funny gif of cat removing glasses

Company culture and cat videos — what’s the connection?

We’ve all been there… we feel uninspired at work. Our work has plateaued. We may or may not be carrying around guilt for using work time to indulge in our passion for finding hilarious cat videos (no? Just me?). When I’ve been in this situation, I often feel that the problem is me. If only I could get it together to finish my work, engage in meetings and (let’s be honest) pull myself out of the rabbit hole I’ve gone down looking for just…one…more…cat video.

Research points to a larger issue; the problem is not just individual employees and their “engagement” but the overall culture of the organization. A negative culture affects everything from productivity and retention to ethical behavior of employees.  Those “hilarious cat” searches on YouTube increase when employees don’t feel like their work is valued or aren’t invested. A positive culture leads to employees who exceed org expectations and goals. According to a recent Culture Amp Diversity and Inclusion Report, factors that have the most impact on employee engagement are a sense of belonging and respect, satisfaction with decision making processes, and open and honest two-way communication.  

Building  Positive Company Culture

That said, motivating employees and changing company culture is no easy task. Many companies turn to one-off workshops and trainings to develop their culture and address the challenges related to employee engagement. In 2015, spending by U.S. companies on training programs grew by 15% to over $70 billion dollars. Worldwide, companies spent $130 billion dollars trying to tackle their organization’s most pressing challenges.  

Aside from being expensive, standard corporate training programs have also been unable to demonstrate widespread effectiveness. In 2010, McKinsey and Company conducted a survey of the companies that had used corporate training programs. They found that only 25% of respondents thought these programs had improved employees’ performance.

The truth is that actually changing culture is difficult. No matter how many trust-falls and ice breakers they include, one-off trainings rarely have an impact on employee behavior or company culture. In fact, trainings often happen outside of employee work context and do not take company needs into account. Furthermore,  they usually do not include any follow-up support or opportunities to practice. Our team at HiveQuest focuses on closing this implementation gap.

Training that actually works

Merging the philosophies of online learning and social networking, HiveQuest’s social learning model offers an alternative. We take into account the principles necessary for improving employee practice and changing company culture. Our approach draws from the latest research on organizational development, behavior change and adult learning. According to the Harvard Business Review, “high performing teams interact often and are socially bonded”.

In the HiveQuest platform, leaders choose the program that corresponds to a team professional goal (e.g. team communication), and  team members are guided through a series of practices to reach their goal. As they progress they share insights, further deepening the effect via social learning.

To build truly sustainable and profitable businesses, companies must create opportunities to foster a culture that encourages social bonding, positivity and high performance. In order to do this effectively, trainings need to directly address culture and include job-embedded opportunities to practice new learning.

In the end, like most employees, I care more about feeling engaged in my work than being up to date on the latest cat videos…

–By Emily Schriber

To learn more about how HiveQuest can help your company culture, please email me at


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