Positive Private Company Culture (Part 3): The Real Deal Matters in the Real World

Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” George Burns

We smile as we read George Burns’ famous quote because authenticity is such a key to success, we know some companies will attempt to fake it.   In the business world where clients crave authenticity, however, false attempts at sincerity are a major turnoff.

How do we know that a company gets sincerity?  The small things often provide the best clues.  My brother-in-law, Jeff Frankel, owns a Mexican restaurant, Mattito’s, and it was obvious he was doing the right thing the first time I visited when the waiters quickly refilled the chips and salsa without being asked. At Mattito’s, diners are greeted with a friendly warmth that cannot be faked. The food is always great, and is served promptly. Jeff treats his employees like family, many of whom have worked at Mattito’s for years. They enthusiastically respond to his genuine appreciation.  These “small things” spell success for Jeff, and his restaurants receive glowing reviews.  It is therefore no surprise that Jeff will soon be opening his fifth Mattito’s location in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (across from Vista Ridge Mall).

Parts 1 and 2 of this series focused on the need to establish a positive corporate culture to achieve long-term financial success. Transparency and fairness are critical elements of a positive culture, and business owners need to incorporate these core values into their business plans, with the knowledge that their companies will be judged by how they treat their customers, employees, investors and vendors.  This Post looks at a few private companies with positive cultures that have contributed to their sustained success.

Top Companies for Great Business Culture

A consensus of best places to work lists include technology companies, investment firms, online retailers, and many more. One common trait among them is low turnover, and there are many private companies with a reputation for high employee morale.  Smaller companies can provide a number of perks that make them attractive places to work, and which enable them to attract and retain quality employees.  The factors we have discussed that help create a positive culture are all on display in these companies: transparency, participation in decision-making and fair compensation and benefits.

Wegman’s is a company that has been rated by Consumer Reports as the best grocery store in America, and its employees wear name tags listing the number of years that they have been with chain. This gesture reflects how well Wegman’s treats its employees, who are happy to show their happily continued loyalty to the company.  The company invests in each of the communities where it is located, and Wegman’s employees believe management is honest and ethical in its business practices, and socially responsible creating strong good will. Wegmans has appeared on Fortune’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list since the list first appeared in 1998, and has ranked among the top 10 for eight straight years.

Another highly regarded company is the Boston Consulting Group. BCG is notable in allowing its employees to take a one year “Social Impact Leave of Absence.” BCG Employees have dedicated their time during this year away to a variety of causes and foundations aimed at making the world a better place. A majority of BCG staff believe they have unusual and special benefits, and they are proud to be part their company and actively promote it.  BCG was ranked No. 2 on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for List in 2015. 

One more example is Radio Flyer, a company with a well-known brand. The toy-wagon maker attracts and retains employees with perks like flexible schedules, employee discounts, and generous profit-sharing.  Incentive-based pay is critical in retaining and rewarding employees. Across the board, employees show great pride in Radio Flyer’s accomplishments and in their affiliation with the company. In 2015, Fortune named Radio Flyer as one of the 25 best small businesses to work for in America.

The Bottom Line

The modern-day successful business is notable for values, openness and equitable participation.  These values are part of the company’s DNA and will be reflected in its business practices, which bolster its bottom line.  The positive company culture that flows from these core values is critical in securing customers and in acquiring and retaining talent.  Positive culture will become even more important to the company’s continued profitability as more millennials enter the work force and as customers have increasing choices in the marketplace.