The best quotes on company culture that will inspire your team

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There’s no getting away from it: a strong company culture is – and should be – the cornerstone of every great business. Why? Well, because a strong culture doesn’t just inform the identity and values of your company; it also can improve employee retention, performance, and overall recruitment. 

Essentially, a strong company culture will inspire brilliant people to work for you – and keep working for you, too. Just look at Airbnb if you need an example of company culture done right.

Frequently named one of the best companies to work for, Airbnb prides itself on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere – not just for its customers, but for its employees, too. Indeed, fostering a sense of belonging is a key cornerstone in Airbnb’s recruitment and onboarding process.

As Mark Levy, Global Head of Employee Experience at Airbnb, tells Jeanne Meister from Future Workplace in Forbes: “At Airbnb we are focused on bringing to life our mission of creating a world where you can belong anywhere, by creating memorable workplace experiences which span all aspects of how we relate to employees, including how we recruit them, develop them, the work environment we create with them, the type of volunteer experiences we offer them, and the food we share together.”

Clearly, a strong workplace culture is key to success. Need a little inspiration? We’ve gathered some of the very best quotes on company culture from around the internet, which means you can take a little advice from the likes of Sheryl Sandberg and the President of Pixar.

“Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers”

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”

— Anne M. Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox

“This is about building an organization for success”

“This is not about fuzzy, holding hands around a campfire, kumbaya stuff. That’s not what values and culture and mission is about. This is about building an organization for success. This is about winning. This is about doing the tactical things to make sure your organization and your people are aligned around the same thing.”

— Justin Moore, CEO of Axcient

“A happy workforce leads to higher retention”

“Consistently over the past nine years, we’ve learned that there is a strong correlation between employee wellbeing and the performance of the company. That goes broader than only

‘productivity’ and affects profitability. That is the case in the whole company; We see teams that are having high employee happiness perform much better in, for example, achieving their objectives and key results. We see the high employee happiness in our customer service teams leads to happy customers, which leads to a much higher return rate. And we see that a happy workforce leads to higher retention, higher attractiveness to new talent, and higher profitability.”

— Hans Scheffer, CEO and Co-Founder of Helloprint

“Culture isn’t just one aspect of the game”

“Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization's makeup and success — along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like... I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn't just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” 

— Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Former CEO of IBM

“Not one employee has voluntarily left”

“There is a high cost associated with building a culture: team retreats, gym memberships, personal and professional development classes. All this is to facilitate the personal evolution of each person who contributes to the company. And, what are our results? In three years, not one employee has voluntarily left, which is a phenomenon that we believe can be replicated at any organisation. We have the receipts to show how much it cost, and we also have uncovered the more obscure internal metrics that impact employee satisfaction and prevent voluntary turnover.”

— David Hassell, Founder and CEO of 15Five

“Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection”

“Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities (like strategic, analytical, and performance-oriented) no longer holds. Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed. ... Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”

― Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Facebook and Founder of

“We undervalue the felt sense of what it means to thrive at work”

“I think we undervalue the felt sense of what it means to thrive at work. I think it’s helpful to have pulse checks about how people are doing, but a survey isn’t going to engender psychological safety or develop/repair relationships. There needs to be processes in place so that people have a voice and can check in with people who care about them and their development. When that happens, you can feel and see the difference in the way that people show up, and that inevitably influences productivity and effectiveness.”

— Rachel Lipton, MPC, CPCC and AOC

“Create the kind of company culture that welcomes dialogue”

“I think the secret is to treat your employees like the adults they are, make them feel like they are in charge not only of their productivity but also of their work-life balance and that they should be the ones identifying what they need to be at their best in their professional and personal lives. To succeed though, the employer has to be able to create the kind of company culture that welcomes dialogue and feedback from their employees. And, of course, good intentions need to be followed by real actions.”

— Tania Keffs, CEO and Co-Founder of Jurnee

“Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room”

“Culture guides discretionary behavior and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own everyday, and culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course most of the time.”

— Frances Frei and Anne Morriss, Co-authors of Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business

“Culture is a thousand things”

“Culture is a thousand things, a thousand times. It is living the core values when you hire; when you write an email; when you are working on a project; when you are walking in the hall. We have the power, by living the values, to build the culture.“

— Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb

“It’s the right thing to do for your people”

“Healthy and happy employees will not only be more productive, but they will also be more creative, more innovative, more collaborative, more fulfilled at work — which in turn leads to higher company profitability. But I see investing in employee wellness as more than wanting to increase productivity, it’s the right thing to do for your people.”

— Aura Telman, Work Culture and People Development Expert

“Make sure people do look forward to coming to work”

“If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning.”

— John Mackey, Whole Foods

“A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas”

“A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. Lack of candour, if unchecked, ultimately leads to dysfunctional environments.”

— Ed Catmull, President of Pixar