There is no denying that company culture is more important than ever. Yet culture remains one of the hardest things to quantify during the job search.

65% of American Millennials were found to care more about workplace culture than salary (Glassdoor). This means that if you want to attract talent from the modern workforce, culture needs to be near the top of your priority list.

So we reached out to thought leaders in the community and asked, “What is one word you would use to describe your workplace culture, and why?”

To help you get a fair sense of how businesses are shaping their tech work culture to suit the needs of their employees, we asked HR managers and business leaders this question for the best descriptions that sum up the state of their workplace culture. “Astonishing,” “Empowering,” and “Community-Focused“ are some of the words used to capture the level of progress businesses are making toward building the ideal workplace culture for their workforce.

Here are 15 words these leaders use to describe their workplace culture:

Astonishing

The word I’d choose to describe our workplace culture is “astonishing.” In the same way our guides aim to surprise and delight clients by creating unexpected and enlightening museum experiences, we aim to amaze employees by creating an expectation-defying work experience. Ways we achieve this culture include by giving employees autonomy to pitch and design passion projects and supporting staff through innovative benefits like twice-yearly months of four-day workweeks or healthy living credits. Our goal is to create an awesome place to work that excites employees. We want to challenge yet encourage our staff and create a work experience that exceeds imagination.

Tasia Duske, Museum Hack

Communicative

We’re a very communicative workplace. Since we do a lot of remote working, it’s important that we have a culture where everyone has a willingness to communicate what is going on throughout their work days. There isn’t any micromanagement involved in this communication, so no bosses demanding anyone to get the work done. We do however, maintain a professional expectation that every member of the team does due diligence by keeping others informed of their progress on projects, especially when they directly relate to the work of others. This type of workplace culture works well for our team and keeps everyone productive and happy.

Boye Fajinmi, TheFutureParty

Respectful

We have a variety of people working in our company, and they range on many levels, from age to nationality and views or interests. What unites everyone, however, is general respect and appreciation of differences. We all value our diversity, and even though there are days when it brings challenges, we see it as an asset.

Magdalena Sadowska, Passport Photo Online

Vibrant

We call it vibrant because we ditch the idea of over-professionalism. Our company wants employees to feel comfortable and enjoy a fun vibe at the workplace. Being excessively professional kills that and we want to avoid the same at all costs. We like the idea of keeping things balanced and avoiding micromanagement. Plus, our company values flexibility and gives space to employees to work at schedules that suit them best. Moreover, we organize fun water cooler activities every Friday which helps everyone unwind and boosts engagement. More importantly, it motivates everyone to contribute better to the success of the company and sketch a vibrant work atmosphere.

Morgan Taylor, Sourcery

Empowering

The best way to describe the company culture is empowering. Business leaders can make or break a work environment, and it’s up to them to create a positive work culture through open communication and support. A manager who encourages employees to take risks with new creative ideas or showcase their talents will motivate team members in their workload. A red flag in other companies is a team who self-motivated. While that’s important, we all need a pick-me-up from time to time. Leaders can also celebrate individual contributions after successful campaigns. In doing so, employees will feel valued, appreciated, and excited to work. Their commitment to the company increases and leads to more satisfaction in the workplace. Empowering employees today will create a winning work environment tomorrow.

Jodi Neuhauser, Ovaterra

Inviting

We do our best to make everyone in our office, virtual or otherwise, feel like they are part of the group. It’s important to us that everyone feels able to express themselves, within reason, while in their professional environment.  Both in a casual and professional sense, we want an office where employees can feel comfortable sharing information, concerns, or even just some light-hearted conversation pieces. This builds a sense of camaraderie that helps keep our team relaxed and cohesive in their efforts.

Caleb Ulffers, Haven Athletic

Creative

“Creative” fits our culture due to how innovation is our secret sauce in reaching new customers on a regular basis. For our tattoo skin care brand, our growth is measured in obtaining new customers. To do so, we need to be creative on how to maximize our outreach on social media and constantly shift to jump on new trends. Accomplishing this requires our team to use their creativity, and to amplify that side of ourselves, we need to feel safe to share any and all ideas. A supportive culture toward creativity lifts each other up to embrace out of the box thinking that leads to strategies that work in an ever-evolving space.

Oliver Zak, Mad Rabbit

Adaptable

We pride our company on being adaptable from top to bottom. With our new inventory stranded in closed physical shoe stores at the beginning of the pandemic, we had to immediately pivot to e-commerce to stay alive. Accomplishing this took an enormous amount of trust in each other to use our skills to make up for our collective lack of experience in this space. After we stabilized and are growing, that trust in each other’s abilities to adapt to changing circumstances has defined how we conduct our operations. We have a flexible hybrid work schedule so our whole team can decide for themselves how to achieve their work-life balance. The only constant in life is change, so we embrace the ability to ride the wave.

Monte Deere, Kizik

Adventurous

Our workplace is about never holding back from trying things that have never been done before, and even when doing the usual, doing them in the most innovative ways. This culture seeps into our workplace from our vision for our entrepreneurial pursuits and is a mantra each of our employees follows too. From our range of projects to our way of pursuing targets, “adventurous” is a word that sums up our workplace culture best.

Kris Harris, Nootka Saunas

Community-Focused

Community is what we try to encompass at Brandon Blackwood. Having a tight-knit workplace culture that is diverse and inclusive allows for strong community building and helps us drive our mission. This is furthered in our consumer practices as an independent brand, with our efforts to scale the business to meet customer demands and accessible price points. Our company has a strong team culture that is backed by community-centered ideals, which allows for creativity to flourish and fuels our shared sense of social activism.

Jason McNary, Brandon Blackwood

Intriguing

I would describe the workplace culture at our company as intriguing. The reason is simple: In order to exceed our customers’ expectations, we’re always learning new ways to do things better. As an e-commerce business, it’s imperative for us to stay on top of the latest technology. As a promotional products retailer, it’s even more important to know the latest trends and the most effective branding methods. No two days are the same at Totally Promotional and we’re always learning. Our office staff continues to grow with new marketing and graphics design personnel who bring amazing ideas to the table. This provides outstanding results for our customers and keeps our staff on their toes. “Intriguing” to us means “never a dull moment” and that’s how we like it. 

Shelley Grieshop, Totally Promotional

Transparent

The word I would use to describe my workplace culture is “transparency.” Our company believes in complete honesty, and having a clear line of communication between all employees. We don’t have any secrets or hidden agendas; we put everything out on the table. This means that everyone knows exactly what’s going on with the company, from sales numbers to project deadlines, so that no one is left wondering what’s going on or feeling like they’re being kept in the dark.

Amer Hasovic, Love & Lavender

Autonomy

We foster a strong company culture of autonomy where we take responsibility for our role, our clients, and our growth. When you own something, you care for it. You take responsibility for it. You produce the results needed for your role. You do what you say you will do. An example of this is we are encouraged and supported to take on a challenge each quarter to build out and improve the company’s internal processes that will make our job better. Rather than seeing a problem and waiting for someone else to fix it, or wishing something could be done to improve our systems, we take charge of a new idea and execute it from start to finish.

Emily Amor, Digital Darts

Learning

I think we’ve developed a culture of learning at Powderkeg. As a small team, continuous learning is really important for us to create a meaningful experience for our members. We advocate for and create opportunities for learning across our community—learning new skills and opportunities, learning from each other, learning about ourselves. Learning, and iterating based on those learnings, is essential to our work building community and amplifying the voices of the members whom we serve.

Meg Yothment, Powderkeg

Family

I think the one word that I would use to describe my workplace culture is family.  We are a pretty big organization with around 800 employees but feel like a small, tight-knit family.  Almost everyone knows each other on a first name basis and I think this has a lot to do with the opportunities that we provide during work (professional development, wellness activities, etc).

Lindsey Hight, Sporting Smiles


If you’re curious about how a tech company’s culture might differ from other industries, and what that might mean for you, here are the 8 kinds of company culture you’ll find in tech.

You can browse all of Powderkeg’s Best Tech Companies to Work for, follow them for insights, or request an introduction to plug into your next big opportunity.

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