Words to Describe Your Company Culture. Go!

By Sara Pollock

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Could you accurately and succinctly describe your company culture right now? If you asked a sampling of employees, would you get consistent answers? Often, organizational culture is vaguely defined and poorly communicated. Or maybe your organization has a great culture, you just don’t know how to identify and articulate what that means. Culture is important, and properly defining it can help you optimize, organize, and manage your culture goals moving forward.

With a strong focus on company culture, employees and companies can see a definitive impact on their work, motivation, and overall engagement, but only 15% of CEOs admit to having the culture they desire. Here are a few stats that demonstrate why it’s important for organizations to start focusing on defining their culture:

Find Your Culture

Don’t know where to start? We’ve compiled some of the common corporate culture values and what defines them:

The Go-Getters

This company is full of leaders and soon-to-be-leaders. The hiring structure ensures that only go-getters are coming on board. They aren’t looking for someone who just wants to collect a paycheck. Ambition is the name of the game, but be careful; teamwork can occasionally suffer at the hands of cutthroat competition. Try to foster collaboration and allow each of your emerging leaders to be captain every now and then.

The Collaborators

This organization rejects silo work and puts the focus on pooling resources, knowledge, and skills together to get the job done quicker and better. Efficient and creative solutions through collaboration are the way they run things. They’re looking for team players here, so leave the headphones at home, but don’t forget to have clear-cut responsibilities. Help your teammates learn how to delegate and ensure that there’s accountability for everyone, otherwise things might slip through the cracks.

Work-Life Balance

This group knows how to work hard, and play hard, and they will often do both together. They find that their passions for work and a social life meld into this fun, productive office machine. If you don’t know how to let loose around punch out time, you need not apply. But remember that everyone needs time for themselves on occasion, so make sure to give private space to each person when needed, and allow easy ways to opt-out of company gatherings or meetings when they need space.


This performance-driven organization puts work ethic at the forefront — noses to the grindstone. It’s important to pull your weight and provide a noticeable contribution, even if you aren’t ready for the happy hour commencing at 5 pm. While these folks work well together, their work ethic is the thing they’re most proud of. But be careful that this doesn’t lead to employees getting too caught up in burning the midnight oil. Prevent burnout by creating flexible schedules and organizing the occasional non-work fun!

Busy Bees

This company operates at full-throttle all the time. What they lack in organization, they make up for in delivery. If you’re not going 100mph, you’re going to get left behind. While this culture is super productive, they need to work carefully to avoid losing sight of the bigger picture. Instill some structure by having a team member or department use time to take inventory and evaluate how the machine is running. Focus on creating some time for thinking and organization.

Clan Culture

Clan cultures are a tightly-knit team who work closely and play closely, too. Employees are supportive and loyal, and the company places a strong emphasis on building strong relationships between coworkers. Those who enjoy office parties, team-building, and chats at the office cooler will fit in perfectly here.

Progressive Culture

These companies are disruptors. They’re changing the way we think about offices and culture. Instead of cubicles and isolating offices, they’re redefining spaces and environments for their employees to thrive in. Employees in a progressive atmosphere are encouraged to have a voice, experiment with new ideas, and create a more inclusive culture. Being person-oriented gives the progressive culture a leg up on others because they’re using direct input from their employees to define their own environment, which results in happier employees and improved work.

Tips for Defining Your Culture

To help put a finger on what exactly makes up your company culture, look at these key aspects of your organization, and how they line up with your desired values:

The Company Mission Statement

This should uncover the directives, goals, and values of the organization. Get buy-in and clarity from leadership about what those are and what they mean to the company and its larger business objectives.

The Company Brand

This should uncover how the organization wants to be perceived. Has the company recently gone public or pivoted product-wise? Make sure that your brand reflects where you want to go and how you want your market to understand you.

The Talent

Who is getting hired, who is being retained, and how are those people working together? Your top performers are excellent indicators of who will be successful at your company, and often they may be the biggest agitators and advocates of change to your culture.

The Atmosphere

Take a stroll around the office and consider how things look, how employees socialize, and what the general vibe is like. Observe the employees and ask yourself:

  • Are they collaborative in their work, or does everyone have their headphones on and heads down?
  • Conversely, is it a constant cacophony of conversation?
  • Do you see friendship or irritation? Focus or distraction?
  • Are they moving around too quickly (or slowly) for you to even gauge emotion, or interoffice engagement?
  • Are there feet on the desk and a casual vibe or well-polished pros with pressed suits on?

The Hiring Process

Are you accounting for culture in your hiring processes? If your goal is to focus on creating a coherent company culture that’s reflected in your employees, there should be a careful consideration of how your new hire candidates align with that culture. Here are a few questions to ask yourself about how you’re prioritizing culture in your new hires:

  • Do you find that most turnover is due to lack of skills, or lack of cultural fit? How are you positioning your culture in interviews to ensure the right picture is drawn for candidates?
  • Does anything about your company’s recruiting practices — job descriptions, your career page, social sharing, etc — reflect the culture?
  • Do you invite potential teammates to the interview to see how the candidate interacts and fits into the dynamic?

Defining, building, and communicating the company culture can be challenging. Start by defining who you are and what you want to get accomplished.

This article was originally published on the ClearCompany Blog.

About Sara Pollock:    
As the head of the Marketing department, Sara makes sure that ClearCompany’s message, products, and best practices reach and assist as many HR practitioners as possible. ClearCompany offer ClearText which will help recruiters get their message across easily and connect with your candidates conveniently, capturing text conversations on the candidate’s profile for a comprehensive view to help your recruiters find the best-qualified candidates. 

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