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Forward-thinking firms in several sectors combine digital technology with enlightened leadership to maintain people-centred company cultures. And organisations operating across international boundaries are always looking for ways to cut costs through streamlining services. But it’s tough to maintain culture with a ‘human touch’ while adopting timesaving technologies that can be perceived as a threat to jobs. Here are five firms with innovative company cultures that have a proven formula for sustained success.
The birthplace of the Big Mac always rates highly in Great Place to Work surveys. The fast food giant has seven Hamburger Universities around the world where professors train staff in internal and external customer service and organisational values of people-centricity, individual learning, organisational learning and diversity and inclusion are always prioritised. This bespoke training embeds values-based behaviour — helping staff across the huge global franchising network maintain consistent standards of service and efficiency.
Independent business and technology firm Baringa have an excellent reputation for cultural innovation. Ranked amongst peers as Britain’s best place to work, their culture focuses on aligning employee behaviours with an environment that’s centred on development and retention. This subtle and logical approach is more effective than emblazoning values on posters that are not reflected in real-life.
German fashion giant Hugo Boss values an open-door culture that draws on innovative ideas from all levels of the hierarchy and taps into the collective intelligence of the organisation. This means that great ideas from employees at all levels are disseminated across the whole business. And this philosophy doesn’t just apply at the company HQ in Metzingen — it’s also adopted in the 900 shops where Hugo Boss aftershave and sharp suits are sold.
Hedge fund guru Ray Dalio has created one of the most radical company cultures in the world at Bridgewater Associates — his Bridgewater Principles form a corporate bible built up over decades. But the main tenets are radical truth and transparency — employees are contractually obliged to challenge management decisions and managers can’t dodge difficult conversations by pulling rank. Dalio is also incorporating artificial intelligence into his management decision-making, meaning machines will be making the majority of management decisions within five years. But tasks that require fine-judgement and emotional intelligence are still more suited to human employees, so a total AI takeover is unlikely for the foreseeable future.
This digital giant combines comfortable office environments with extracurricular activities that encourage collaborative working. Their Mountain View HQ features fitness centres, cooking classes and even ‘gBikes’ that staff to ride around the sprawling campus.
This culture allows staff who don’t typically work together to mix and share ideas — meaning that silos are smashed and great ideas germinate much faster.
According to PayScale, 86 per cent of Google employees are satisfied with their jobs. Wages are generally high and benefits include generous paid parental leave and free healthy meals. And fulfilment is also fantastic — 73 per cent of employees find their jobs meaningful.
These firms fuse technological innovations with enlightened leadership. But they all ensure that the cultural values they proclaim are supported by staff behaviour at all levels.
These five firms prove that innovative company culture is the foundation of flourishing business.
Which firms have corporate cultures that you admire? Share your stories in the comments section below.
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