In today’s job market, job seekers are not only looking at whether their next role is a “good fit” but also whether the working environment is aligned with their values. If you are seeking your next career move or considering it for the future, company culture is an area that you may wish to explore further.
What is company culture?
Every company has a unique way of doing business. The company culture affects different aspects within an organisation from how the business recruits, marketing their brand though to employee engagement and productivity. Company culture is made up of behaviours, traits, values and goals which shape an organisation’s environment. This culture is often implied rather than defined and will be structured upon a mission statement, core values and strategic goals.
Working within an organisation that has a strong company culture can significantly improve employee engagement, encourage stronger collaboration and enhance communication between employees which in turn can maximise performance and productivity for the business. On the other hand, for an employee job searching, company culture allows job seekers to identify if their needs and values are in line with those in the workplace. If you work for a company where you don’t fit into the company culture you are less likely to have sense of belonging and job satisfaction. For example, if you enjoy working independently and feel more productive working in a closed office, but the organisation encourages team work and has an open plan office, it’s likely this will impact your productivity. It is for these reasons when job searching you look for roles in which you would fit into the company culture.
Researching the culture
Understanding the culture of an organisation is highly beneficial to a job seekers success and overall happiness within a role. It allows individuals to understand potential working environments, expectations, company goals and values. Analysing company culture can define how employees look after their staff and determine whether an organisation fits in line with your individual values, ethics and working style. There’s a number of different ways you can assess a company’s culture. Look at online resources such a Glassdoor; this will help you discover details of a company’s culture that can’t always be found on their website. You can typically find information such as salary, employee roles, company reviews, details about the hiring process, past interview questions, and more.
Talk to people
If company culture is high on your agenda use your network and talk to people. Who do they work for, and what did they like most about the company? Networking isn’t just about asking for a job but gathering information on the company. Is there a difference between what the company says on their own website versus what their employers say? If you have a specific company in mind look at your existing network and their connections. LinkedIn is a great starting point from which to research further. However, it is also important to remember everyone has their own perception of company culture, so ensure you remain open minded.
When you identify a role that sparks an interest, read between the lines of the job description and look out for messages that may indicate their working environment. The writing style and word choice within job descriptions often reflect or provide useful insights into company culture as they are written in accordance to company goals. For example if the company is determined in meeting its goals and KPIs, the job description could use terminology such as driven, competitive, resilient, targeted environment. Analyse the language and determine whether it suits your needs. Be mindful that not all job descriptions can be a good reflection of a company culture and you will find more about the business when you attend interview.
Attend an interview
Interviews are a great way to gain a clearing understanding of the company, its environment and whether what they claim they do lives up to their word. Prior to an interview or before you apply, look at the business’ website and look at the About Us page. Take note of the company’s mission statement and values, and take note of testimonials from clients/customers to get an idea of what they do well. Before the interview research the recruiter/interviewer so you can get a clearer indication of their background.
At the interview
The interview is going to be key; by being present in the environment is the closest you will get to get a good feel for the organisation. If you are given a tour of the office observe the way people interact with each other. What is the general atmosphere, what are people wearing, is there lots of light? Think about working environments you have worked in before – what is most important to you and how does this compare? Use the interview to ask questions to explore this further. Ask questions such as ‘why do you enjoy working for company X?’ or ‘What makes this department successful?’ Find out if the company encourages learning and development and what are the future opportunities? How would you describe company culture? After the interview evaluate the recruitment process as this will highlight the way the company operates.
Finally, think about the specific “must haves” and “nice to haves” for culture fit. There is no definitive right or wrong answer. It’s all about your “must haves.” Evaluating the culture fit of the organisation, for you, is an important piece of criteria toward deciding whether a great job is truly the right career move for you.
Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org