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Types of Company Culture

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Culture is everywhere. It is the glue that dictates the social norms of a people group and keeps them united. It creates traditions and social patterns.

Company culture functions similarly to societal culture. It is the root of retention rates, employee satisfaction, and productivity. Yet, some businesses continue to put company culture on the back burner when it should be at the forefront of their minds.

Why is it so essential to implement a positive culture in a company?

When you create a positive culture, not only will your employees thrive, but your company will too.

There are several different terms and ways to describe the various cultural models for businesses. The five most common company cultures are team-oriented, conventional, elite, progressive, and horizontal culture.

Team-Oriented Culture

The team-oriented culture is exactly what it sounds like: team-oriented. In this workplace, leadership places culture above everything else. When hiring, it’s more important for the prospective team member to fit the company culture. Experience and skill come second to culture.

As an employee, when your company prioritizes you, it produces a positive work environment. It increases productivity and company growth. In companies that implement this culture, retention rates are usually low. Team members feel comfortable providing new ideas and feedback. When a company promotes a team-oriented culture, the team is encouraged to practice self-care, which increases productivity in the workplace.

An example of a team-oriented culture is Google. Google places their employees at the front of everything they do. As a result, employees receive a myriad of benefits, which improves retention rates. Also, they are free to share ideas and work creatively and collaboratively.

So, what’s the catch?

If a team is too comfortable, this could spark laziness. Providing comfort for your employees is a positive thing. Self-care is important. However, your team still needs to be pushed to produce their best work. You’re running a business that relies on your team’s hard work.

No workplace culture will ever be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for the best.

Overall, a team-oriented culture produces a healthy and positive work environment for the team, which will reflect in their work and interaction with customers. There are a few things to be careful about, but that doesn’t mean that this culture isn’t right for you.

Conventional Culture

Traditional companies often gravitate toward conventional culture. In this cultural setting, there are clearly defined roles and responsibilities. There is structure in these workplaces with traditional rules such as having a formal dress code.

This creates a more hierarchical environment, which doesn’t give as much leeway for collaboration and teamwork. However, this is an excellent workplace for people who thrive under structure and order. There is also a level of professionalism and a high standard of excellence in these businesses.

Law firms and financial businesses usually adhere to this type of culture. Many businesses are straying from this work culture outside of these companies and look toward newer cultures that encourage individualism and collaboration.

In a healthy conventional company culture, employees can thrive. However, companies that gravitate toward this type of culture need to be wary of a couple of things. Rules and routines are good things, but when they become so rigid that employees are not allowed to question them or change up their routines, this can become dangerous.

Encourage free-thinking, but also implement professionalism. Just because your company has a conventional culture does not mean that you can’t care for your employees and encourage collaboration and creativity. 

Elite Culture

Elite culture is revolutionary and innovative. There is nothing like it. Many small startup companies have this mindset. They started their company because they want to change the industry with their unconventional strategies and ways of doing business.

This type of culture dreams big and works hard to meet those dreams. Team members are risk-takers and strive to think outside the box. Elite culture seeks to change the world and does business differently than those in the same industry.

In elite culture, companies give their team room to grow and think creatively, which welcomes collaboration. 

An example of elite culture is Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A generates more revenue than most fast-food restaurants in the United States. During the COVID-19 breakout, Chick-fil-A’s revenue was $4.3 billion compared to $3.8 billion in 2019. It increased despite closing its dining. 

Instead of waiting for COVID-19 to blow over, Chick-fil-A reevaluated how they did business. They were already experts at efficient drive-thru services, but this time they made it better not only for the customers but for their employees.

Even though Chick-fil-A employees had to be outside, they had warm jackets for the winter and a patio cover with misters for the summer. They were also on a rotation schedule to avoid overheating or freezing depending on the weather.

When business culture gives employees room to dream big and follow those dreams, revenue goes up, and so does employee satisfaction and productivity. 

Progressive Culture

Progressive culture is centered around change for the betterment of the company and its team members. 

This culture gives leeway for company leaders to rework the business’s mission statement and clarify and redefine goals. It allows leadership to rethink company culture and shift toward new ideas and plans.

With company culture and efficiency at the forefront of the mind, leaders can change their leadership style from directive to supportive. Many leaders in progressive company cultures avoid directive leadership which can be fear-based and less personable. Instead, supportive leadership is empathetic with employees while still establishing mutual respect between leaders and team members.

Similar to elite culture, progressive culture allows room for growth and new ideas. Transparency, creativity, and effective communication are key for a progressive company culture to thrive.

Horizontal Culture

Horizontal culture is common in startup companies. There is no clearly defined hierarchy of power. Instead, this company culture promotes a collaborative mindset. Work is more fluid, which also reflects in everyone’s respective roles. Team members help one another, even if the task is not in their job description.

This culture is common in startup companies or small businesses due to its emphasis on collaboration. With larger companies, workplaces usually hire employees who specialize in particular fields. There are more divisions and teams under the overarching company.

However, startup companies can’t afford to hire many people to make up different departments in the company. As a result, team members must learn to work together and problem solve even if it’s outside their “area of expertise.” There is overlap in occupations. Whereas, in a large company, employees are removed from departments outside of their expertise. This can cause a loss of vision in companies.

An example of this is Ziba, a social online shopping platform. Founder, chief, and creative director Sohrab Vossoughi stated that when her company was a startup, designers, copywriters, and everyone in between were all in the same room. There was constant communication on what was happening and what everyone was working on.

Horizontal culture also implements a corporate mindset. Everyone is united under the company’s mission and vision. If team members have a clear idea of the company’s goal, they will know how to execute their tasks more efficiently.

Corporate Chaplains of America Improves Culture

There will always be pros and cons to the different company cultures. The best company culture may even be a hybrid of two from this list. It also depends on your industry.

Whatever company culture you have, Corporate Chaplains of America is here to help you boost your employee satisfaction. Whether a small or large company, your team members are the life and breath of the business. Without them, nothing could get done.

Corporate Chaplains of America seeks to find the trouble spots within your company culture and help improve employee satisfaction. Unfortunately, life happens, and we want to walk with your team every step of the way – in the good and the bad times.

Our chaplains are available 24/7 for you and your team. When your team has someone available to talk about anything, it can automatically improve your company culture. We’re here to help, so you can run your business effectively and in a positive working environment.

Is your company culture holding your business back?

Download our informational PDF guide “The Company Culture Advantage” to find out how your team’s culture could benefit from a dedicated Corporate Chaplain.