DesignX Discussions: What’s the secret to a great company culture?

Every week, we pose a question to our members to shake up the conversation and get everybody involved. This is our latest #TopicOfTheWeek recap.

This week, we bit into a big one: company culture.

To some, company culture means catered lunches and ping pong tables, while to others, it’s about work-life balance and open concept spaces. And while all of those may be elements that contribute to a company’s culture, they’re really the end result of culture. For startups trying to recruit recent grads, they’ll tend to more of the ‘fun’ office perks, while big business may focus on flexible work hours or working from home, to appeal to individuals with a family at home.

What do our members think?

When we posed the question “what are some of the amazing “culture things” that your company has implemented?”, we weren’t totally sure what to expect. Maybe single items like free beer on tap, nap rooms, or off-site functions, but beyond that, it’s really hard to guess.

Unsurprisingly, our members chimed in with some wonderful, insightful responses, as usual.


Can culture be intentional, or is it organic?

First up, Mei really dug in, wondering if culture is even something that can be deliberately implemented, or if it needs to be developed naturally by the individuals at the company.


Starting at the beginning

When a new employee joins, what can a company do from day one to help them not only hit the ground running, but feel like a member of the team?


Celebrating the team

It’s one thing for a company to say they’re open to suggestions from their employees, Marc’s company goes above and beyond by allowing the team to consistency contribute to their culture:


Life beyond the office

It’s great to really love your 9–5, but what about the 5–9? And what can a company do for introverted employees who don’t thrive in after work patio sessions or off-sites?


Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer to this. A company can plan their ideal culture with the best of intentions, and while leaders certainly set the tone, culture really is the sum of its parts, driven by a company’s employees.


What do you think? Can culture be created, or does it have to occur organically? When interviewing individuals or for a new role, what do you look for to determine cultural fit?

Share your ideas below, or join the Toronto or NYC DesignX Slack groups and connect with other like-minded creatives in the community.

Check out these other recent DesignX Discussions:

Conferences: love ’em or hate ‘em?

What’s your backup career plan?

What’s your crowning achievement?