Defining Culture: What Is Company Culture? | Executive Recruiters | Best Executive Search Firm

      Defining Culture

      What Is Company Culture?

      Company culture is the term for the behaviors and attitudes of an organization and its employees. Also known as “corporate culture,” “organizational culture,” or “workplace culture,” company culture can be seen in the interactions of the people in an organization with each other, along with the values and decisions that they make.

      Company culture focuses on several different factors, including (but not limited to):

      • Company vision
      • Work environment
      • Values and ethics
      • Leadership style
      • Company goals and objectives
      • Expectations

      How Does Company Culture Work?

      Company culture can be deliberately grown, or it can result from multiple decisions made over time. A strong company culture ensures employees understand the expected outcomes and then act out according to that.

      Different companies have different cultures, as some have:

      • A team-based culture to highlight employee participation at all levels
      • A formal culture where hierarchical management handles everything
      • A typical management style and structure, in which your job responsibilities are clearly defined (This could mean that you will not have the opportunity to excel without going through the process of formal transfer or promotion procedure.)
      • A casual workplace, where there is an opportunity to work on new projects and expand a role organically

      Elements of Corporate Culture

      • Common purpose
      • Coordinated effort
      • Division of labor
      • Hierarchy of authority

      How to Identify Company Culture: 5 Steps

      To hone-in on a company’s culture, take these five steps:

      1. Check the company’s website.
      2. Do research.
      3. Ask around.
      4. Shadow someone.
      5. Ask the right questions in an interview.

      Below is a closer look at how each of these elements can crucially highlight company culture and what you can learn from them.

      1. Check the Company’s website

      While visiting the website of a company, look for the “About Us” page. It contains a description of the values and mission of the company. Some companies have employees’ testimonials, which you can read to learn more about the culture of a company.

      2. Do Research

      A company’s online reviews can help you to identify what culture prevails over there. Some websites provide ratings and reviews sections for companies that employees fill out.

      3. Ask Around

      A formal discussion with a person working in a company that you want to learn about can help you to understand their culture. Check on LinkedIn about the company and connections that are working over there.

      4. Shadow someone.

      If you have a job offer in your hand and you are not sure about the culture of that company, you can ask if someone can help you to shadow them for some time or a day. It can be helpful for you to understand workplace dynamics.

      5. Ask the right questions in an interview.

      While being on a job interview, there will be many questions from the employer side to assess if you are fit for the company or not. However, you can also ask questions, like what is day-to-day work schedule or amount of teamwork vs independent work.

      How to Improve Company Culture: 4 Key Steps

      As a leader of human resource management, your job is to help improve company culture. A good company’s culture does not happen by itself, but it takes time, effort, and planning. Here are four critical steps that explain how to improve company culture in any organization:

      1. Build a strong relationship with employees
      2. Build a purpose to connect people
      3. Encourage employee recognition
      4. Transparency and communication

      The following delves into each step more, explaining why it matters and how it can foster and enhance company culture.

      1. Build a strong relationship with employees

      Leaders play an important role in shaping the culture of a corporate. It has been seen that if the leader’s and employer’s relationship is weak and negative, there will be a disconnection in other aspects of culture as well.

      It is better if leaders become mentors and actively advocate for the development of better culture by producing meaningful opportunities and deeply connecting with one another. So, it is important for the leaders to develop the habit of working closely with the people who report them. Managers should be cheerleading their employees instead of being gatekeepers to their internal careers. With an active leader, a better culture in the workplace promotes.

      2. Build a purpose to connect people

      It is essential to connect the employees over a central purpose for improving company culture. Without any kind of purpose, it is not possible to identify the things that are needed to be done, like helping others, making an impact, or changing the world.

      The purpose is completely different from the mission, as a mission is something that you do, but the purpose is why you do that. Your mission is compliant with the purpose. With purpose, there is a 10% higher sense of responsibility at work which improves work culture.

      Identifying purpose during the hiring process can make a difference. Attracting the right talent can be successful to find people who believe in the goals of the company. For making sure that your employees are contributing to the purpose of the organization, communicating it is the best way. Connecting the employees to the purpose can improve work culture.

      3. Encourage employee recognition

      Employee recognition is the most considerable way to improve workplace culture. There is a difference between appreciation and recognition. Appreciation is valuing one’s unique point of view, talents, and attitude. While recognition is the act of showing appreciation.

      In a company where employees are recognized and appreciated, a better work culture fosters. There are many ways to show appreciation, like coming up with a recognition program can put it on high priority to make the work culture better in the organization. It does not have to be stopped in difficult times. Building a company culture of recognition in the organization can promote a better environment within the organization.

      4. Transparency and communication

      Another way to improve the work culture in your organization is that people communicate with each other. How leaders and teams are communicating with each other sends a message itself. With more transparency and feedback, companies tend to have a better environment for every employee.

      Organizations that do not communicate positive feelings damage their cultures and lose good employees. Transparency should be an important part of a company’s goals, and if it is not, then the culture suffers.

      Why Company Culture Is Important?

      Building company culture — and focusing on its ongoing improvement — cannot happen overnight. Those efforts require a commitment to:

      1. Truly understanding the current culture
      2. Implementing different strategies to continue to improve company culture

      A better work culture is valuable because it makes your workplace a better place to work and gives equal opportunities to all of your employees. That can assist in both the recruitment and retention of top talent, from the C-suite down.

      Top 25 Interview Questions to Assess Company Culture Fit

      1. What gets you excited about coming to work?
      2. What surprises people about you?
      3. What’s the biggest problem in most offices today?
      4. What did you like most/least about your last company?
      5. Where/when/how do you do your best work?
      6. How could a manager best support you?
      7. Describe the best/worst team-building exercise you have ever participated in.
      8. What three things do you need to succeed in this position?
      9. What motivates you to do your best work?
      10. How do you prefer to communicate with coworkers?
      11. Describe your dream job.
      12. What does a successful company culture look like to you?
      13. Who inspires you and why?
      14. How would you describe our company culture?
      15. How do you give/respond to critique?
      16. Which of our company’s core values do you most/least identify with?
      17. What does work-life balance mean to you? 
      18. What role does kindness/empathy/humour play at work?
      19. What does your decision-making process look like?
      20. Would you rather work alone or with a team?
      21. What would be your ideal work schedule?
      22. Would you describe yourself as an introvert or extrovert? Why?
      23. What type of learner are you? (visual, kinesthetic, etc.)
      24. Do you prefer to be looped-in for every step of the decision making process or only once a decision is made?
      25. What management style motivates you to do your best work?

      How to Test for Personality, Behavior, Company Objectives & Culture

      Coupled with our ability to source qualified candidates, Cowen Partners uses scientifically proven methods to test for personality, behavior, company objectives, and culture in order to find the best candidates for our clients. No more wasted time on subjective screening and inherent bias’, our screening process lets you focus on the best people for the job.

      National Executive Search Firm | How We Help


      Our hands-on executive recruiters have experience working with private, public, pre-IPO, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million in revenue to Fortune 1000’s or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite – CEOChief Operating OfficerChief Financial Officer, and include vice presidentgeneral counsel, and other director-level leadership roles.

      Cowen Partners delivers 3X more qualified candidates than the competition. Through our proven retained executive search process, we find, vet, and deliver the top 1% of candidates for positions across the C-suite. Our process works for all industries, including technologyhealthcaremanufacturingretailreal estatefinancial serviceprivate equity, and more.

      Learn how we deliver top talent, no matter the need, with our industry-leading research and resources. Discover the strategy that made Cowen Partners the top retained executive search firm in New York CityAnchorage, Miami, Boston, Denver, Chicago, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Seattle, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and beyond.

      Cowen Partners is proud to provide the highest quality diversity executive recruitment services to all major and minor industries, including (but not limited to):

      Accounting, Advertising, Aerospace & Defense, Biotechnology, Banking, Credit Unions, Board and CEO Services, Computer Hardware, Construction, Consulting, Consumer Products, Computer Software and Hardware, Education, Energy & Utilities, Entertainment & Sports, Finance, Financial Services, Food Products, Government, Human Resources, Health Care, Hospitality & Tourism, Insurance, Industrial, Internet & New Media, Legal, Tax, Crypto, Bitcoin, Private Equity, Journalism & Publishing, MarketingManufacturing, Medical Device, Non-Profit, Pharmaceutical, Private EquityReal Estate, Retail & Apparel, SalesTechnology, Telecommunications and Transportation.

      Get in Touch.

      Fill out the email request form to learn more about our approach.

        [honeypot website]