8 Attributes of a Healthy Corporate Culture

8 Attributes of a Healthy Corporate Culture
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

Definition of a Healthy Corporate Culture

We define a healthy corporate culture as one in which the corporate values and behaviors are consistently lived across an organization.  In general, all organizations strive to be healthy, and people want to work in a healthy corporate culture.  We believe the health of an organization encompasses your employees’:

  • well-being
  • ability to function effectively
  • ability to adapt to change
  • opportunities for growth
  • effective use of resources

Values and a Healthy Corporate Culture
Corporate values represent the core beliefs you stand for collectively. They drive leadership behaviors and act as the bedrock of a high performance culture by serving as a filter for key decisions and as the means to attract, develop, engage and retain top talent.

Minimum Levels of Organizational Health
In terms of a healthy corporate culture, the combination of corporate values and behaviors can be measured on a “good-to-bad” or “healthy-to-unhealthy” scale.  And there are absolutely minimum levels of organizational health that must be attained for any company to thrive.

How Would You Characterize Your Business Culture?
What are the norms of behavior and how are things accomplished day-by-day? Do employees feel energized at the thought of going to work or do they feel defeated before they even arrive? If you agree that culture drives a company, it behooves you to create a healthy corporate culture to set the foundation of high performance and growth.

Unhealthy Corporate Cultures
No matter how apparently successful and prestigious a firm, a negative workplace culture will ultimately drag it down. A toxic culture can lack integrity, respect for others, information sharing or all of the above. The end result is an environment where growth is stifled, innovation suffers and results are disappointing.

Eight Attributes of a Healthy Corporate Culture
Instead, imagine a place where employees actually enjoy working together, communicate freely, share the load, love their job, and exceed expectations. This is not an impossible dream. When we assess workplace cultures, these healthy organizational cultures exist in large and small companies and generally have eight characteristics in common:

  1. Employee Retention Is High, Unwanted Employee Turnover Is Low
    Employees stay when they are appreciated for their contribution, have opportunities to learn and grow, and enjoy what they do. High levels of unwanted employee attrition are the first warning sign of an unhealthy or misaligned workplace culture.  If your top talent is engaged and sticks around for the long-term, you are off to a good start.
  2. Work is Both Challenging and Rewarding
    Engaged employees buy into, and have active role in creating, both the company’s mission and team specific goals and accountabilities to achieve that mission. When work is rewarding and challenging, employees look for ways to do things better because they care about each other and the results that they are trying to deliver.
  3. People Want to Join Your Team
    High growth companies often struggle to hire top talent that fits at the fast rate they need to hit aggressive targets. Attracting top talent is easier for companies with a healthy culture and an aligned employee value proposition.  Word gets out and employee referrals grow.
  4. Leadership is Shared
    In healthy corporate cultures, leaders actively involve more people in making important decisions. Unlike leaders at unhealthy cultures, these leaders are not threatened by scrutiny, input, or success of others. They value employee feedback, and continuous learning.
  5. There is a Lack of Complaining, Whining, Finger Pointing, and Gossip
    Healthy corporate cultures have little tolerance for workplace politics. There are no “behind-the-scenes” back-channeling; issues are dealt with directly, openly, and without fear of repercussion.
  6. Employees Smile
    As inconsequential as it may seem, employees at healthy companies consistently greet each other happily at work and genuinely look forward to time together. Smiling also aligns with the old adage that “a happy worker is a productive worker.”
  7. Employees Feel Valued
    Rather than feeling they are simply a cog in the wheel of their organization, healthy workplace cultures make sure employees know that they truly matter and create a clear line of sight for people to contribute. Employees feel valued as the most important resource when they are paid fairly, the organization makes investments to make them more successful, and leaders are committed to making it a great place to work.
  8. Change is Generally Well Designed and Well Received
    In a healthy work environment, organizational change does not inspire the fear that it does elsewhere. Employees are well-informed beforehand, trust their leaders, are asked for input regarding changes that affect their work, and understand why workplace changes are happening.

The Bottom Line
Culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies.  Because strategies must go through culture to get executed, smart leaders establish and live team values that support a positive and healthy corporate culture. You, your colleagues, and the bottom line will benefit.

To learn more about how a healthy workplace culture fits into high performance, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture to Get Right

Evaluate your Performance


Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work


Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most



Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition



Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned



Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance


Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance