In Great Company

November 14, 2012

Last week Kate and I had the privilege of hitting the road and sitting down with a clients’ employees to find out what makes their culture special and different. We’ve done employee focus groups many times, and I usually get a feel for a culture within the first five to 10 minutes of being in the room.

In this case, we knew we were in great company even sooner. It may sound overly simple, but when everyone you encounter is friendly and collegial, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re in the presence of a strong, positive corporate culture.

As always, we learned a great deal from our discussion with employees – including these key takeaways:

  • It’s about the work. If people feel like they’re doing meaningful, interesting work, they’re much more likely to feel positive about the culture they belong to.

  • It’s about the people. Think of how much time you spend with your colleagues every day. If you don’t like each other, work isn’t going to be a lot of fun. On the flip side, camaraderie and teamwork is something truly special. Beyond creating an enjoyable place to work, you’re also much more likely to produce higher quality work.

  • It’s about autonomy – and the freedom to innovate. Fans of Dan Pink are already familiar with this concept, and we heard it echoed from the employees we spoke with. A manager that trusts you to try new things is invaluable to a positive culture.

Do you work in an outstandingly awesome environment? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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