3 Companies That Have Nailed Corporate Culture

3 Companies That Have Nailed Corporate Culture

Corporate culture. Everyone’s talking about it, everyone’s touting it. But who actually has it dialed in? Here are three companies that have totally nailed it. 

1. Salesforce 

One of the companies we’ve been following and are really impressed with is Salesforce. They’ve set a culture they call Ohana, which is a Hawaiian word for family. 

They make it really clear what they stand for. They publicly list their values. Anybody can see them. Every one of their employees lives them, they share them with their partners, they share them with their customers. They have created a set of values and expectations that are lived very publicly.

It starts at the top. Marc Benioff, the CEO, is an amazing guy. He really walks the walk. He's very philanthropic, giving back to the community in which he lives and works both personally and through the company itself. He expects employees to do the same, giving them opportunities to give back to their own communities. 

Salesforce sets their goals and their objectives from the top, and it cascades down from there. Everybody knows exactly what's expected of them. It's a very, very positive culture and you can see the results - the growth of the company and the profitability of that company - are nothing short of spectacular. 

It truly is a place that people are proud to work for.

2. SAP

SAP has a very hard driving culture and an accountable driven culture. At the same time, they have a really positive culture for their employee base. 

Bill McDermott has come in and really changed that company in the last 15 years. He’s driven a culture, which is working very diligently to overcome gender bias, promote diversity, encourage giving back to the community, and more.

Like Salesforce, SAP is very transparent about what it believes in and stands for. They set stretch goals and they make them public, for example “We're going to have 25% of all of our leaders to be women by X year.”. They put these goals out there, basically making a contract with the public and with all of the constituencies mentioned. 

SAP has a very interesting dynamic worth studying because it’s a company built out of Germany that’s now run by an American CEO. You’ve got the positive culture that was designed by the founders in Germany plus the positive cultural drive by Bill McDermott. In this case, one plus one is greater than two.

3. Hewlett Packard (In the Good Old Days)

The best culture we ever worked in was Hewlett Packard in the time of Hewlett and Packard. They created so many practices that completely withstand the test of time and were ahead of their time through ideas like management by walking around and the open door policy. 

They believed culture starts at the top. It’s the leader’s responsibility to create the environment that brings out his or her employees’ best efforts. A tenet of their leadership was: trust in your employees and they will take care of your customers. This trickled down throughout the entire company.

We argue that's the true definition of leadership - when a supervisor moves from focusing solely on getting the task done to developing the individuals on their team.  Yes, of course they have to meet those work goals, but it is equally if not more important to develop their teams. That is when you move from supervisor to leader - when you realize that it's about more than just getting the job done. 

Hewlett and Packard were ahead of their time in saying if you treat the employee right, everything else falls into place. They treat the customers right, and the business takes care of itself. Since their time, there have been a lot of different studies that show that is indeed the case.

A bit later, HP had a great culture driver in Carly Fiorina, especially when we were changing our go to market to make a clear delineation between where we expected our direct sales team to sell and where we wanted our partners to take the lead. We called this the Hard Deck (Kevin Gilroy was the master author).

We created guidelines and even changed the compensation plan to make sure that everything we could do would make that policy work and stick. The first time that one of our direct reps sold into a partner that was designated to be a partner's account, Carly called that rep and asked them to get on her calendar to explain why they decided not to follow the policy. That call reverberated throughout the entire organization. 

Employees now knew that this hard deck was to be taken seriously. Carly was supportive, and it trickled down from there.  Employees and partners knew they could trust HP. She was a true leader who showed trust in her employees, which drove the culture in the right direction. 

What Other Companies Have Incredible Corporate Cultures?

Culture has become such a focus, and many companies, especially new ones, really seem to have it figured out. Which companies do you think have nailed it? Let us know in the comments! 

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