You wouldn’t want to work at a place that’s not in line with your life goals, aspirations, and temperament. For this matter, it’s crucial to figure out a company’s culture even before you have accepted their job offer. This will save you a considerable amount of time and hassle.
With increasing awareness of employee benefits and rights and inclusivity at the workplace, company culture matters a lot more than it used to, say a decade back.
This article is for you if you’re considering a job offer and any of these questions are bothering you:
- What kind of a workplace is it going to be?
- What sort of employee culture do they have?
- Would the company help you maintain a work-life balance?
- How efficient is their grievance redressal mechanism?
How to describe a company’s culture?
Company culture can be hard to pinpoint and define because most of it is manifested in the daily workings of a company.
The culture within a company would translate into the working philosophy of a company. For example, how are the employees treated? What kind of autonomy do they have in making important decisions related to their job profile? Is the company structure hierarchical? What kind of social opportunities are available for employee bonding? What kind of mentorship does the company provide to its employees for their professional progress?
Company culture has many intangible features as well. For example,
- What kind of work environment does it provide?
- Are the employees free to take breaks and communicate with each other?
- Are they allowed a flexible working style, or is it super strict and regimented?
Why is it important to figure out company culture?
It is important to figure out the company culture while joining a new job because it can have a direct impact on your career. For instance, if you are looking for a job that gives you some time to pursue your hobbies and interests, a company with a super rigid timing structure won’t be suitable for you. If you are a professionally ambitious person and are looking for quick growth and incentives, a company that doesn’t take much initiative in providing its employees competitive opportunities for climbing up is not the right place for you.
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How to figure out a company’s culture
Figuring out a company’s culture before joining a new job is difficult but not impossible. Here are five ways in which you can determine a company’s culture.
1. Research as much as you can
Extensive research is the first step in figuring out a company’s culture. Go to their website. Find out all about them. What does the site say about the company culture? What are their values and mission statement?
Remember what a company says about its culture publicly is not always the true picture. So, you must notice the language of the website. Is the language rigid and formal? Or, is it candid, warm, and free-flowing? This can give you some valuable clues about the culture within the company.
Also, check out the company’s profile on sites like The Muse. Go through all the company reviews you can find on the internet. Reviews by ex-employees can be especially useful.
Finally, use your discretion to make a balanced judgment. Don’t get swayed by negative reviews. See the average scenario and then draw your conclusions.
2. Check the news
Google the name of the company to check if they have been in the news recently. If yes, what kind of news is it? Is it positive, negative, or neutral?
Maybe, the company went through some crisis and then managed to fix it. Their approach to overcoming those problems can tell you a lot about their culture.
Another important news to check out is if the company’s leadership has been in any kind of controversy recently. This sort of information is easy to find. Too many controversies are not a good sign for a company’s reputation.
On the positive side, maybe the company has been in the news because of its achievements or some innovative project or policy it embraced. This will be a crucial point to note and speaks well about the company culture.
3. Check out the social media presence of the company
A company’s social media pages can tell you a lot about its culture.
What is their social media presence like? Can you see many pictures of fun activities and events on their Facebook page? Does the company have an Instagram account? What kind of comments do the posts receive? Going through the comments is a great way of covertly assessing a company’s culture. They might want to put their best foot forward, but the comments tell you the real story.
Companies with a strong social media presence highlight all their activities and mentorship programs through their accounts. So, just browsing through their social media handles can give you a fairly decent account of the company culture.
4. Observe the workplace environment
You get a chance to observe the workplace environment thoroughly only once you join the job. However, you can do it during the interview process as well.
If you’re invited for an in-person interview, try to get there a bit earlier and observe the surroundings in general. What is the atmosphere like? Are the employees dressed casually, or are they donning business attire? Is the atmosphere warm and friendly, or is it over the top formal and intimidating? These little details can tell you a lot about the company culture.
Moreover, casually checking out the seating arrangement of the office and stealing a look at their facilities like the cafeteria and washrooms will give you a decent idea of the company culture, and how serious they are about making their employees feel comfortable.
5. Ask questions to figure out the company culture
To figure out a company's culture, ask the interviewer direct questions about it. Keep your questions specific so that they have to give you a concrete answer and cannot get away with a yes or no. You should have a different set of questions ready for the HR team and your potential manager.
Some of the questions for HR could be:
- What is your standard method for evaluating employee performance?
- What's the company policy on flexible working arrangements?
- What initiatives does the company take for the development of the employees?
- How do you evaluate employees for promotion?
Some of the questions for your potential manager could be:
- What is the typical style of communication here?
- What kind of brainstorming sessions are held for the team members to share their ideas on a project?
- How much work is completed in individual works vs team?
- How do you motivate your employees to give their best?
It’s very important to figure out company culture when joining a new company.
You always have the option of joining a company and assessing its culture afterward. However, that’s a risky proposition. If the company culture is not up to your expectation or you are unable to adapt, you will be in trouble.
That's why the best time to do your homework and figure out a company's culture is before you join them.
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Note: This blog was contributed by Entrepreneurs Tutor.