Company Culture:
Moving From Good to Great

What Moves Company Culture from Good to Great?

A resounding 95% of employed adults say a positive company culture is an important aspect of business generosity. We defined company culture as the shared values, attitudes, and practices that form the identity of a company.

When asked to grade their employer, one-third of employees said their current employer’s company culture is excellent (36%), and more than half said their company culture is good (57%). However, our study also highlights perceived threats to company culture, including flexibility and politics.

What are the biggest drivers of a positive company culture according to employees? There is a tie for the single most important aspect: between managers who care about employees as people (64%) and encouraging wellness and the full use of benefits (62%).

However, employees were asked to weigh in on a variety of other elements of a positive company culture, offering a full picture of what they value.

The vast majority (89-94%) of employees find all these aspects important for a positive company culture. The only item that trailed slightly behind was “more time in person.”

Does Flexibility Help or Hurt Company Culture?

Flexible work remains the most important request for all employees (94%). Fortunately, executives are aligned and increasingly offering flexible work environments (78% today vs. 68% in 2023).

However, one thing is clear: executives overwhelmingly (92%) do not believe an effective culture is possible when employees exclusively work from home. So, how can executives sustain a positive company culture while also offering employees the flexibility they desire?

Interestingly, most executives find their company culture is equally effective whether people work in the workplace (38%) or have flexibility over where and when they work (37%). To foster a strong company culture, the answers appear to lie in a hybrid approach that balances the need for flexibility with the importance of in-person time. In fact, according to employees, this balanced approach produces the greatest results.

Our data finds that those who adopt a hybrid work schedule gave their company culture the highest score (97%) and the fewest bad grades (3% poor or terrible). In contrast, those who work fully in the workplace are more likely to grade their company culture harshly (8% poor or terrible).

Hybrid employees and fully in-workplace employees are equally likely to say company culture is excellent, scoring 10+ points more than employees who work fully remotely.

It’s important to note that flexibility does not appear to mean working from home; rather, it’s the ability to manage schedules and time more fluidly.

Politics Looms as a Potential Threat to Company Culture

As executives work to build and preserve a positive company culture, they should be aware of the potential for disruption due to the upcoming election cycle.

A remarkable 56% of executives, as well as 45% of employees, believe 2024 politics could disrupt the great strides companies are making in their cultures. Overall, 13% said politics will be very disruptive. It is important for executives to be aware of this potential disruption, particularly with younger employees, who are more likely (by 14 points) to think that politics will be disruptive (59%).

The Relationship Between Trust and Culture

Given the importance of trust in hybrid schedules and weathering the threat of politics in the workplace, we decided to explore the best ways to build and maintain trust between employees and employers.

Overall, nine out of ten employees trust the people they work with, from their managers (89%) to their peers (88%) and senior leaders (87%). Yet, with so much emphasis on the need for managers to care about employees as people, we asked employees what employers can do to continue building that trusting relationship.

Their responses focused primarily on communications and transparency. Employees want to easily bring questions and concerns to their superiors (96%) and receive frequent communication from the company (94%). Regarding transparency, employees overwhelmingly desire a say in the decisions that affect their work (93%).

Generosity as a Catalyst for Increased Productivity

Ultimately, we found that generosity not only builds a positive company culture; it also greatly influences productivity. As we explored what makes a company culture positive, we found that 93% of employees correlate a good culture with their productivity.

When asked about the main drivers of increased productivity, employees focused on several aspects of strong company culture, as well as generosity. Employees cited trust (70%) and being rewarded for the quality of their work (67%) as very important aspects of a culture that also improve productivity. When it comes to how generosity can increase productivity, employees once again elevated flexible work schedules (67%) and mental health support (58%) as very important influences.

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