Workplace is going away. Move to Workmates
now to get the first 90 days free.

Investigating the Truth Behind Company Culture Myths

15-day free trial workmates logo Try Out Our
Employee Engagement Software For Free
checkmark No credit card needed checkmark Less then 5 min to set up

Company culture has been a hot topic for years now. With the rising popularity of tech companies and the war on talent, companies are valuing their company reputation. This comes into fruition with how the culture of the company is perceived. Now, companies worry about how they look.The days of people giving their all to companies in the recruiting stages are over. It’s a two-way street now. 

A lot of articles on google give many tips and examples on how to improve your company culture. They are mostly claims on company culture that aren’t backed up by hard facts. We took some time to look into claims that related good company culture to increased productivity, compensation and happiness. 

Using 1 million company reviews, Glassdoor and MIT analyzed which companies have the best company culture. We looked into these reviews to bust some myths circulating around the web on our own. Below are 3 company culture myths that are my favorites.

Below are 3 company culture myths that are my favorites, the full study of 8 myths can be seen here.


Myth #1: Great company culture starts at the top

Every employee has an impact on a company culture but the leaders of the company have the most impact. They drive innovation and bring together a strong sense of togetherness.

For this myth, we looked at the CEO approval rating at 175 different companies. 


Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 6.56.39 PM


We found that there is a direct link between companies with high approval ratings for CEOs and high Culture & Values ratings on Glassdoor.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 6.40.48 PM

From the 80-89% range, the score were about 8% higher than the 50-59% range. Fascinating to see the direct data supporting the claim!

CEOs may have the power to make the rules, but it’s the employees who have to put it into practice via communication and collaboration. That’s why senior management also has a huge impact as well. High-level employees may have more of an impact on company culture than CEOs because of their direct involvement with other employees. They influence how policies are put into practice at a company. 

Below we can see that companies with the best managers have about 17% better Culture & Values ratings than the average rating of 3.73.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 6.41.54 PM


Companies with the lowest ratings for Senior managers had almost 50% lower Culture & Values ratings as well. It’s clear after looking at the data that not only does great company culture starts at the top but it also is heavily influenced by strong managers. Myth confirmed!


Myth #2: Employees care most about trendy perks & benefits

When looking for a new job, I can’t pretend that I’m not lured by the perks and benefits advertised by the job listing. Especially when their employees are the biggest advocated on social media! Free lunches? Transportation covered? Full dental coverage? Do I even care about the job more than the perks? Count me in! In the past this wasn’t a priority for companies. You were essentially at their mercy as a candidate. Things have changed now that many positions are open with high employment. You have to sell trendy perks to win the war for talent from your competitors. You also have to have traditional benefits such as healthcare and pension plans. But which do employees care about most?

For this myth, we looked into the 3 most referenced employee benefits for the 175 companies we’ve been analyzing. 

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 6.44.10 PM

54% of companies had health insurance as the most referenced benefit. Employees prefer the traditional over the trendy when it comes to benefits! This is followed by the 401K plan and Time Off.  

This myth has been busted! To make your benefits long lasting, having traditional benefits as your priority is important in employee retention. The perks are the cherry on top!


Myth #3: Work/life balance is essential for incredible company culture

In today’s society, people are often encouraged to give their lives to their jobs. Their mental health and needs are secondary. Your entire day is essentially spent with your coworkers in the office for most of the week. Your professional and personal life feel like they’re one and the same. It’s hard to disassociate. Without healthy communication and collaboration things can quickly break down in any office.

Recently, companies are realizing the cost of having employees overwork themselves. It results in burnout, low productivity, and turnover. We wanted to see if companies with high scores for Work/Life Balance also had top scores in company culture ratings.


Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 6.46.09 PM


This data shows us that companies who scored between 4 and 4.5 on Work/Life Balance scores have the best culture scores. A great company culture requires a healthy work/life balance, this myth has been confirmed!

Was this article helpful?
Yes, thanks
Not really
🎉 Awesome!
Thanks so much for your feedback!
Got it!
Thanks for your feedback!
The 12 Most Common HR Mistakes
Learn how to avoid common HR mistakes that frustrate employees and plague organizations.
Download Now