What is Company Culture? (With a List of Different Types)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 6, 2022 | Published November 5, 2021

Updated October 6, 2022

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A company's culture can determine how individuals within a company interact with each other and work together. Whether you've started a new job or you're about to accept an offer from another employer, the company's culture can be an essential factor to consider. Finding a positive company culture can help make you more successful and productive at work. In this article, we answer the question, "What is company culture?", explain the different types of company culture, and discuss the signs of good company culture.

What is company culture?

A company's set of shared goals, ethics, values, and work environment attitudes are all key parts of the answer to "What is company culture?". These procedural norms and behaviours can affect the job experience of employees in a company. The company culture is also a shared philosophy and expectation that may determine the way employees interact with shareholders, clients, and each other. Company culture can affect a company's public image and employee engagement. Excellent company culture is often essential for the growth of both the company and its employees.

Companies with a good culture typically have comfortable workspaces, productive employees, and many professional development opportunities. You can notice a company's culture in how the manager trains an employee, how a team performs a task, and how the employer solves problems. Some organizations outline their corporate culture in a statement, so when researching a company, it's important to check their website's "About Us" page for their company's culture statement. You can also ask the employer about the company's culture during your interview.

Related: How to Learn More About a Company's Culture

Types of company culture

While work culture can vary among companies, the following are some of the most common culture types you may see when searching for a job:

Team-first company culture

Organizations with a team-first work culture typically focus on employee engagement. They provide opportunities for meaningful feedback and social gatherings and are flexible enough to accommodate their employees' personal lives. For example, an organization that offers an extended family leave or frequently organizes team outings may have a team-first company culture. A company with a team-first culture typically looks for people with values and goals that align with their own before considering experience and skills. This can help make your work environment more positive and comfortable.

Conventional or hierarchical company culture

Traditional companies often adopt this kind of company culture. These organizations typically have complex structures and decisive management teams. Companies with hierarchical cultures have a clear chain of command that separates employers and employees. Employees perform their duties under supervision, which can increase efficiency. Hierarchical work culture is common in law firms, restaurants, banks, and organizations with strict rules for most teams and departments. In addition, they often have dress codes for employees to follow. This culture has guidelines that often make it risk-averse and stable.

Elite company culture

A company with an elite work culture may hire individuals who are innovative, confident, and talented at developing ideas that can improve their productivity. Companies with this culture often grow quickly in their industry. This corporate culture is result-oriented and competitive. Employees in this work environment aim to reach targets, meet quotas, and achieve results. If your workplace has an elite company culture, you may work for long hours and prioritize tasks. This can help ensure the profitability and success of an organization.

Related: What Is Corporate Culture?

Horizontal company culture

This workplace culture is common among new companies and startups because it encourages a collaborative environment that allows employees to pitch ideas that can improve the company. Organizations with this culture typically have a service or product that's flexible or easy to change based on customer feedback and market research. In horizontal company cultures, each employee is typically passionate about the company's goals. This kind of culture can improve teamwork and may attract employees with diverse skillsets who can perform a variety of tasks.

Progressive company culture

Companies that have experienced a merger, market change, new management, buyout, or recent transition to achieve an advanced goal may have a progressive culture. This work environment can allow employees to have open discussions about the company and its competitors. Organizations with this culture often have increased output and may get most of their income from grants, advertisements, and donations. Employees in a progressive culture typically welcome new ideas and can adapt to change quickly.

Related: What Is Work Culture? Definition, Elements and Examples

Signs of good company culture

Here are some signs of good company culture you can look for on your job search:

Defined values and mission

Positive work cultures typically have missions, values, and goal statements that show the direction and steps the business wishes to take. This can help you understand whether you can achieve your individual goal while working at the company. It can also guide your behaviour by indicating what employees expect of the company.

Comfortable work environment

A comfortable workspace can provide you with many amenities to help increase your productivity. For example, if your workplace has proper ventilation, wall paintings, and necessary work equipment such as a printer or monitor, you may find it easier to solve difficult problems. Comfortable work environments can also improve the overall morale of a company.

Related: The 6 Types of Work Environment

Positive feedback

Employees that receive positive feedback are often happier and more productive. Positive feedback can help increase your confidence because it shows that the company values your input. It also shows that the organization makes it a priority to help employees develop their skills.

Long-term employees

A company with a low employee turnover rate is an excellent sign of a positive culture. This means that most employees are happy with the growth opportunities in the organization. It can show that a common passion and goal unite the company.

Employee success rewards

Organizations with a good company culture may recognize and reward the achievement and performance of their employees. They may have a systematic and clear process for rewarding top performers or every individual in the company. For example, some companies organize weekly or monthly meetings to celebrate milestones in their business. They can also announce the value an employee brings to the company. This can help ensure that everyone participates in work activities, and it encourages employees to prioritize their tasks.

Open communication

Effective communication may be important for the success of any company because it can create better relationships between employees and their employers. Companies that embrace an open culture may promote team-building exercises to help members rely on each other more during projects. If employees feel confident enough to ask questions and discuss new ideas, they may gain a better understanding of their tasks and responsibilities in the company. This can help you develop and advance your career.

Related: How to Become an Effective Communicator

Social events

Good company cultures typically support employee involvement and create fun social events to encourage employee teamwork. For example, if a company hosts a holiday party, fundraiser, or picnic, and employees willingly attend, it may show that they're invested in the company or their team. Hosting social events can boost the company's morale and help develop a more positive workspace.

Career development opportunities

A good company culture typically provides an infrastructure that supports employees' growth, learning, and advancement. It may also expand their skill set. For example, some companies offer online training sessions, mentorship programs, peer coaching, and webinars to help their employees advance their careers. Career development opportunities can be essential to a company's success because they help retain top employees.

Flexible work hours

A flexible work schedule can increase your productivity by helping you manage your appointments and responsibilities. Companies that allow individuals to choose their own work location and schedule often have more committed employees. Flexible schedules may also improve employee engagement because they show that the company trusts employees to perform their tasks without supervision.

Short- and long-term goals

You may be more likely to remain in a position if you know you're progressing professionally. An organization that has defined goals can help its employees set and achieve personal goals. It can also assign tasks that relate to an individual's ideas and ambitions. This can help ensure that the company and its employees share the same goals.

Related: How to Set Long-Term Goals: 5 Helpful Steps for Success

Culture advocate

Companies may have a culture advocate who best represents the values and culture of the business. Most culture advocates are leaders who are passionate about the organization's growth, such as managers and supervisors. They may discuss the company's values and culture and incorporate feedback from employees to improve growth. Having a culture advocate can help other employees develop positive work culture.

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