It’s Becoming Increasingly Difficult To Fake A Great Corporate Culture

It’s Becoming Increasingly Difficult To Fake A Great Corporate Culture

Dan SchawbelThe Fast Track | May 8, 2013, 5:18 PM | 2,399 | 1

Corporate culture is becoming increasingly important in the war for talent and retention at companies of all types around the world. Corporate culture is the personality of a company and it can’t be faked. Through social networks, review sites and word-of-mouth, a company’s culture is revealed. If employees are happy and fit in the culture, then the company gets a strong name and more people want to work there.

Some of the elements of culture include management techniques, shared values and mission, work ethic, daily work practices and language. Companies are not only competing for customers and revenue, they are competing on the basis of how they treat their employees and what they represent. If you have a strong culture, people will not only want to work for you, but they won’t want to work for anyone else so it’s well worth the investment of money and time.

Here are three companies that are doing it right:HUBSPOT

Founded by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in 2006, HubSpot now has hundreds of employees and millions in revenue. They have attracted some great talent, especially many top millennial workers who I’ve come to know over the years. Why do they select HubSpot over the other software and marketing companies out there? Well, there is an unlimited vacation day policy, free drinks and a relaxed dress code, just for starters. Their value proposition is perfectly in line with their target audience. They don’t believe in the 9-5 workday, they want passionate people and they know that you won’t stay at the company forever. Unlike most companies, HubSpot is very open with the public, was probably one of the first companies to ever have a corporate blog and recently published their “Culture Code” as a presentation on The deck has already generated over 150,000 views and really captures the essence of what they are all about.


Founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998, the company now has over 50,000 employees and over 50 billion in annual revenue. Employees are offered free cafeteria food and there’s a flat management structure. They have also made their company’s core values public. The company founders still do busy work, including keeping the cereal fresh in the cafeteria. Google is constantly getting feedback from employees and even has their own tool called Google-O-Meter to gauge the popularity of employee suggestions. In addition, they have “culture clubs”, which are groups of employees who come together to talk about culture issues within their country or office and how to improve things. Google is a special place to work because the way they design their office spaces and groups is that you feel like you’re still working at a startup but within a major company. This culture, similar to HubSpot’s, attracts the top young engineers.


Founded by Nick Swinmurn in 1999, the company is now run by Tony Hsieh and was sold to, amassing over a billion dollars in revenue. Zappos is crazy about corporate culture, shown by their ”Culture Book“, one similar to HubSpot and Google’s which defines what it’s like to work there. Employees contribute new sections to the book each year and define what Zappos means to them. They have gone so far as to pay people $4,000 to quit their jobs if they don’t feel like they fit into the culture after four weeks of training. Employees can access on-site classes focused on happiness and careers. Zappos also lets employees pitch new business ideas and Hsieh has used social networks like Twitter in order to maintain transparency and reinforce the brands position as the best in customer service.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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