3 Companies Cultivating a Positive Workplace Culture


Hassina Obaidy



It’s never too late to cultivate a positive workplace. There’s tremendous opportunity to do so. From small to enterprise-sized organizations, every company aspires to be the best company to work for. A positive workplace is more than just office perks, beer kegs, catered lunches, and holiday parties. From diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to supporting continuous learning and education for employees and simply bringing a human aspect to corporate values, these three companies have fostered a positive workplace beyond perks.

Cisco’s Conscious Culture

A networking, security, and software power engine, Cisco is a great example of emphasizing the humanity and respect to their organization. The average employee tenure at Cisco is 7.8 years. The company is working toward building a Conscious Culture, which means “making sure both management and employees practice self-awareness of the environment they’re a part of, and that everyone feels accountable, empowered, and expected to act in a way that is in accordance with the culture Cisco seeks to foster.”

How Cisco approaches its “Conscious Culture” – CISCO

To achieve this, they approach culture differently by focusing on 3 different areas: environment, characteristic, and experience. On the environment side of things, they encourage dignity, respect, fairness, and equity with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Cisco has focused on Full Spectrum Diversity, the foundation of its Conscious Culture. Full Spectrum Diversity is a commitment to being inclusive of “‘gender, age, race, ethnicity, orientation, ability, nationality, religion, veteran status, background, culture, experience, strengths, and perspectives,’ across all functions, regions, and job levels, with the acknowledgement that this umbrella will continue to expand.”

From the characteristic angle are Cisco’s behaviors, beliefs, and principles. If you’re following the company, you’ll notice how much Cisco gives back to their community. The third aspect, experience, is “all about the direct experiences employees have with their company, through management, their team, and the everyday work they perform.” Employees are encouraged to grow, challenged, and use their specific strengths in everyday operations.

Adobe’s Cultural Practices Support Creative Ideas

“We support greater workforce diversity and inclusion by investing in the next generation of creative coders.”

As the champion of digital media and digital marketing solutions, Adobe sure knows how to be the champions in company culture through education, creativity, and community efforts. This year, Adobe was named the World’s Best Place to Work and in 2018, they were named one of the best workplaces for diversity by Fortune Magazine and the Great Place to Work Institute.

Adobe’s diverse workforce derives from a cognitively diverse and broadened skill base that makes the company successful. They encourage their employees to reach their highest potential and achieve excellence in their field through continued and constant learning. Adobe offers education reimbursement, mentorship programs, on-demand online courses, and
leadership development programs for their employees. On top of that, they empower employees to explore new ideas and be innovative with permission to fail. Mark Randall, former VP of Creativity at Adobe, started the Kickstart box initiative to give any staff member a red cardboard box filled with stationery, snacks, and a $1,000 pre-paid credit card to explore their idea, no questions asked.

Hubspot’s Culture Code Has HEART

If your 128-page Culture Code deck goes public, you better live up to it like Hubspot, the pioneer in inbound marketing. Hubspot’s Culture Code deck was viewed over 3.9 million times and ensures it never loses sustainability. So, how does this culture code deck helped Hubspot create a positive workplace? By emphasizing heart. Hubspot employees have HEART: Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent (which they embodied by publicly sharing their Culture Code).

Before rolling out their code, Hubspot gathered employee feedback. This gave employees an opportunity to voice their concerns and perception of the company and Hubspot took it seriously. They wanted to make sure to build trust among its employees and help them understand what a special culture means. In addition, Hubspot brilliantly used a marketing tactic and borrowed inspiration from another leading company: Netflix. Rather than reinvent the wheel, they saw what would work for them and used Netflix as an inspiration to be like them.

From Hubspot’s Culture Code deck

“Think of your culture as a living, breathing product,” says Katie Burke, Chief People Officer of Hubspot. “Every leader at HubSpot bears the responsibility for making sure that they think about their team’s culture and their contributions to our overall culture as a product.”

A positive workplace culture is built on the foundation of making employees feel comfortable, inspired, and included. Inspirational companies like Cisco, Adobe, and Hubspot might have the teams and budget to take their corporate culture to the next level, but one thing other companies can learn from them is that they’ve used creative thinking to bring their ideas to life. To learn how you can create a positive workplace culture and stay up to date on workplace trends, follow Emtrain on LinkedIn and tune in to our live show, Always Learning, held every other Tuesday at 10:30am PST on LinkedIn.


employee engagementWorkplace Culture

Hassina Obaidy

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