The term “company culture” has skyrocketed in importance over the last couple of decades. It seems like with COVID-19 and an influx of a new generation of workers, the concept has become even more valuable to workers. The focus used to primarily be on compensation and benefits, with perhaps what you thought of your prospective Manager as a secondary item. Now the culture of the organization has become as important as any other variable when determining whether to stay with a company or join another.
For something so important, many people will struggle in their attempt to define what company culture means to them. By textbook definition, the term company culture describes the shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization. You probably concluded (based on this definition) that company culture is not easy to determine and can be much different depending on the company.
To make it easier to evaluate if the culture of a company aligns with your feelings, you should do some self-introspection regarding what is important to you in an employer. What do you want to see in an organization whether that is from tangible programs or the intangible way that people interact with each other. Unless you know what is important to you and specifically what you want then you can’t go out and try to obtain it.
Once you have determined what is important to you, then you have to figure out a way to find out if there is a match with a particular organization. Luckily, there are numerous ways for you to obtain information related to company culture that will help you make your decision. Let’s now examine some of the methods you can use in this task completion.
• Company Website: With the company website, you have a wide array of information available to you to read and review. The challenge is that everything on there has been written for the company and probably by their marketing department. So, you will have to use some of your own judgment when evaluating different messages. Look for items such as the company “Mission Statement” and any articles/photos related to Corporate Social Responsibility or employee events that are posted.
• General Online Search: Go beyond the company website by using key words to search for more information. There are even websites that are devoted to providing inside details from current or former employees. The major challenge with these sites, however, is they tend to exclusively attract comment of those who are upset with the company. So, submissions tend to be more than a little one-sided toward the negative.
• Ask The Interviewer: This is a question that should not be unexpected anymore if asked to a Recruiter or Hiring Manager. Now, while expected, that does not mean it is an easy one to answer, since it can be so personal. They should, however, be able to speak about the values of the company and how the company works towards achieving their aspirations.
• Observe: Watching and listening can reveal a lot regarding company culture. As you tour the location, observe how others interact with each other, especially in conversations between a Manager and their employees. If you get a chance, glance at their bulletin boards (either physical or electronic) for messages on charitable events and employee engagement.
• Network: Reaching out to others who have worked for the organization can be a great way to obtain inside information on the employer. Business social media websites offer an easy way to make some connections with people who may be in the know. Be sure to only do this if the position you are seeking is currently not confidential and able to be spoken about. Also, make sure that the other person knows why you are asking the questions so that there are no surprises later when you either decide not to accept the offer or, on the flip side, show up to start work.
The term “company culture” has not only gained traction but has now become a critical evaluation point for a candidate determining whether to join an organization. While compensation and benefits are still important variables, other work aspects such as “company culture” has rocketed up the list of importance. It is important that you include an evaluation of company culture into your decision whether to join an organization. So, do your culture homework ahead of time and avoid any unfortunate surprises once you start.
As always, the best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein