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The Ingenious Key to Building an Extraordinary Company Culture

Written by CultureCon 2022 Sponsor and Presenter, Bonusly


If I could pick one word to describe the past few years, it would be: unstable. (Are we due for a break in major global developments any time soon?) There is, however, an opportunity to help your employees weather the unpredictability. The key? Intentionally design your company culture as a strong foundation during distressing times.

Design and company culture: how do they relate?

To get started, what is design exactly?

Design (Merriam-Webster):


  1. To create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan

  2. To conceive and plan out in the mind

  3. To devise for a specific function or end

Similar to the importance of having a thorough and calculated plan for developing the leading recognition software product, it’s equally important to have a well-thought-out plan when building your company culture.

Some of the most successful designers like Coco Chanel (iconic fashion designer), James Dyson (inventor, industrial designer, and founder of Dyson), Bill Gates (software designer, developer, and co-founder of Microsoft), and Julie Zhuo (former VP of Product Design at Facebook) may come from completely different industries and backgrounds. But they have one thing in common—a design process.

However, like an iceberg, we rarely see the behind-the-scenes design and planning processes that happen below the surface—we only see the end results above the surface. Those invisible processes are what shape the majority of our world and lead to truly successful end results. (If you’re interested in learning more about overlooked design, there’s an entire podcast dedicated to it aptly named 99% Invisible.)

When it comes to creating an extraordinary company culture, whether you’re the Director of HR or CEO, the design and planning process should be your primary focus.

The process of building an unshakeable company culture

1. Discovery

In this step, you’ll want to collect data to understand potential problems to solve for your “users.” Of course, your “users” will be your employees.

This step also includes research, with the goal to gain an in-depth understanding of your “user journey” or employee experience.

Research methods include:

Review existing data

○ Take a look at data you’re already collecting that may provide insights into the employee experience. That might include attrition data, analytics from your employee recognition program, or past employee engagement surveys.

Employee interviews

○ Conducting a handful of 1:1 interviews is a great way to better understand employee experience. Start by coming up with a list of questions you would like clarity and insight on from your teams. Consider selecting one or two individuals of varying seniority from each team within your organization.