. A great company knows it is imperative that sharing and collaboration be welcome among the team. Individuals who feel that their opinions and ideas are respected will more frequently volunteer their thoughts, and the team as a whole will benefit from a variety of perspectives and creative angles.

5. Ambition. Last but not least, fostering strong ambition within the company culture is an often overlooked key to a driven, successful team. Establishing a standard of excellence creates something that your team can believe in and trust. By implementing growth goals, everything is considered within the lens of expanding potential, from daily objectives and measurements of success to celebrating accomplishments and getting to know employees on a more personal level.

That little slice of out-of-the-office interaction demonstrated to me that through building our relationships, trust, motivation, accountability, cooperation and ambition unite our team. It is truly a culture of greatness.

How can you challenge your team to a greater level of relationship-building?

Check out Jim Rohn’s 8 essentials of healthy relationships to make sure yours are fulfilling and rich with meaning.

Lee Williams is a full-time writer, creator of the Communication Activist blog, and has established a growing career in public relations and journalism. He resides in Florida.