How much does your corporate culture matter? The answer is a surprising amount. One study revealed that 95 percent of employees value culture more than compensation. When business leaders at organizations with collaborative cultures were surveyed by Google, 88 percent reported their employees had high morale and job satisfaction.

The benefits of a positive company culture aren’t limited to just happy employees either. Studies have established that developing corporate culture can lead to a host of business-wide benefits, including:

That said, culture isn’t simple. Of executives recently surveyed, 87 percent cited culture and engagement as their top challenges. At Corporate Essentials, we’ve dedicated years to understanding what goes into developing superior corporate culture. Read on to learn how three real brands cracked the code for developing corporate culture.

3 Surprisingly Simple Ingredients for Developing Corporate Culture

Every company has a culture, but the smart ones actively develop it. These efforts don’t need to be expensive or involve appointing a chief cultural officer. Some of the research-backed ways to give your culture a refresh are surprisingly simple:

  • Schedule Flexibility: Offering employees some autonomy, such as flexible scheduling, shorter workweeks or the opportunity to work from home, has been linked by researchers to better productivity, satisfaction and culture.
  • Build a Better Break Room: Creating a space where people want to eat and take a break can support superior culture. Two studies revealed that interacting with coworkers at lunch is linked to better culture, productivity and less stress in the workplace.
  • Offer Complimentary Office Snacks and Beverages: For 30 percent of employees, having access to food throughout the day contributes to mood. Other studies reveal that not only do employees appreciate food and drinks, it can contribute to satisfaction with the employer and culture.

3 Employers Who Won at Developing Corporate Culture

Companies with superior culture and a record of disruptive innovation and great business results are rarely born with exceptional culture. Chances are, they have worked hard over years or decades to build their brands. Here are the stories of three companies that had to pivot to adopt the right corporate culture and a little about how they did it.

1. Starbucks

Unless you’ve read former CEO Howard Schultz’s second book Onward, you may not know the coffee brand was facing a major need for cultural change in 1991. While the brand had initially succeeded due to a strong culture and values, a disconnect occurred, and employees and managers at the stores weren’t connected to the brand values.

CEO Howard Schultz visited the heart and soul of his company to uncover where they’d gone wrong and elevated the brand to create a culture that employees could be proud to work for. The brand doubled-down on its commitment to employee partnership, quality in everything and sustainable sourcing.

Employees are encouraged to share suggestions and give back to their local communities, two factors that have contributed to low turnover rates after the decision to work on developing corporate culture.

2. Visa Europe

Over the past few years, payments company Visa Europe has undergone some massive changes. It’s grown from 400 to 1500 employees, and staff roles have shifted. While the brand wanted to retain the “small, networked” culture and the spirit of entrepreneurship, it had to address employee uncertainty around shifting roles and scaling up.

Cultural Consultant Kevin Roberts worked with Visa Europe to develop clear cultural values, a peak performance system, and create a fun, family-like culture. The rollout wasn’t seamless; the performance metrics in the performance system needed tweaking.

However, the decision to honor the individual has paid off. Today, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and other key business culture metrics are at a high level.

3. Microsoft

When CEO Satya Nadella took the helm in 2014, Microsoft was having an identity crisis. Nadella recognized the company’s strengths — building brilliant new technologies — but focused his culture change initiative on getting people to work disruptively and more collaboratively.

The road to developing corporate culture wasn’t easy for Microsoft, especially when Nadella met significant resistance at an executive retreat when he rolled out his theory. Ultimately, the new CEO made the unpopular decision to make executives visit customers and hear their stories.

Soon, the shift was underway. This sparked cross-functional teams committed to culture hacking. Today, the company is still in a state of flux and evolution, but the changes are clear. Employee engagement and morale have improved over the past three years.

When It’s Necessary to Develop Corporate Culture

Companies in need of a culture refresh can have a myriad of signs and symptoms. High turnover, low employee morale, poor employee satisfaction and employees who eat lunch at their desks are just a few things to look for.

Fortunately, brands of all sizes can make a commitment to developing a corporate culture in 2018. Some of the most effective ways to jumpstart a productive, fun culture are inexpensive.

At Corporate Essentials, we offer all the crucial ingredients you need to create a superior culture in the year to come. More than 20 years helping employers crack the code means we’ve learned secrets.

Today, our expertise helps more than 1,500 employers gain a cultured edge. With services and products ranging from break room redesign consulting to healthy office snacks and premium beverages, we specialize in helping real organizations fuel positive culture and engaged, happy employees.

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About Judson Kleinman

As the founder and CEO of Corporate Essentials, Judson set out with every intention of bringing a new meaning to the words "office culture". As leaders in the industry, his company constantly sets the bar by investing in, and improving their product offerings, technology, people and training. 20 years and 1500 clients later, Judson can proudly say that Corporate Essentials continues to positively fuel culture and allow over 150,000 employees to work happy.