The Culture Deck: A Blueprint for Capturing Company DNA

Let's dive into the core elements that make a culture deck truly impactful, from defining values to strategies that bring them to life.

Company culture is the lifeblood that keeps an organisation humming along, but how do you bottle that intangible essence? Better yet, how do you communicate it in a way that’s digestible, engaging, and meaningful to everyone from new hires to potential investors?

Enter the culture deck—a visual manifesto that maps out a company’s DNA for all to see. But before you scoff at the idea of yet another corporate slide deck, read on. This isn’t your average PowerPoint, but a pivotal tool that has the potential to shape your company’s future.

In a world where employees can swipe left on jobs as easily as they do on dating apps, a compelling culture deck could be your secret weapon to attract and retain top talent. So, how do you create a culture deck that does more than pay lip service to words like 'innovation' and 'teamwork'?

We’re rolling up our sleeves to dive into the core elements that make a culture deck truly impactful, from defining values that actually matter to strategies that bring them to life.

Core Components

Creating a culture deck is a great way to convey a company's values, mission, and unique attributes to both internal and external stakeholders. Here's a rundown of essential components often included in culture decks:

  • Introduction: Briefly describe the purpose of the deck and what readers can expect.
  • Mission Statement: Clearly articulate the company's mission. What is its raison d'être?
  • Vision: Where does the company aim to be in the long term?
  • Values: List core values with explanations, examples, or stories that bring them to life.
  • Leadership Principles: If applicable, describe the guiding principles that steer decision-making at executive levels.
  • Team Norms: Outlines of acceptable behaviours, communication styles, and meeting protocols.
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Explain the company's stance and initiatives related to D&I.
  • Career Pathways: Show potential growth opportunities within the organisation.
  • Benefits & Perks: Highlight unique benefits and perks that make the company an attractive workplace.
  • Employee Testimonials: Quotes or short interviews with employees on what they value about the company culture.
  • Conclusion: Recap the core messages, often looping back to the mission and vision.

The length of a culture deck can vary widely depending on the complexity of the organisation and the depth of detail you want to cover. However, brevity is often effective. Here's a general guideline:

  • Small to Medium-Sized Companies: 15-25 slides. These decks should be concise while still covering all core elements. Extra fluff isn't necessary; the aim is to communicate the essentials in an engaging manner.
  • Large Corporations or Complex Cultures: 30-50 slides. Larger companies may require more slides to capture the various facets of their culture, different departments, and global reach.
  • Startup or Agencies: 10-15 slides. These might be even shorter and more to-the-point, focusing primarily on mission, vision, and core values.

Keep in mind that the deck is often not intended to be read in isolation but is usually accompanied by a presenter who can provide context and elaboration. The key is to balance comprehensiveness with engagement—you don't want to lose your audience's attention by being overly verbose.

Culture Deck Design

To make each slide impactful, start with an engaging visual and one-liner for the introduction that grabs attention. When discussing the mission and vision, sidestep corporate jargon; use simple language and compelling design to make your point. For the values section, accompany each listed value with an authentic example or story, supported by visuals where relevant. Leadership principles can be presented alongside poignant anecdotes or quotes from company leaders, adding an extra layer of authenticity.

When outlining team norms, stick to bullet points for readability, and use icons for easy recall. In the diversity and inclusion section, data or short case studies can substantiate the company's commitment. For career pathways, employ flowcharts or career maps to visually guide the reader through growth opportunities within the company. Benefits and perks could be represented through quick icons or even unique illustrations, adding a brief description for any company-specific offerings.

In the employee testimonials section, strive for authenticity. Real quotes and photographs—or even short video snippets—can bring the testimonials to life. Finally, your concluding slide should echo back to your mission and vision, perhaps ending on a memorable quote or call to action that encapsulates the company's essence.

Throughout the deck, keep design elements like fonts, colours, and visual styles consistent to present a unified brand image. Also, consider accessibility for those with visual or hearing impairments, ensuring that the deck can be universally understood.

Culture Deck Examples

Let's look at some real-world examples that knock it out of the park. These are companies whose culture decks have become almost as famous as their products. They've nailed how to communicate their culture, ethos, and unique mojo in compelling slide decks that do much more than just tick boxes.


First up, we have Netflix—a brand synonymous with innovation and disruptive thinking. Their culture deck set the bar high, turning the often dull HR exercise into a must-read. They’ve nailed the balance between freedom and responsibility, a principle that has fuelled their meteoric rise.

Netflix places high emphasis on their core philosophy of "people over process, and why we try to bring great people together as a dream team". They list and describe nine valued behaviours, as well as various other principles.

"We do not seek to preserve our culture—we seek to improve it. Every new employee helps to shape and evolve the culture so we find new ways to accomplish more together. We are learning faster than ever, because we have more dedicated people with more diverse perspectives working to excel as the dream team."

At the heart of decision-making is an "Informed Captain," an expert responsible for gathering input and making the final call on significant issues, avoiding decision by committee. The approach encourages open dissent and discussion before the decision, but once made, all team members are expected to commit to its execution, irrespective of initial disagreements.

The original deck was designed way back in 2009, and the current version is now readable as a post on their jobs site here:


Spotify—a brand that turned the music industry on its head. They present a ‘band manifesto’ to explore the collaborative nature of their teams. It's a medley of autonomy and collaboration that hits all the right notes.

"Here at Spotify, we like to think of ourselves as a band. Ok, sure, we don’t look a lot like that group you put together in high school that could only play one Led Zeppelin song, but we still think the comparison fits. Like a band, we’re dependent on each other to create the best audio experience. Like a band, we need to be in sync. And like any successful band, we have a set of rules, a band manifesto, that keeps us focused on where we want to go and guides how we get there."
A capture from Spotify's "Band Manifesto"


HubSpot views culture as an "operating system" that powers the company, equating it to a product built for employees. They believe that a strong culture not only attracts high-quality talent but also acts as a virtuous loop that benefits both the company and its employees. It outlines five "Tenets":

  1. We solve for the customer.
  2. We work to be remarkably transparent.
  3. We favor autonomy & accountability.
  4. We believe our best perk is amazing peers.
  5. We lean towards long-term impact.

Each company has its own unique focus, but they all aim to communicate the essence of their respective corporate cultures.

Creating an impactful culture deck is more than a box-ticking exercise; it's an opportunity to encapsulate your company's unique ethos and values. By focusing on authenticity, practicality, and engagement, you can craft a tool that not only informs but also inspires.

Whether you're a startup trying to attract talent or a seasoned organisation looking to reset its cultural compass, an effective culture deck can be your playbook for success.

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