4 Award-Winning Firms Share The Secret to Creating Great Company Culture

company culture

Company culture can make or break an organization.

For employees, it can mean the difference between sticking it out in a role for a year before flying the coop or spending a career growing and developing with the company. For managers, it can mean the difference between constantly scrambling to fill roles or address complaints and having the choicest pick of talent approaching them for a position. No longer is the promise of a stable job and a gold watch upon retirement enough to satisfy today’s millennial-heavy workplace. So what exactly do Ivy Exec’s top five consulting firms ranked for culture have in common?

4 Secrets to Creating Great Company Culture

  • All About Opportunity

Forget the break room ping pong tables and company happy hours. When it comes to company culture, employees want to know that they’re working for an organization that cares about enriching and enhancing their careers. At our top-ranked firm for culture Vyanmic, workers rated the company with high marks for training and support opportunities, professional learning and growth opportunities and a positive impact on future career prospects.

“Our attrition rate is less than 10 percent. We are non-hierarchical and choose where we work and what we do. The leadership focuses on growth opportunities, choosing your own path—not up and out,” a current director at Vynamic tells Ivy Exec.

  • Feeling Valued

In addition to providing growth and learning opportunities, all of our top firms for culture received high praise for valuing their employees—and making the employees aware of their value. At Ivy Exec’s number two ranked firm for culture, the Acquis Consulting Group, employee satisfaction is a key metric by which the company measures its success.

“The firm takes culture and employee satisfaction very seriously, to the extent that David (one of the founders) reports on it and announces it side by side with our financial performance — it is an integral part of the overall firm strategy and goals,” a manager at Acquis tells us.

Other employees at Acquis appreciate the close-knit, supportive environment at the company as well.

“Coming from the Big 4, I’m very appreciative of the small family culture at Acquis. Most of the employees are easy to get along with, making the company an enjoyable place to work,” a current consultant there says.

  • Collaboration is Key 

A common theme in all of our top-ranked firms for culture was the importance of collaboration. Of particular value to employees was the willingness of upper management to step back, listen and incorporate the ideas of people who are lower on the totem pole.

A current consultant at The Cambridge Group, our number three ranked firm for culture, tells us that “senior leaders are not interested in dominating a team’s work session but instead offer a very collaborative environment with opportunity for all team members to get involved in the problem solving.”

  • Intellectually Stimulating

Of course most of your time at a firm will be spent doing the actual work—and all of our top-ranked companies for culture received high praise for engaging in intellectually stimulating work.

At Newton Consulting, number four on our list, workers gave the highest marks of all for their interest in their work with a five-out-of-five ranking.

At Marakon, number five on our list of top firms for culture, workers also gave near-perfect marks for their interest in their work with a 4.9-out-of-5 ranking. A current associate there gives this insight into the reason why the work is particularly engaging: “Marakon is also unique in its approach to strategy. As the founders of Value-Based Management, value underpins everything we do. Understanding value drivers requires very rigorous analyses, and projects can often seem slightly academic (in a very interesting way to us, at least).”

Many of the workers at Marakon highlighted its academic focus as being a key driver of employee interest in the work. But one current manager shed light on a crucial point that differentiates Marakon from other intellectually stimulating firms and competitors: “People at Marakon are incredibly intellectually honest with their clients and each other. They are grounded by facts and analysis. Of course, a lot of firms are like that as well, but what makes a Marakon different is that they can challenge with empathy. They bring the facts and insights to a discussion in a way that is constructive and collaborative.”

Bottom Line: Corporate culture is vitally important to a company’s survival and the talent pool it is able to draw from. But keeping employees happy is a far more intricate process than providing a kitchen stocked with snacks, happy hour drinks and a telecommute policy. Workers are looking to grow, learn, develop and have a say in the company’s future.

About the Author

R. Kress is an Emmy Award winning journalist whose reporting and writing has appeared in national media from NBC News to the International Herald Tribune. She has covered news from cities around the world including Jerusalem, Krakow, Amman and Mumbai.