How to Build a Strong Company Culture (With Examples)

A strong company culture is one of the cornerstones of a successful company. 

A company’s environment is formed by its mission and values, leadership approaches, employee behavior, daily operations, decision-making processes, and most importantly, its people.

However, this brings up the question:

How can you create a company culture that attracts and retains employees over the long term?

By first defining what company culture means to you. From there, you can start to map out the values, and specific activities that will help foster a desirable work environment.

In this article, you’ll find examples from industry experts that will help you get started with building a better company culture.

A big thank you goes to Henri Lempu from Printify, Anu Einberg from Paul-Tech, Mari Vavulski from SmartCap, and Anett Nurm from Messente, for contributing to this article!

Let’s get into it!

What does company culture mean to you?

Henri from Printify emphasizes that culture is always there by default, whether you have it formally written down or not. It’s not a question of if we have a culture but rather what kind and hopefully, how do we consciously steer it.“Culture is all about how people behave, interact with, and describe one another and how that translates to making decisions.”

Anu from Paul-Tech calls company culture the “DNA.” “It has everything to do with how you work together, what values you have, and how these values are represented. Culturally speaking, it also means what is accepted (and not accepted) and how people interact with each other.” 

Mari from SmartCap adds that company culture defines the work environment. “Culture influences morale, productivity, and company’s overall success. It’s about fostering a supportive, inclusive, and collaborative environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and aligned with the company’s mission and values.”

According to Anett, a great company culture means you can trust your employer and vice versa. “When you come to work, you should feel like you’ve arrived at a safe space where you can do intense work with the team and remain a unique individual simultaneously.”

How important is building a company culture?

For SmartCap, building a desirable culture is at the core of their recruitment strategy. “A strong company culture attracts and retains top talent. It also drives innovation, enhances teamwork, and ultimately contributes to the company’s long-term growth,” said Mari.

Anu mentions that for Paul-Tech, company culture is becoming a more important subject as the team grows and expands outside of Estonia. 

“When we had four founders and two employees, we were naturally living our values without actually writing them down. Now that we have expanded our team to the UK, having traditions and cultural activities has become a lot more important.”

Besides culture building, ensuring the overall well-being of employees is also a top priority at Messente, according to Anett:

“Our CEO is a huge mental health advocate. We have this nice unwritten policy that if you feel that you’ve worked at 80% of your capacity – and pushing past it would lead to burnout, something needs to be changed. In that case, we take a step back and evaluate if it can be fixed with a lower workload or task automation. Because at the end of the day, it’s just a job.”

Henri adds: “Culture building is crucial. We have developed four core values at Printify that guide our communications and decision-making processes daily.”  

How do you define work atmosphere and culture in your company?

Transparency, low hierarchies, and autonomy seem to be the common theme for most (if not all) companies:

“At Messente, everyone is treated as equals – no matter if they’ve been in the team for four months or eleven years. We know each team member has something unique to bring to the table. We want each individual to be free to express themselves.” – Anett from Messente.

Anu adds: “There’s no hierarchy at Paul-Tech — all the team members are encouraged to ask questions and take initiative.”

Printify defines autonomy and transparency differently, given the company has over 500 employees. “For us, both aspects are still there, but not in a traditional way. It’s not about involving everyone in every single decision-making, but rather making sure everyone is always informed and knows why a decision has been made,” adds Henri. 

“At Printify, you’re encouraged to take ownership of your projects and have the flexibility to deliver. Overall, I’d say we’re a mixture between a start-up and a scale-up.”

According to Mari, SmartCap’s environment is dynamic and supportive: “Our employees are encouraged to take initiative, express their ideas, and work together towards common goals.”

What are some of the company values you prioritize?

Henri mentions that Printify has four core values: being customer-centric, striving for excellence, having curiosity to learn, and fostering a team spirit.

However, one thing is to have these values written down, but understanding what’s behind these values and fancy slogans is another, says Henri.

“That’s why we have tied each value to a key attribute and are now reviewing our supporting mechanisms e.g. what we consciously do that shows we live our values. What does being customer-centric mean? For us, it can mean that at least 1-2 data points must come from direct customers before deciding. This way, the values come to life and it’s more tangible.”

At Messente, one of the values is independence. “By no means does it mean you have to do it all by yourself. It means we value when someone takes on a project and they also deliver on it. Our team spirit is strong, we have clear goals and objectives, and we work together to do big things.” – Anett.

Anu describes Paul-Tech’s employees as practical people. “We have a feedback loop with our employees and customers. Whenever there’s a problem or something that can be done better, we’ll do it immediately. You’ll notice that we’re efficient when you work with us.”

“SmartCap prioritizes values such as integrity, professionalism, teamwork, accountability, and excellence. These values guide decision-making, behavior, and interactions at all levels of the company,” adds Mari.

What activities, traditions, or practices do you actively promote?

When asked about traditions, all companies organize some sort of team get-together at least once a year. 

“We organize a relaxed get-together three times annually where people can have face-to-face time. Since our team operates in different countries and doesn’t get together that often, it is important to make those three events happen. We also encourage different departments to have smaller events, and we provide an allocated budget for that.” – Anett.

According to Anu, Paul-Tech has a mixture of activities, some more systematic than others. “We like to bring our team together at agricultural fairs and events whenever possible, both in the UK and Estonia.” 

She adds: “Besides belonging to the start-up community, Paul-Tech is also part of the farming community, given the nature of the product. That’s why we like to do other fun activities as well, such as growing our fresh produce in the office during the summer.”

Another fascinating way of promoting company culture can be seen at Printify – through a monthly recognition program called “Best of Printify.” 

“Every month, people nominate colleagues for their actions and tie it to one of our core values. It’s a great way to give recognition and boost employee morale.”


Every business has a culture, whether it was intentionally designed or shaped accidentally. Creating a positive company culture is an ongoing endeavor. While it demands dedication from managers, HR personnel, and every team member, the potential benefits include decreased turnover, lowered retention expenses, heightened productivity, and enhanced team spirit.