I like to see that there are two types of company cultures: The Fun at Work Culture and what I call the Strategic Culture.

Can you recognize which one you have in your work place?

The Fun at Work Culture

  1. Driven solely by the employees and HR.
  2. Starts with: “How can we make our workplace more fun?”
  3. Top management sees it as an HR project and is not involved.
  4. Requires an annual budget.
  5. Usually looks like variety of activity clubs, cool office decor, couches, ping-pong tables and an extravagant espresso machine.

The Fun at Work Culture is an easy way to develop your workplace. Employees are fully engaged and feel happy about being able to contribute.

From the business point of view, this type of culture is totally separate from the business. The elements of the Fun at Work culture are additional costs for the company and benefits for the employees.

The benefits of Fun at Work culture.

The Strategic Culture

The strategic culture interprets the business strategy into an ideal organizational behavior. The purpose of the strategic culture is to guide the business decision makers in:

  • identifying the type of leadership culture that helps us best execute our business goals,
  • recognizing how HR can best support the development of our ideal leadership culture,
  • understanding what type of work place behavior contributes to employees’ success in our kind of a business environment,
  • choosing values that actually support the decision making required to achieve the business goals,
  • recognizing if the organization has the required capabilities for implementing and executing successfully the new strategy.

The Strategic Company Culture is a type of a culture that focuses on recognizing and matching the business strategic needs with the ideal organizational behavior.

Download a free infographic: The difference between company culture and employee engagement

Fun-at-Work-Culture- vs strategic culture

Culture as a source of competitive advantage

I am a strong supporter of a healthy organizational culture, great leadership and employee commitment. However, there is a significant difference to which type of culture adds real value to a growth business in today’s business environment.

The Fun at Work Culture has become a base line

The Fun Workplace has been the base minimum for modern organizations for years now and has two important benefits:

  1. Employee contribution and engagement towards how to make sure we all come to a happy place every morning.
  2. Building team spirit and togetherness, which are both extremely important, especially when the going gets rough. And as we all have very well taken not, the going has been pretty rough recently.

Fun at Work Culture fails in offering competitive advantage

In many industries, the Fun Workplace is no longer a competitive advantage from employer branding perspective because it has become a standard, a base line expectation. Imagine a tech company that hasn’t invested in a funky office decor and a state of the art espresso machine?

The problem with the Fun at Work Culture is that anyone can copy the elements making it. Any company can offer the same benefits taking away the competitiveness of it all together. Everyone can buy the same coffee machines, sofas and ping pong -tables. Every company can create the same activity clubs and buy karaoke equipment to the office.

Ultimately, Fun at Work isn’t a culture but some wonderful benefits a company offers

While these types of benefits are a clear sign of appreciation, they are benefits, not a culture. If everyone offers the same or similar benefits, there is no competitive advantage.

What The Fun at Work Culture lacks is the transparency between how can I and should I as an employee contribute to the big picture as well as what does the big picture mean for me in this role and position. And that is what I see not just as a huge differentiator but also extremely valuable mechanism for leading people and objectives.

Giving employees all the Fun at Work -benefits is by all means wonderful! And your company can still do that. But developing a culture based solely on benefits that make it more fun to be here are not a fixer upper for more important issues such successfully transforming this business or implementing our new strategy or reaching the ambitious goals we have as we scale this business.

Nor do the fun benefits make poor leadership better or develop the organizational strategic capabilities.

Human Resource Management Review: Fun in the Workplace: A review and expanded theoretical perspective >>

This blog post was updated November, 28.2021 by Susanna.

Button -> call to action