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The External Power of Internal Culture

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We fly Southwest because of how they treat their employees. This picture is from the Southwest Airlines twitter feed: “Welcoming a new class of Interns to our Family with a #SWAselfie! #LUV.” For an extended version of what we mean, take a look at this video.

Have you ever deliberately patronized a business because they’ve done something that aligns with your values, even if it didn’t affect you directly? For instance, Dawn dish soap has a strong commitment to saving wildlife, and their commercials and packaging often feature Dawn soap washing oil off of ducks trapped in oil spills. I buy Dawn whenever I can. The next step up from this is patronizing a business because they practice something that aligns with your values that could benefit you directly. For instance, I buy from Zappos because I know if I have a question or an issue, I’ll have a really easy time with customer service. If I never need that gold-star customer service though, I’ll have supported a company with that great practice anyway.

Another, much more internal application of this thinking is how one of our professional services clients has recently described to us that his company’s clients now ask what his company culture is like before they engage his company. Companies are catching on — they only want to partner with organizations where employees enjoy working. They’re interested in supporting great company cultures, and they’re not interested in supporting those with more questionable cultures. This marks an important shift in priorities — it’s not just the product sold or the services rendered, it’s the company’s internal environment that’s now just as important. Companies are starting to see the far-reaching benefits of doing business with organizations that are great places to work.

We suspect this is the case for a few reasons:

  • Companies want to support the well-being of other companies’ employees.
  • Companies know that great organizational cultures produce happy employees, who in turn go above and beyond for their employers, and therefore their clients — total quality-of-life programs lead to 41% fewer quality defects, for example (Gallup).
  • Companies understand that investing in employee engagement means great relationships and stability for their money — cared-for employees are 200% more likely to stay (HBR) and need fewer sick days (Gallup).

It’s an enormous win-win situation. Let us know your stories of supporting companies with great company cultures! We would love to hear about them and feature them in future posts.


Pamela Kaye does PR and Communications for Stories Incorporated. Questions, comments, concerns, poetic insights? Let me know at [email protected]; I’d love to hear from you!