20 Words to Describe Company Culture in 2023 – Positive Words, Negative Words, and more

December 16, 2022
company culture is important

What one word would you use to describe your company’s culture?

Company culture is the company’s and its employees’ shared ethos. As a result, many job seekers look for a positive, strong workplace culture over pay and benefits.

That’s why it’s important to define your company in terms that reflect your core values and mission.

Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to find words that epitomize your company’s culture.

So, we’ve put together this list of the most popular words to describe company culture, both positive and negative, as well as how they manifest in the workplace.

9 Positive words to describe company culture

The first step toward building a workplace that employees gravitate toward is to define your company culture. Let’s start with nine positive words to describe your company culture:

1. Agile

An agile company culture is one that allows its employees to work in the way that suits them best. If you describe your workplace as agile, it means you place a high value on work-life balance.

What you can expect from an agile company culture:

  • Flexibility in scheduling
  • Remote work opportunities

This culture helps employees balance their daily work with their personal lives. As a result, employees are more content, which leads to increased productivity.

Agile work cultures also allow for greater adaptability to external changes. This could be crucial for long-term success.

2. Autonomous

Gone are the days when employers needed to micromanage their employees. In an autonomous workplace, employees are encouraged to make independent decisions. 

This autonomy builds a culture of trust. This can create a healthy culture that boosts productivity and positivity. Employees have complete control over their projects and complete freedom to work. This allows them to be creative.

According to research, employees can produce their best work in a trusting environment. Such an environment can also increase employee retention.

3. Challenging

Almost all employees enjoy a good challenge now and then. A challenging company culture may be demanding, but it’s also rewarding. 

To begin with, challenges are stimulating, breaking up the monotony of work. Challenges also force team members to make the best use of their skill sets. 

That’s why employees grow, learn, and evolve as professionals in such an environment.

4. Collaborative

In a collaborative environment, no person is an island. Employees should regularly collaborate when working on projects.

So, a collaborative company culture should:

  • Encourage employees to share their ideas
  • Support one another
  • Work in teams to achieve common goals

Employees are more engaged and connected as a result. They also have improved communication and teamwork skills. Not to mention that employee collaboration can maximize their skill sets. 

5. Empathetic

In an empathetic culture, employers acknowledge and encourage employees to express their emotions. They create a safe environment that encourages open communication and support.

Leading such a culture in your workplace can help prevent burnout. It can also help stop any potential problems before they escalate.

Employees, in the end, don’t want their managers to go above and beyond for them. Nonetheless, when employees feel valued, they’re more likely to stick around.

6. Innovative

One adjective to describe a company culture that supports and encourages forward-thinking is “innovative.” It goes hand in hand with daring and curious company cultures.

Innovative companies grow at a faster rate and become more profitable than other businesses.

What’s more, most young job seekers want to work for a company that celebrates thinking outside the box. They know that such companies reward their employees for trying new strategies, processes, and approaches to solving problems.

7. Motivating

Tired at work

Work monotony can have an adverse effect on some people’s performance and quality of work. That’s why most, if not all, employees want to work in a stimulating environment.

Such an environment seeks to inspire its employees through recognition. Employees are thus motivated to take on new challenges and increase their productivity.

It’s also important to receive acknowledgment in the form of rewards.

You can use Social Recognition® to build a culture of recognition. This tool can help provide employees with extrinsic rewards. As a result, they find it easy to stay intrinsically motivated.

Not to mention that when employees receive recognition from their peers as well as their superiors, they’re more likely to have a positive work experience, which is a win-win all around. Research from IBM® Smarter Workforce Institute and Workhuman® iQ shows organizations that score in the top 25% on employee experience report nearly 3x the return on assets and 2x the return on sales.

8. Casual

A casual company culture can foster a welcoming and laid-back environment. Employees, especially millennials and Gen Zs, prefer workplaces where they can dress comfortably. They also prefer workplaces that allow for breaks and flexible work hours.

Such a relaxed environment can help keep employees happy at work. When employees are happy, they’re more invested and compelled to deliver high-quality work.

So, unless necessary, there’s no reason for employees to follow an overly formal dress code or a strict schedule.

9. Transparent

A transparent company culture keeps its employees up to date on its operations, strategies, and goals. This includes any errors or crises that the company encounters.

Employees feel valued and trusted when there is this level of transparency. In turn, always being open and honest with your employees helps you gain their trust and respect.

That said, transparency isn’t always easy for employers for several reasons. Full pay transparency, for example, can breed envy and frustration. In this case, explaining what determines pay to employees may be more beneficial than the full disclosure of individual pay.

7 Negative words to describe company culture

A toxic workplace can result in high turnover and a low number of job applicants. So, here are seven negative words that describe work cultures you should avoid:

1. Biased

Whether intentional or not, bias can create unwelcome issues in the workplace, such as:

  • Discrimination
  • Microaggression

That’s why a biased workplace is the type of environment every employer should strive to eliminate.

2. Cliquey

You may associate cliques with high schools, but cliques can form in workplaces too. A cliquey culture is one that employees may find themselves excluding another employee from their team. 

Employees can form friendships, but grouping can lead to loneliness for some. As a result, excluded employees may experience low morale, which may negatively impact their performance.

3. Disengaged

words to describe company culture

In a disengaged culture, employees don’t feel connected to their workplace. This state can spread low morale and negativity within the organization. It can also result in poor performance and high turnover due to employees’ lack of enthusiasm.

4. Hostile

Hostile workplaces are often known for being hyper-competitive. They foster an obsessive mindset and lack of empathy among employees.

Unwarranted criticism from leaders and managers is another source of hostility in the workplace.

In either case, hostility can have a negative impact on employees’ mental health and well-being. A hostile work environment can lower overall morale and performance.

If employees don’t feel safe, they’re less likely to engage with their managers. Employees may even become hostile toward one another.

5. Micromanaged

Micromanagers often feel the need to exert control over their teams’ work. As a result, a culture of micromanaging can make employees feel like they’re underqualified.

Micromanagement has such a negative impact on businesses that it’s a common reason why employees leave.

When employees feel like they don’t have the freedom to make decisions, they become disengaged from their work and the company as a whole. They may also feel like they’re stuck in place.

6. Rigid

A rigid workplace is one where employees don’t have much flexibility. They may find themselves employing antiquated strategies and approaches simply because that’s the way the company addresses a problem.

Employees are more prone to professional stagnation because rigid company cultures lack creativity and innovation.

7. Stressful

Taking on projects one after the other can put all employees under pressure and stress. An unsupportive culture might also contribute to workplace stress.

Chronic workplace stress can lead to low productivity and burnout. That’s why it is critical to provide employees with breaks to recover from stress.

Using Moodtracker®, a pulse-survey tool, is one way to stay informed about how your employees are feeling. The tool sends regular surveys tailored to every employee. Then, it provides an easy-to-read but detailed analysis of the results.

Moodtracker also provides immediate recommendations and solutions. This way, you can keep your workplace from becoming stressful.

4 Words to describe company culture values

The type of culture you’re part of needs to hold certain values. That way all employees have a clear vision of what they stand for.

Here are four words that you can use to describe your company’s values and ethics:

1. Accountability

Fostering accountability is a critical step in how to improve company culture. You want your company’s culture to be one in which employees take responsibility for their work.

Employers and managers must be able to rely on their employees to complete their tasks and meet deadlines.

This accountability culture can help foster great commitment among employees. In doing so, employees are more likely to deliver the best results.

2. Communication

A positive company culture encourages communication. It’s what provides employees with a sense of direction and a method for forming effective teams.

Clear communication also sets the stage for what’s to come by ensuring that all employees share common goals.

3. Feedback

Regular two-way constructive feedback keeps employees informed of their own and their team’s performance.

It also allows them to fully understand what their managers expect of them. Research shows that this clarity of expectations can lead to a 5-10% increase in productivity gains.

In a company culture that values feedback, employees can support and mentor one another. This reflects in the overall improvement and growth of the company.

4. Inclusion

Inclusion at work

An inclusive culture encourages diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). It creates policies and tools to ensure that all employees, regardless of their background, feel valued, involved, and respected.

You could benefit from a feature like Inclusion Advisor, which reduces unconscious bias in written communications.

Inclusion Advisor does more than point out subtleties that may appear biased. It also offers suggestions and an explanation of why such language can seem biased.

According to research, developing an inclusive work culture is critical to a company’s success. The top 25% of companies in terms of racial and ethnic diversity outperform their respective national industry medians in financial returns by 35%.


Now that you know what words best describe company cultures, let’s check out a couple of common questions:

How do you create a positive workplace culture?

Building a positive workplace culture is unique to each organization. However, a few simple rules can set any company culture on the right track:

  • Establishing clear core values
  • Encouraging communication and collaboration
  • Promoting inclusivity and diversity
  • Verbalizing acknowledgment and recognition
  • Maintaining transparency

Why is a positive workplace culture important?

A positive company culture is the driving force behind any successful business. In a positive work environment, the employees are content and satisfied with their workplace.

As a result, they’re motivated to do their best work, achieve their goals, and realize their company’s vision.

Not to mention that employees who have a positive workplace experience rarely seek other career options.


Using precise and powerful words to describe company culture sets the stage for what’s to come from your company. This way, you can attract the best candidates for your company.

So, take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of your employees. Ask around and run employee surveys. Then, analyze the feedback.

You can even use Moodtracker® to help you find the exact words for your company. This way, you can determine what type of work culture boosts employee positivity and productivity.

Company Culture