Company culture – can it be useful ?

Tony Hsieh from Zappos.com is in this piece interviewed about company culture. I often get tired when I hear the word culture, because so many companies talk about it but rarely makes it to more than nice words (or if used, then only in a negative way to tell people they don’t behave as expected), but Tony gives an example of how culture can be used in a positive way to make a difference.

I really like how the free lunch is used to get employees to interact with each other and not just as a benefit. I have seen it done in a company I worked for and it worked very well, people talked across organisational boundaries and ideas were discussed. BTW, a free lunch is cheaper than a one off company wide team building, maybe less fun but I actually think it is more effective.

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2 comments

  1. Jon Weedon · · Reply

    I agree with you conceptually but do wonder what the reality is. We have beer fridges at work and some use them as intended, but just as many people seem to rock up, nick a few bottles and reurn to their desks. Whether you pay a few quid for your lunch or get it free should not really make a difference as to whether or not you wish to sit with strangers and start interacting.

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    1. Torben · · Reply

      I don’t think free lunch will solve all problem, but it creates an opportunity for people to talk across organisational boundaries daily and I have seen it work very well. The ‘free’ element just means more people will take up the opportunity. Free lunch (or beer fridge) should be communicated as a way to talk to other teams not as a ‘benefit’, and I don’t think all organisations do that, but as you said you will not get everybody to join in.

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