Sarah Thomas

The values and characteristics that define your organization create your company culture. Culture reflects the attitude and behaviors of the employees, according to Balance Careers. The strategy and structure created by management and HR define the culture for the organization (SHRM). Understanding your organization’s culture is critical to recruiting and retaining the people that make up your organization and reflect your core values.

What is Company Culture?

Company culture describes the shared personality of an organization and the people within it. It reflects the values shared by everyone within the company, which stems from the employees’ beliefs and attitudes. Culture is naturally occurring, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to influence your organization’s culture. Built In recommends setting goals to create culture, involving the entire team, and following best practices.

Identifying your company culture is an important step for HR. You need to communicate your culture within the organization to your own employees. You also have to express your culture during the recruitment and hiring process to candidates to ensure that they are the right fit for your company.

Words Describing Company Culture

Determining the correct words and phrases to describe your company’s culture can be extremely difficult. Words have various meanings and connotations, particularly when used in varying contexts. Choose the words the resonate most with the values and ethics that align with your organization. You can compile a list of words and poll your employees to select the words they think best represent your culture.

Try these on for size and see how they feel in your company.


Innovative company culture is progressive and forward-thinking. You value fresh ideas and input from all team members. Someone will thrive in this culture if they’re a creative, future-focused thinker.


Traditional company culture doesn’t embrace change easily. They value stability and doing things the same way, and they likely have a clear hierarchy structure in the organization.


Inclusive company cultures prioritize DEI initiatives, treat everyone fairly and create opportunities across the organization for everyone.


When your company culture is built on trust, your employees trust each other implicitly. Trust allows your teams to collaborate, grow and flourish.


If your culture values autonomy, you encourage employees to make decisions on their own. Micromanagement isn’t present in this type of culture.


Flexible work cultures don’t adhere to strict workdays or locations. Your day, projects and work environment is fluid and flexible in this cultural style.


Cultures that build off of the value of authenticity embrace genuine words and actions. They are honest and likely have core values of integrity.


A culture that celebrates the accomplishments of each employee would be defined as rewarding. Praise and workplace recognition are essential in a rewarding culture.


Describe your culture as welcoming when you take the time to onboard new employees and ensure that they’re secure in their new roles. A welcoming culture is also warm and inviting for those outside of the company as well.


In a collaborative culture, employees work together. Teams are more productive, and employees report high levels of engagement in a collaborative environment.


When a company describes its culture as transparent, it can mean many things—transparency about their pay structure, operations, or future plans. Transparency in culture necessitates openness and honesty within internal communications between employees, from management, and within external communications to stakeholders and the press.


A company that describes its culture as empowered likely values leadership and results.

Company Culture Words to Avoid

While there are many positive words to define your company culture, there are several that you should avoid. Words like toxic, unsupportive, stressful, and hostile all have a negative connotation and reflect the poor company culture.


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