Employees laughing together around a table as a sign of a positive workplace culture

What makes a great workplace culture?

A good workplace culture values employee wellbeing and doesn’t prioritise profits over people. Organisations who have healthy company cultures are value-driven and aren’t afraid of receiving feedback, no matter how negative it may be. In fact, they see feedback as a valuable tool that prevents stagnation and helps them monitor any changes — good or bad, in employee experience.

According to Deloitte, exceptional organisations consider both strategy and culture as equally important and don’t prioritise one over the other.1

Additionally, they found:

  • 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that workplace culture is an important factor that contributes to business success.
  • 83% of executives and 84% of employees consider engagement and motivation as considerable driving factors for success.
  • A strong correlation between employees who reported feeling valued, and a healthy company culture.

Traits of a toxic culture

To truly value a healthy workplace culture, it’s important to understand what a toxic culture is.

The five main attributes, or characteristics of a toxic culture are:2

  • A lack of respect: This is one of the most powerful indicators of a toxic culture, when respect is lacking, employees are deeply disengaged and unhappy. Examples of disrespectful behaviour include underhand comments and gossiping.
  • Non-inclusive practices: If diversity and equality aren’t prioritised, employees are very likely to rate the culture as toxic. Non-inclusivity ranges from a lack of representation to nepotism.
  • Unethical actions: Business ethics apply to the decisions made by the organisation and the behaviour of its employees. Examples of unethical behaviour are not following industry guidelines or withholding benefits.
  • Cutthroat attitudes: A cutthroat business culture tends to occur in industries where the stakes are high and employees are out for themselves. Instead of collaborating as a team, they sabotage one another to get ahead.
  • Hostile or abusive behaviour: Abusive employees shout and lose their tempers with others. They create a horrible experience for anyone who works with them. More subtle behaviours include microaggressions, such as leaving unconstructive feedback that’s belittling.

The costs of a toxic culture are high and often result in good employees leaving your business. In fact, toxicity in the workplace is one of the most significant factors driving the Great Resignation.3

Frustrated employees arguing at a team meeting

What are the benefits of a healthy corporate culture?

A strong workplace culture has a direct effect on your business’s success by:

Boosting retention

Organisations with strong workplace cultures, tend to have high levels of retention because employees feel valued and get a sense of satisfaction from their work. Other positive workplace characteristics, such as Learning & Development (L&D) strategies encourage your employees to grow with your company. That way, they’re able to complete more challenging tasks instead of being stuck in one role with the same skillset they had when they joined.

Better employee health

The effect of a positive work environment on mental health has been supported in many studies.6 When employees feel connected to one another, they’re insulated from the effects of stress and are more resilient. As a result, they take less time off and tend to recover quickly when they do get sick.

Remote employee smiling at her laptop, indicating a positive remote work culture

Enhancing your reputation

Attracting talent is just as important as retaining it. Since the pandemic, people are valuing job satisfaction and their work-life balance more. This means if your core values are centred around development, recognition and wellbeing, top talent will hear about them and show an interest in your company. But don’t forget a great employee experience doesn’t just benefit your brand identity, it’s also integral to your company’s success.

Increasing employee engagement

Creating an engaging work culture should be one of your top priorities, considering disengaged employees globally lose companies $7.8 trillion per year.4 It’s not all doom and gloom though, as fortunately there are plenty of cultural initiatives you can introduce to keep employees engaged and productive.

If your engagement is dropping, try fostering positive social connections between employees — such as encouraging peer-to-peer recognition and rewarding teams for their collaboration. When recognition and teamwork are both prioritised and incentivised, employees work better with each other, creating a more harmonious working environment.

An engaged team smiling and laughing at an informal meeting

How to create a positive workplace culture at a glance: our top 3 tips

Creating a positive workplace culture takes time and effort. Fortunately, the three core principles of a healthy culture are easy concepts to grasp. It’s the implementation that can be challenging if you’re not used to following these practices.

1. Encourage communication and lead by example

Good communication comes from the top, and leaders need to ensure they are being open and honest. No organisation can claim they have great communication if they don't make the effort to collect and act on feedback. If improving communication is a top priority, begin by outlining how you will collect feedback, for example, will you be using a mix of pulse surveys, polls, in-person catch-ups, or town halls?

Of course, keeping your employees in the loop takes a lot of work, but some tools can make the process easier. With Perkbox all of your comms are centralised in one easy-to-find place. No more convoluted email lists, copying and pasting, or forwarding — just send one message and that’s it. Our easy-to-use visual cards can also support video and photo attachments, pdfs, and more.

Learn more about how Perkbox can enhance your comms strategy

2. Make recognition a reaction

Recognition is one of the most powerful drivers of employee satisfaction and happiness. Everybody wants to be told they're doing a great job and receive credit for their hard work. Consequently,  it’s not surprising that a lack of recognition is one of the most common reasons for resigning.

If you don’t have any formal recognition systems in your company, begin with simple thank-you notes. Keep a pile of them with your stationery — they could even be company-branded. That way, whenever anyone wants to show their appreciation they can with a note. Later, you could think about using an employee experience platform to digitise recognition, so it’s easier and more accessible to everyone in your company — especially remote colleagues.

With our app, your teams can recognise each other’s contributions whenever they want to. They can also tie each recognition to company values, so everyone knows how their actions drive your business forward.

Employees applauding each other at a team meeting as part of a positive work culture

3. Prioritise wellbeing — really prioritise it

For a while now, HR professionals have been recording the negative impact some work habits have on health and wellbeing. This is why the emphasis that was once placed on hustle culture has now shifted to human culture.

Most good employers understand that for their people to work at their best they can’t be overloaded. That’s why more companies are offering flexible working schemes and are allowing their teams to spend less time commuting by working from home. Others are also giving them extra resources to take better care of themselves.

Because many businesses are adopting hybrid working, gym memberships and other wellbeing benefits may not be universal to all employees. However, Perkbox's wellbeing content can be accessed from any phone, tablet, or laptop with access to the internet. From strength training to HIIT workouts, there are energising video playlists for those who need them. However, if after a busy day something more gentle and slow is in order, there are plenty of guided meditations and yoga flows too.

5 positive workplace culture examples

The following companies are consistently rated as having positive cultures:


Perkbox is in the employee experience business and we help organisations build stronger connections with their employees — so without wanting to blow our own trumpet too much, we do see ourselves as culture experts! Unity is a core value at Perkbox, so we do things like mark Pride and Black History Month with our own internal events to celebrate diversity. Employees also benefit from a hybrid working model and can even bring their pets into the office. Like all strong cultures, feedback is highly valued, which is why every month employees can ask questions to the exec team, either anonymously or on a company all-hands.


The reputation of Google almost precedes it — on average it receives over 2 million job applications per year. According to Google, the secret to maintaining a healthy culture is taking a proactive approach to people management. As Google is in the data business, the HR teams consistently use trends to inform decisions on employee experience. Google’s flat organisational structure and open communication policy also mean that every employee can share their opinions with the CEO — regardless of rank and seniority.


Microsoft's positive work culture can be attributed to its growth mindset. The company isn’t afraid of trying new things and embracing change. Curiosity and development are highly regarded and every employee has the opportunity to have their potential nurtured. To mitigate any biases employees undergo training to improve implicit behaviour. What’s more, all of Microsoft's internal training materials on inclusion are freely available online for everyone to use.5


Indeed frequently tops culture polls, and it’s not surprising considering it’s the go-to website for job postings and all things recruitment. Benefits include unlimited annual leave, free snacks and drinks, and a generous discounts portal. What Indeed does particularly well is treat employees like the individuals they are. Work-life balance is prioritised and the company understands the value employees gain from enhanced training and development programmes.


Adobe’s culture is award-winning and the company goes to great lengths to keep staff happy. Senior leaders actively listen to what their staff want and prioritise sincerity and honesty. Innovation is also an important part of the culture, which is why every staff member gets a $1,000 pre-paid credit card to explore new business ideas. Adobe also gets involved in community work and does a lot to promote diversity and inclusivity within the company.

Employees smiling at a team meeting as part of a positive company culture

Create a culture of communication with Perkbox

A strong cohesive team is at the heart of every successful business. Connected teams are not only more productive — they're also happier and healthier. If you want to create an award-winning culture you need to define what your values are and then align your goals and objectives with them.

For example, if one of your values is ‘curiosity’, then one of your objectives could be delivering additional training programmes on digital marketing. Or how about setting up a timetable of guest speakers who inspire your teams? Either way, good cultures don’t just develop overnight. They take work and planning, so keep this in mind when putting together a culture strategy.

Digital tools can help with this though. Take the Perkbox platform, for example. All of your comms are kept together in one easy-to-use app. You can share company news, updates and more with our engaging digital cards. Each card can be created from scratch, or you can choose from a range of templates if you don’t have the time.

Find out how Perkbox can help you deliver an award-winning culture

How to create a positive culture: your FAQs answered

How do you create a positive workplace culture?

Every positive workplace culture has a set of core values that are communicated to the entire organisation. The aim of these values is to promote behaviours that ultimately encourage sustainable and positive work habits. If you’ve never created a culture strategy, begin with your core values and build your strategy around them. It takes a lot of time and effort to distil values, so don’t rush this crucial step.

What are examples of positive workplace culture?

How do you maintain a positive work environment?

Put culture front and centre with Perkbox

Celebrate and motivate your employees no matter where they’re working — in one building, remotely or across multiple locations.

  • Create a culture of appreciation that engages employees wherever they are
  • Boost productivity and employee retention
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