“That company is changing the world.”This is what people say about the most successful companies in the modern world, the companies that consistently blow expectations, and rival companies, out of the water. They are those with lists of accolades, like HubSpot, and those with scores of articles waxing poetic on how they found so much success, like Netflix.
We scoured the internet for all the culture decks we could find and curated a list of the most noteworthy examples in the business world.
Some are older, but they still serve as an important snapshot of the company’s growth.
All decks have been verified recently. Let’s dive in.
27 Examples of Company Culture Decks
- What is your company hoping to achieve?
- What’s your philosophy on your industry?
- What is the core problem your company wants to solve?
- How did your business begin?
- What does a leader look like at your company?
- What qualities are you seeking in new talent?
- What does ideal teamwork look like?
- If failures happen, what comes next?
- What does success mean for you?
- What outcomes or behaviors result in promotion?
- What outcomes or behaviors call for corrective action, and what does that look like?
- HR Leader
- Brand Executive
- Communications Leader
- “We are a mindful, transparent, and humane business.
- We plan and build for the long term.
- We value craftsmanship in all we make.
- We believe fun should be part of everything we do.
- We keep it real, always.”
- Who has enough comfort with the team to solicit broad input but also has the confidence to make hard decisions, should they arise?
- Who are the stars at your company? What traits do they have in common?
- Whose voices haven’t you heard in discussions of company culture?
- What’s the best way to make your culture deck accessible for your team?
- How can you tie in projects to your central mission?
- What aspects of the company should you monitor for changes?
What is a company culture deck?
Company Culture Deck: a breakdown of company culture, core values and main missions, also outlining what success means and how ideals may look in practice.
At its most basic, a culture deck is a slideshow that breaks down your company’s culture, core values, and mission into clear, easy-to-absorb pieces. However, this is more ambitious than it sounds.
Everyone benefits from having a clear-cut guide to how and why your company does certain things. A well-articulated mission helps you attract the best talent, individuals who share your same motivations and value your unique philosophies. And when you make these hires, the culture deck works to uphold any expectations set.
As you scale, the culture deck helps keep your business on track. It’s the ultimate compass for maintaining focus on your original purpose, although the best great culture deck also evolves over time. In this sense, they give you a living record of your history, reminding you where you started, whilst also staying open to innovative ideologies.
A proper culture deck is the purest distillation of your business’s ethos, in all areas, from who you hire to how you conduct business. They help your company get on the same page and stay on the same page.
Company Culture Decks for Talent and Customers
It’s worth considering whether you want to make your deck available to the outside world. Doing so may benefit your recruiting and hiring processes, since candidates can more easily determine whether they align with the team culture.
(Google Culture Deck, Attracting Smart Creatives)
You can also find that customers greatly appreciate the opportunity to read about the company with whom they do business.
Sharing your values can help create an even stronger bond with your brand enthusiasts, assuming they support the same philosophies.
The culture decks are a big part of why these companies are so strong. And you know what’s great? It’s an easy tool for your own business to leverage when finding its own success.
By creating a culture deck yourself, (or at least defining your cultural values,) you’ll create a defensible competitive advantage. It will help you hire and build the best possible team in a way no one else can replicate.
Building one takes nothing more than an understanding of your business and a desire to operate things at their best.
How can you build an amazing culture deck?
Ambitious as it may sound, creating a culture deck is achievable for even the smallest and largest teams. For example, the world-famous design team, IDEO, created their culture deck decades after they started.
To make a culture deck, you need to be willing to dig deep and be thoughtful about what makes your business unique. You also need to think about what your goals are, and what you believe in when it comes to business and high performance.
Every culture deck will be customized to the business, but they share some core attributes, so you can follow this process, no matter your company’s size, industry, or culture.
1. Center on your mission
At the core of your culture deck should be your company’s mission. This is the explanation of what you’re trying to accomplish and why you’re doing it. That will likely involve defining your customers or clients, so be sure to include what you see as your duty to them.
This is also where you should briefly sum up your company’s history to date. Even if your business recently started, it’s good to make mention of your origin story so that you and your employees can keep the business’s roots in mind as you grow.
If your business already has a motto or a North Star philosophy, the first few slides are the perfect place to include them. This isn’t the place for a lot of industry jargon. Instead, explain the motto or philosophy in a way that someone who has never heard of your company will understand.
Task-list tool Asana does a particularly good job of this. On the fourth slide of their culture deck, they state that their “mission is to help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly,” and go on to align their attributes very explicitly with that overarching statement.
They even explain why they’re even talking about their mission, “to make sure everyone at Asana is aligned around the same goal.” When you know that you’re hiring smart, savvy people, you can be transparent with them about the purpose of the culture deck from the very start.
Questions to consider:
The beginning of your culture deck is also the natural place to briefly sum up your company’s history to date. Even if your business recently started, it’s good to make mention of your origin story so that you and your employees can keep the business’s roots in mind as you grow.
2. Build in your values
Your mission is about what you’re trying to do. Your company values are about how you work towards that mission, as well as the way you conduct yourself along the way.
Values might be as simple as two or three sentences describing what you see as important in running an ethical business. Or they may be a complex network of quotes and examples of the way you want your employees to view the world.
(Image – Lululemon Value Board)
One interesting approach is the one taken by women’s activewear company, Lululemon. Their culture deck is a single page, but packed edge to edge with philosophies, phrases, and ideas that sum up what the company is all about.
While any one of these phrases in isolation may not express a company’s values very well, taken together, you can see the picture of a positive, athletic, idealistic group of people. Even the design contributes to the idea of a great company culture that cares about creativity and an out-of-the-box approach to work.
When including your company’s values in your culture deck, think about what a thriving company looks like to you. How do you hope your employees see and treat one another? If your concept is nebulous at first, don’t be afraid to include charts, images, and quotes that express the idea for you.
Questions to consider:
3. Make your processes as transparent as possible
Excellent culture decks are transparent. That doesn’t mean you have to share all of your business’s financial details or upper-level strategies, but it does mean being open about what matters to your company.
You should make it clear how you define success, and how you define failure. You should also be open about what sorts of ideas, behaviors, and results will add up to an employee moving up in your company, as well as the behaviors that won’t be tolerated. Help people understand what these behaviors look like in practice. This makes it far easier for employees to engage in the way you’d like.
You should make it abundantly clear how you define success, and your philosophy on failure. You should also be open about what sorts of ideas, behaviors, and results will contribute towards an employee being able to move up in your company, as well as any things that simply won’t be tolerated.
If you can help people understand what these behaviors look like in practice, it’s far easier for employees to engage in the way you’d like. In the culture deck given to the Spotify engineering team, success is very nicely summed up.
Spotify doesn’t leave any room for confusion or debate. They outline success for everyone, from new hires to team leaders, and lay it out in a way that’s easy to understand and reference. If you flick through the slides, you’ll see that Spotify actually breaks down each of these headings into a few slides for even greater clarity.
Questions to consider:
4. Get your whole team involved (but also choose a “DRI”)
Seeking varied perspectives will help you create a strong culture deck, and in turn increase buy-in. That said, you still need a DRI (“Directly Responsible Individual“) to keep on top of things. Given that many people may feel a sense of ownership over the team culture, it’s particularly important to identify the DRI.
The DRI needs to know that they have the entire company’s permission and backing throughout the process. On the flip side, the team needs to realize that the DRI is empowered to make tough choices, should there be misalignment between different perspectives.
Good candidates for a DRI include:
It’s one thing to create a slideshow full of ideals. But if those ideals don’t reflect the feel of your company, they’ll never be fully integrated into the business. Make sure your culture deck reflects reality by finding out what employees have to say about the culture.
One way to do this is by interviewing your employees. Do they often find themselves referring to your current mission statement? Do they feel like it applies to the work they’re doing? You can also set up an anonymous survey and collect responses that way, which may generate more candid input than in-person interviews.
Dell kept this process pretty straightforward by asking their team the simple question: ‘If you could describe Dell in one word, which would you use?’
This gave them a solid foundation on which to adapt their values and continue to grow.
Cloud-based digital marketing solution Nanigans asked their team “What defines a great company?” They found out that most of their staff thought the answer was “great people.”
Crafts and vintage e-commerce site Etsy’s phrases all of its values with the collective
They use these kinds of statements so that their employees feel included from the moment they’re hired. This is a simple change you can make to help your culture feel more relatable, and make your deck integrated as soon as it’s introduced.
If you’d like to replicate this inclusivity with your company culture deck, make sure to involve people who have a different perspective. You may find newer hires better able to see the forest for the trees, identifying things that have long gone unnoticed. At the same time, your field reps might pinpoint cultural norms in a much clearer way than those who work in the office every day.
The more contributions you get, the broader your perspective on how people perceive the culture at your company. The more you leverage these opinions, the better-rounded your culture deck will become. You could end up making changes as big as your values or mission statement, or as simple (yet meaningful) as shifting the language you use to express those ideals.
Questions to consider:
5. Weave your culture deck into daily operations
In the end, the trick is creating a culture deck that contains useful information, is easy to reference, and really ties into what your employees do each day. It doesn’t really matter how you design it, as long as it’s being used.
In Patreon’s culture deck, they make the distinction between ‘core values’ and ‘core behaviors’ to support the idea that “behaviors are lower in the stack than values, and thus, more actionable.” Nordstrom reserves a slide in their culture deck to emphasize something similar, stating the importance of “connecting the dots between work and Nordstrom’s strategic objectives.”
Video game company Valve created their culture deck in the style of an old-fashioned employee handbook, with a twist. They use illustrations of characters from their games, sprinkling in annotations to give it a playful style that suits a game company.
Their team handbook is full of important information that helps people acclimate to the team and do their jobs better. They include both philosophical, as well as actionable information like definitions of team structures, why they’re built as they are, and how to get involved with new projects.
The result is an engaging document that’s easy to reference and read through without employees’ eyes glazing over before they absorb important information. By making the deck reflect their own laid-back, fun culture, Valve has made it far easier and more engaging for employees to reference.
You can help employees apply your ideals to their daily work by weaving them naturally into strategy and projects. It’s always worthwhile to spend a little time tying every new project to your company’s mission and values in some way.
Questions to consider:
What should we do with our culture deck? Save it in Tettra.
Once you’ve done the hard work of creating the deck, make it broadly available.
If it’s easily accessible, team members are more likely to leverage it in the daily work they’re doing.
Knowledge management software like Tettra is a great home for your culture deck, so people can add questions or comments.
Share your company knowledge on Tettra. Start for free.
Putting it in Tettra also helps teams that use Slack, since people will see a Slack notification whenever you make edits to the deck.
It’s also worth considering whether you want to make your deck available to the outside world.
Doing so may benefit your hiring processes and work environment, since candidates can more easily determine whether they align with the team culture.
You may find that customers appreciate the opportunity to read about the company with whom they do business. Sharing your values can help create an even stronger bond with your brand enthusiasts, assuming they share the same values.
Be ready to make adjustments to your culture deck to reflect your progression, and broadcast any amendments to the entire company with a simple button. Sharing your updates instills trust and communicates that you’re flexible and upfront with your team.
Creating a thoughtful, intentional culture deck is central to helping your company thrive. But building one takes nothing more than an understanding of your business and a desire to help it be its best.