33 Words to Describe Your Company Culture

5 minutes • Oct 15, 2019Culture
Company Culture Descriptors

If you could describe your company culture in one word, what would it be?

A company’s culture is the character and personality of an organization. It refers to how people interact, collaborate, and get along within the workplace. Though it may sound somewhat ambiguous, a positive culture is extremely important for many reasons. It attracts talent, increases engagement, and helps ensure employees are happy, productive, and planning to stick around.

A great company culture is no longer just a nice-to-have—it’s essential to building a workplace that your current and potential employees want to be a part of. One of the first steps to building a great company culture is knowing what values you would like to instill and how you would describe your organization’s identity.

Below, we’ll share different words to describe company culture, complete with examples of organizations that embody some of these characteristics today. We’ll also share a few negative words to describe the type of company culture you’re trying to avoid.

1. Transparent

Employees and customers alike greatly value transparency—but despite this truth, many companies struggle to add transparency in the workplace when it comes to key information and decisions.

Check out how Buffer uses transparency to lead their company values.

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2. Connected

A connected company culture is one where every employee feels accepted, valued, and has a sense of belonging. Employees at connected companies are able to share ideas quickly and work together easily. Companies with a connected culture have engaged employees that share common goals.

3. Nurturing

Companies that nurture employees are willing to work with each individual to set professional development goals and help them grow with the organization.

4. Autonomous

Nobody likes to be micromanaged at work, which makes autonomy an attractive quality for employees. For example, Netflix encourages independent decision-making by employees and fosters freedom and empowerment at work.

5. Motivating

When employees are in the right environment, they’re more energized and motivated to achieve business and performance goals.

6. Happy

It’s not enough for employees to be satisfied—you want them to be happy at work and enjoy what they do so they don’t jump ship. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh emphasizes employee happiness and work-life balance within the organization.

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7. Progressive

People want to work for a company that’s growing, innovating, and trying new things—which is exactly what progressive organizations do.

High-growth startups often have more progressive work environments.

For example, high-growth startups often have more progressive work environments.

8. Flexible

The workplace is different today from what it once was—employees are no longer willing to live the 9-5 “cubicle lifestyle” that has been the standard for so long. As a fully remote company, HubSpot is flexible and consistently emphasizes the importance of work-life fit.

9. Casual

Employees today (especially millennials and Gen Zers) expect the workplace to be a relaxed environment with a casual vibe and dress code.

10. Innovative

Innovation is an important constant for companies that grow and thrive. Marriott plays a big role in the modern hospitality industry, focusing on shaping the “future of travel” through technology and continued innovation.

11. Inclusive

Diversity and inclusion is a hot topic in HR and recruitment, and it’s also a key priority for plenty of companies. In an inclusive working environment, diversity is always welcomed and appreciated.

12. Fun

Who says work can’t be fun? Organizations that create opportunities for fun on a regular basis are more likely to engage and retain their employees.

13. Curious

Curious organizations are always willing to explore new processes, ways of thinking, and approaches to solving problems.

14. Collaborative

The best ideas are born from great collaborations. Greenhouse celebrates collaboration, with a strong emphasis on working together to achieve success.

15. Relaxed

A relaxed work environment is one where employees have some freedom to work in the ways they’re most comfortable and productive.

16. Challenging

Employees want to be pushed and challenged in the workplace so they can learn, grow, and evolve.

17. Empathetic

In an empathetic workplace, feelings are valued and acknowledged through active listening, open communication, and support in difficult situations. Recruiterbox strives to foster such an environment by assessing candidates during interviews to determine which are the most empathetic.

18. Engaging

At an engaging organization, employees are highly invested and inspired to do their best work for the company—and are more likely to stick around.

19. Rewarding

A rewarding company culture is one that recognizes employees when they exceed expectations or go above and beyond. (Whether it’s a shout-out or a gift card, a little recognition goes a long way!)

Encourage employees to celebrate each other with peer-to-peer recognition initiatives

Encourage employees to celebrate each other with peer-to-peer recognition initiatives.

20. Nimble

Nimble companies are agile and adaptable, with a constant willingness to course-correct and rethink strategies, processes, and approaches.

21. Respectful

In a respectful workplace, employees are encouraged to express opinions and ideas without interruption—and their coworkers are expected to be courteous when they do just that.

22. Trusting

Trust is a vital component when it comes to building strong working relationships, strong teams, and a strong company culture. It’s also a two-way street.

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23. Welcoming

At companies with a welcoming culture, employees are friendly, more likely to build internal employee networks, and plan team events to spend time with coworkers outside the office. Remember that your onboarding process will be the first impression employees have of your company, and has the potential for setting them up for success.

These are all positive words to describe company culture; however, part of building an awesome workplace culture is knowing what you want to avoid.

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Negative words to describe company culture

The following words describe the type of company culture you don’t want to build:

24. Toxic

A toxic workplace is one where either the atmosphere, the work, or the people on the team are dramatic, negative, and disruptive.

25. Boring

Of course, nobody likes to be bored at work—the minutes tick by so slowly that they feel like hours. Companies with a boring culture are stagnant.

26. Siloed

Despite technological advancements that help bridge the gap, some organizations remain extremely siloed. Departments don’t talk to one another, and communication is lacking—which is frustrating and inefficient.

27. Outdated

Some organizations are simply outdated, whether it’s because of antiquated technology, company practices, or both.

28. Biased

Whether conscious or unconscious, bias is never welcome in the workplace. But unfortunately, it’s still a big problem for plenty of companies.

29. Unsupportive

In an unsupportive work environment, employees lack the support they need to grow with the company, develop professionally, and expand on their skill sets.

30. Hostile

Hostile work environments are overly competitive and can be harmful to employees’ personal well-being and mental health.

31. Stressful

We’ve all worked for a company where every single situation that crops up is treated like a fire drill. And let’s be honest—nobody wants to be in that type of environment on a daily basis.

32. Micromanaged

Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Employees who are micromanaged are usually less engaged, and they are less likely to stick around.

33. Disengaged

A disengaged culture is one that employees don’t want to be a part of. Low engagement is known to cause high employee turnover rates, poor job performance, and inefficient processes.

Your culture defines the environment where your employees work and sets the stage for what’s to come for your organization. Defining what you want your company’s culture to be is the first step toward building a workplace that employees love—and hopefully these words, positive and negative, are a helpful start.

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