What Defines “Good” Company Culture?

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/ by Good&Co Team

Here at Good&Co, we’re passionate about helping companies create good company culture. But what is a good company culture? After all, “good” is a pretty subjective term, isn’t it?

While everyone may have their own idea of what makes a company culture “good”, here at Good&Co, we define a good company culture as one that’s comprised of happy individuals.

Helping employees, organizations, and teams to become happy and good is the whole reason Good&Co exists!

There’s literal heaps of research suggesting that happy individuals are more likely to be productive, engaged and creative at work. More importantly, they’re also more apt to be physically healthy and successful.

At Good&Co, we believe that no organization can achieve its full potential if its employees aren’t happy.

There are dozens of variables that can impact someone’s happiness at work, including work environment, position, tasks—even your commute! Additionally, an employee’s happiness can also be impacted by how the company treats (and is viewed by) employees, customers, and the general public.

At the end of the day, each and every one of these factors play a key role in the company’s overall culture.

What is company culture, anyway?

Developed in the early 1980s, the term “corporate culture” describes a company’s unique character. This character isn’t just defined by a company’s values, management style, client relations and the way it treats its employees; it’s also heavily influenced by more tangible elements, such as work environment and even the company’s branding.

While there have been some attempts to define and categorize different kinds of corporate culture, most models are oversimplified, putting forward only three (as in Robert Cooke’s 1987 model) or four distinct organizational types (as in Deal and Kennedy’s 1982, Charles Handy’s 1976, and Cameron and Quinn’s 1999 models).

These frameworks neglect one crucial fact: the influence of corporate culture on the individual depends on that very individual.

As we’re fond of saying here at Good&Co:

There is no such thing as a bad workplace or a bad employee, just a bad fit.

Think of it this way: everyone is unique. Your preference for salary, growth opportunities, perks, or daily tasks is highly dependent on your unique personality and individual needs.

While an adaptable, proactive person is likely to thrive in a flexibly structured organization that encourages employee initiative and self-management, a methodological and routine-oriented individual would be quite unhappy.

We understand that people and cultures are unique and varied. That’s why we’ve worked hard to ensure that Good&Co’s psychometric model brings us as close as one can possibly get to accurately capturing the full variability of human personality. We’ve also devised a robust way of both measuring and quantifying company culture and estimating how well an individual’s personality fits with each culture.

Can company culture be defined?

good company cultureYes! We view company culture as the ‘character’ of an organization. In fact, we treat organizations as if they were people, measuring their unique personality traits similar to the way human personalities are measured.

Our brilliant team of psychometricians and organizational psychologists spent years researching developments in psychology, business management, leadership, and behavioural science, coming up with 12 distinct traits – such as creativity or motivation – that help define a company’s culture.

Twelve traits might not seem like a lot, but combining these traits together gave us eight distinct organizational personas. That’s twice as many as other models put forward! Still, eight wasn’t enough to satisfy our curiosity. We dug deeper, discovering more than 50 distinct company culture variations, or organizational sub-types.

Next, we considered the importance of teams.

We realized that when it comes to culture fit, macro-level profiling isn’t enough. Research shows that an employees’ immediate environment—particularly their managers and coworkers—have a large impact on their day-to-day experience at work.

It makes perfect sense: in addition to belonging to an organization, every employee belongs to a team. Many times, employees spend more time interacting with others on their team and have minimal interactions with the CEO or people from other departments.

At Good&Co, we see companies as complex organisms made up of unique teams—each comprised of unique people.

That’s why we were determined to go deeper than most company culture assessments, ultimately spending years developing Good&Co’s Teams feature.

Using our Teams feature, Good&Co users can create virtual Teams, adding or removing other users as needed.

This feature assesses group dynamic, assigning a unique Persona to each Team. It also outlines potential strengths and weaknesses of a team, focusing on three core areas: Innovation, Flexibility, and Competitiveness.

The importance of Values Fit

At Good&Co, we firmly believe that hiring for culture fit isn’t as simple as hiring people with similar strengths, traits or values. That’s why our Teams feature focuses both on diversity as well as compatibility, taking into account the unique strengths each individual brings to the table. After all, a team filled with Nurturers would certainly be harmonious, but they’d probably have a pretty difficult time getting the job done.

Our Teams feature also focuses on team dynamics. In addition to giving each member a general FitScore with the Team, the tool also predicts which Team Role they are most suited to play.

The Team feature can be used not only to optimize Team interactions, but also can be treated as a self-discovery tool for individuals, enabling them to learn more about what they bring to the Team, and which role they’re most likely to thrive in.

What can you do to create a good company culture?

Interested in learning more about how to create a good company culture at your organization? Start by taking the free Good&Co company culture assessment!


Agnieszka Zbieranska is a business psychologist and psychometrician based in London.

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