Thoughts on Why Company Organization is a Big Culture Driver

is a Big Culture Driver .jpg

Key Takeaways:

  • A recent article said that to win talent, companies must compete on purpose, authenticity and organizational structure —particularly to attract Millennial talent.

  • How exactly does company organization drive culture?

  • We’ll look at both the physical organization and the operational organization and how they factor in.


This excerpt from a recent NewCo article really struck a chord with me. It said — “A job is just the beginning. To win talent, companies must compete on purpose, authenticity, and with a message that resonates. Millennials are now the largest force in the global economy, and they have a markedly different view of work: purpose and “making a difference in the world” are central in their work-related decisions.”

The article goes on to say — “They’d rather work at The Honest Company than P&G, if given a choice — and the best and brightest always have a choice. Members of the next generation want to be at a company where work means more than a paycheck. They believe work can be a calling or an expression of our creativity. And in a world where you can be more creative then ever before Big companies aren’t currently organized to enable their workforces in this way (human resources, anyone?), but new companies — even the very largest ones like Google — most definitely are.”

How exactly does the organization of a company drive culture to help attract and retain the best talent? Here are some thoughts:

#1. Do Team Members Have Access to the C-Suite?

I think one of the biggest organizational issues as it pertains to company culture is whether or not team members have access to upper management. I believe in a complete open door policy. Accessible should be an understatement. If there is a disconnect here, they culture will reflect it. The best sports teams in history have always had the most accessible coaches in the business. Leaders are here to serve and we should never forget that. I’ve talked a lot about senior leadership and their role in company culture, analytics, and overall performance of team members.

When team members have access to senior leaders and feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns without feeling they will be judged or ridiculed, a collaborative culture ensues. This culture sets the company up for great success, because team members who feel they are heard —and who feel they are truly making an impact— do the best work. Team member engagement is what drives greatness! They’re inspired. Feeling inspired is why we do anything well. And, that’s a culture everyone wants!

#2. Is the Physical Organization Supportive of Collaboration?

A lot has been said over the past year or so about whether or not the open office design is actually as productive as we’ve all thought. You’ve seen it —the sprawling floorplan with beanbags rather than cubicles, ping pong rather than conference tables. And, most of us bought in. It breeds collaboration, they said.

I would challenge all companies to relook their physical organization and layout to determine if it’s really driving the culture and chemistry that you want. Certainly there’s a “cubicle culture” versus a “open office culture”, but is there a happy balance? It will never be a one size fits all answer — and it shouldn’t be. A physical organization (maybe an open floor plan with designated quiet areas where team members can go to really focus or get some quiet time) where all the good of the open office marries all the good of the more traditional office?

Closing Remarks

How has the organization of your company impacted your company culture? Is this something that you monitor or adjust with culture in mind? I’d love to continue the conversation, so be sure to share your thoughts with me in the comments.

Personally, I think this is an under-analyzed area of business where we could afford to do some real research, and where we could make a great impact on our business. Business culture is changing at the speed of light and and will continue. We are all experimenting with what will be the best environment for the greatest asset a company can ever have … it's people.