Corporate Culture or Culture Shock
It's almost graduation time and college grads will be in full job search mode. Never underestimate how much culture can impact your job satisfaction. It may be the key to happiness when accepting a new job. You can have an exceptional job offer on the table but if the culture is not a match, it could spell disaster for everyone. A job is more than just a place you go for 8+ hours a day. You must deal with coworkers, bosses, and office politics. If you don’t thrive in a certain culture, your career could take a quick downturn.
Life’s too short and you work too hard to be miserable every day. Corporate Culture goes beyond the mission and values and it manifests itself in these ways:
- Company processes
- Organizational and leadership structures
- Decision making authority
- Office Space (Open office versus traditional)
- How people work (As a team or individually)
- Hours worked per week and hours worked after hours
- How people are held accountable
- Daily work practices
- Promotion and raise policies
Be alert during your interview. Be a profound observer from the moment you walk in until you leave. Take note of how you are treated before, during, and after. Remember, the interview process is never one-sided. It is to mutually decide if what the other offers is best for both parties. An employee who is a good cultural fit will work well within the environment and will be prone to success so you owe it to yourself to find out about the culture. Here are some questions to help you. Pick a few that make the greatest impact to your satisfaction.
- What key words would you use to describe the company culture? If you are meeting with a several people, get an answer from everyone. Then you can see a common thread.
- How does the company recognize employee accomplishments?
- What is the decision-making process like?
- What kinds of people seem to succeed or get promoted in this company/department?
- What is the leadership or managerial style at your company?
- How do company leaders interact with employees?
- What qualities do the most successful employees in your company possess?
- What is the company’s attitude toward professional and educational advancement?
- How often does staff meet?
- Does the company host social outings or events for employees?
- What personality traits do you look for in your ideal team members?
- Are most projects team based or individually based?
- What is the common theme that ties the employees together?
- What is the average tenure of employees?
- What is the level of empowerment within the organization?
- What makes employees proud to work at this company?
- Are employees encouraged to take risks?
- What happens when people fail if they take a risk?
- What is the organizational view of performance reviews and the raise process?
- What’s one that could be changed about the company?
Company culture should never equal culture shock. Your gut tells you a lot but you must pay attention and ask questions. If you feel troubled about the job or the people you’d be working with, don’t ignore it. Unless your gut has a history of being overly dramatic, it’s worth paying attention to when a voice inside you is screaming, “Don’t even think about taking this job!”
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