The idea of workplace culture was first introduced in the field of management and organisational studies during the late 1970s but was picked up in the 1980s as more people joined the office workforce. Employees were just starting to figure out how to have a work-life balance and organisations had begun creating their very first wellness programs, thankfully they have now become an integral part of the office life!
What is workplace culture?
Let’s go back to basics…what is culture?
We talk about culture a lot in our everyday lives, people travel the world to experience a different kind of culture and it can be of the best ways for humans to learn from one another. We love really love the Cambridge Dictionary definition of culture which is quite simply:
The way of life
It goes on to add ‘especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time.’
When we talk about workplace culture today, we’re trying to encapsulate the core messages of a business. This includes the business values, goals, and mission as well as our attitudes, beliefs, or behaviours. Some might go as far as to call company culture the heart and soul of your organisation!A good workplace culture could mean the difference between satisfied and unsatisfied employees, as how you operate a business and the company’s key concepts can influence the entire organisation.
Why is workplace culture important?
Even though many leaders understand that a company culture can greatly impact their company’s success, they often make the mistake of thinking that the culture will form naturally without using organisational structure or scientific approach that you can find in a valuable resource. But an organisation's culture is more important than that. Culture is important because it will help build and strengthen the business, especially when this culture has grown to become a positive one.
Positive company cultures can:
· Increase job satisfaction and wellbeing. A strong and healthy culture can make employees feel heard. A good company will allows make room for their employees to share any concerns or issues they are having.
· Boost engagement as well as retention. Delivering happiness through strong and positive cultures won’t only develop high performing teams, it will strengthen the chances of employees staying with the company.
· Can attract new talent. A good corporate culture where employee development, happiness and wellbeing is prioritised will help attract new talent and establish purpose with existing employees who will share their own experiences.
If you are a HR Manager, Executive or any other organisational leader, you might think all of this sounds pretty good. But where do you start?
Company culture books!
As with everything, the more you learn, the easier you will find different tasks! A well-written book can provide a great amount of information and can make permanent memories so you can adopt new skills throughout your life. Company culture books will look at management techniques, organisational values and environmental factors that have resulted in higher job satisfaction and workplace wellbeing, so building company culture has never been easier!
We’ve put together this list of the best company culture books you need to read in 2022.
If reading isn’t your thing, don’t worry! All these books are also available as audiobooks.
Let’s get stuck in!
by Patty McCord
When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer. In , Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, she shares what she learned there and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.
McCord advocates practicing radical honesty in the workplace, saying good-bye to employees who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs, and motivating with challenging work, not promises, perks, and bonus plans. McCord argues that the old standbys of corporate HR―annual performance reviews, retention plans, employee empowerment and engagement programs―often end up being a colossal waste of time and resources. Her road-tested advice, offered with humour and irreverence, provides readers a different path for creating a culture of high performance and profitability.
Powerful is an essential reading for improving corporate culture and will change how you think about work and the way a business should be run.
by Weeva & Culturati
The Culture Book is a practical guide for anyone in the business world who wants to learn about building incredible corporate cultures. It is for everyone who believes in the power of culture, and anyone who wants to affect positive change wherever they work. Within its pages you'll find the best stories that we've encountered in years of hands-on fieldwork, paired with proven, practical frameworks that you can get started with right now. Featuring insights from renowned leaders like Patty McCord (former Netflix executive), Kim Malone-Scott (author of Radical Candor), Jerry Greenfield (co-founder of Ben & Jerry's) and many others, as well as perspectives from culture-forward companies like Southwest Airlines, Goodwill, Buffer, IDEO and more.
by Laszlo Bock
Drawing on the latest research in behavioural economics and a profound grasp of human psychology, WORK RULES! also provides teaching examples from a range of industries-including lauded companies that happen to be hideous places to work and little-known companies that achieve spectacular results by valuing and listening to their employees. Bock takes us inside one of history's most explosively successful businesses to reveal why Google is consistently rated one of the best places to work in the world, distilling 15 years of intensive worker R&D into principles that are easy to put into action, whether you're a team of one or a team of thousands.
WORK RULES! shows how to strike a balance between creativity and structure, leading to success you can measure in quality of life as well as market share. Read it to build a better company from within rather than from above; read it to reawaken your joy in what you do as a business leader.
by Daniel Coyle
An essential book for improving company culture that unlocks the secrets of highly successful groups and provides readers with a toolkit for building a cohesive, innovative culture, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code. Using interesting little anecdotes that illustrate quite complex theory and psychology. An essential for business leaders who already have their own core values.
by Jeffrey Hayzlett, Jim Eber
The Hero Factor discusses the importance of a strong company culture as the backbone of any successful business. Companies with leadership that dismisses the importance of transparency in today's world are more likely to be called out for not living up to the mission statements on their websites.
Dive in and learn how to implement the traits that will help them become a hero entrepreneur, change their organisation, live their values, and create a winning culture where they:
Invest in people as a path to more inclusion Recast the role of business leadership beyond politics Serve others/the common good Avoid failure, reasons why not, and the lure of the dark side when things get tough Know the line between hero and martyr Create the next generation of hero leader
By Bob Chapman, Raj Sisodia
This book chronicles the author’s journey to find his true calling, going behind the scenes as his team tackles real-world challenges with caring, empathy, and inspiration. It also provides clear steps to transform your own workplace, whether you lead two people or two hundred thousand. As the authors put it:
"Everyone wants to do better. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. People achieve good things, big and small, every day. Celebrate them. Some people wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them."
By Robert Richman, Beth Kirlin
The Culture Blueprint is a systematic guide to building a company culture. This book is about fostering committed, enthusiastic employees. Distilling his years of experience teaching culture-building to companies like Google, P&G and Amazon, Robert Richman reveals: The Culture Blueprint includes: The complete Culture Toolkit to immediately upgrade your company culture How to make sure your culture attracts the right employees (and repulses the wrong ones) The Core Value Discovery Formula and how to use it to integrate your mission, vision, and values How to apply the 99% Rule to stop annoying your employees Why Unbreakable Rituals are the most underrated tool in your culture arsenal In order to thrive, companies must do more than satisfy their employees; they must create passionate ones. The Culture Blueprint will teach you how to develop a culture that does just that.
by Ron Friedman
In The Best Place to Work , award-winning psychologist Ron Friedman, Ph.D. uses the latest research from the fields of motivation, creativity, behavioural economics, neuroscience, and management to reveal what really makes us successful at work. Combining powerful stories with cutting edge findings, Friedman shows leaders at every level how they can use scientifically-proven techniques to promote smarter thinking, greater innovation, and stronger performance.
Among the many surprising insights, Friedman explains how learning to think like a hostage negotiator can help you diffuse a workplace argument, why placing a fish bowl near your desk can elevate your thinking, and how incorporating strategic distractions into your schedule can help you reach smarter decisions. Along the way, the book introduces the inventor who created the cubicle, the president who brought down the world’s most dangerous criminal, and the teenager who single-handedly transformed professional tennis—vivid stories that offer unexpected revelations on achieving workplace excellence.
by Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini
Humanocracy brims with illuminating insights, real-world stories, and powerful tools. Both manifesto and manual, it shows you how to build an organisation that's fit for the future by building one that's fit for human beings. The book demonstrates how to energise organisations by offering more autonomy and flexibility. The result of these efforts is increased job satisfaction and creativity, as evidenced by examples of profitable, people-first companies. Offering a clear plan of action, Humanocracy urges readers to persuade colleagues to revamp outdated bureaucratic systems and replace them with more dynamic arrangements.
By Denise Lee Young
Independently, brand and culture are powerful, unsung business drivers. But, as author Denise Lee Yohn reveals, when you fuse the two together to create an interdependent and mutually-reinforcing relationship between them (what she calls fusion), you create new growth that isn't possible by simply cultivating one or the other alone.
Through detailed case studies from some of the world's greatest companies (Sony, Frito-Lay, Oakley, FedEx, Airbnb, Adobe, Salesforce, LinkedIn, etc.), interviews with industry leaders, and insights from Denise's 25+ years working with world class brands, FUSION provides readers with a detailed roadmap for increasing competitiveness, creating measurable value for customers and employees, and future-proofing their business.
By Randy Grieser
The authors of this book believe that people should be able to like where they work. When employees like the places they work, it’s not only good for their mental health and well-being, it’s also good for their organisations – both financially and otherwise. When a workplace culture is purposely created to be respectful and inspiring, employees are happier, more productive, and more engaged.
By exploring six key elements that make up a healthy workplace culture, The Culture Question answers two fundamental questions: “How does your organisation’s culture impact how much people like where they work?” and “What can you do to make it better?”
Discover how to create a workplace where people like to work by focusing on these six elements of healthy workplace culture:
· Communicating Your Purpose and Values.
· Providing Meaningful Work
· Focusing Your Leadership Team on People.
· Building Meaningful Relationships.
· Creating Peak Performing Teams.
· Practicing Constructive Conflict Management.
Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates
By Karin Hurt, David Dye
In our world of rapid change, a courageous culture is your competitive advantage. It ensures that your company is “sticky” for both customers and employees. In this book you’ll learn practical tools to uncover, leverage, and scale the best ideas from every level of your organisation.
See how the latest research conducted by the authors confirms why organisations struggle when it comes to creating strong cultures where employees are encouraged to contribute their best thinking.
Learn proven models and tools that leaders can apply throughout all levels of the organisation, to reengage and motivate employees.
Understand best practices from successful companies around the world and learn how to apply these strategies and techniques in your own organisational culture.
by Siobhan McHale
The Insider’s Guide to Culture Change walks readers through McHale’s four-step process to culture transformation, including how to
- Understand what “corporate culture” really is and how it impacts every aspect of the way your organisation operates
- Analyse where your culture is broken or not adding maximum value
- Unlock the power of reframing roles within your company, to empower and engage your employees
- Utilise proven methods and tools to break through deeply embedded patterns and change your company mind-set
- Keep the momentum going by consolidating gains and maintaining your foot on the change accelerator
- With The Insider’s Guide to Culture Change, watch your employees go from followers to change business leaders who drive an agile culture that constantly outperforms.
Let us know if you have a book that we have missed out that helped your own organisation!