Company cultures: What do they mean?
What is a company culture? What does this mean for me?
That may be a question that crosses your mind when you hear about it. And it’s something to definitely consider when envisaging the companies you would like to work for in your career, in the not-too-distant future as well as the long term.
But first, let’s start with the basics. A company culture is essentially its core aspects – think of it as a personality. This involves its mission, ethics, goals, working environment and values. The all-important recipe mix that plays a large role in your job happiness.
Why is culture important?
Imagine picking a friend – you’re not going to hang out with someone who is nothing like you, and just all-round a bit awful in many ways, are you? So why would you work for a company that doesn’t align with your ethics, goals and values?
It has been established vastly that those who work for companies that align with their values and visions are happier in their jobs. And if you’re happier, you’re going to do better, right? All-round winner. And it’s a two-way street – employers not only look at your CV and experience but will also judge you as an individual as to how well you’ll fit with their established culture.
But, how do I find out if a company’s culture is right for me?
The best way is to be in the environment itself, of course. However, there are ways of getting inklings before it’s too late to see where to invest your time and skills.
- Know what you want. What do you value in life? What differences do you want to contribute to making? What are your main employment goals? What culture appeals to you – something traditional and corporate, or something a little more relaxed and flexible?
- Check out the company’s website. Have a look at the aesthetics of their page – what does the graphics and design say to you about the company? Have a look at the ‘About Us’ section where you will find their mission, employee testimonials and also any ethical grounds they are involved with.
- Do your research. If you are considering a company anyway, you need to make sure you research them. Look for news articles, social media and reviews that give you a better insight. This is not only good for identifying their culture but also will help you massively in your applications.
- Ask! During interviews or assessment days, be open to ask questions to current employees. Ask if they have a particularly traditional take on office culture, what are their top 3 values as a company and how they motivate their employees. This should give enough for you to gage whether this is the company for you.
- Observe. If you are able to shadow someone, have a trial day or enjoy an office tour, have a look at the people and the environment. Is it a relaxed dress code? Is office etiquette strict? Do people seem focussed on their work?
- Remember the wider picture. A job is so much more than a salary at the end of the month – it is a stepping stone to what you would like in your future, a build on you current network, an expansion on your experience, a development opportunity and a chance to enjoy what you do. Culture will play a huge part in this, so make sure you are aware of this and choose a culture which suits you.