Career · July 06, 2020

Find a Company With the Right Workplace Culture

You spend about a third of your life at work, so it makes sense that you should enjoy being there. All companies have their own culture, and finding a workplace that matches your own values can have a major impact on your job satisfaction. When you're looking for a new job and evaluating potential employers, examining the workplace culture should be an important factor.

But what defines a company's culture? And how do you go about evaluating whether it's the right fit for you when you're still an outsider?

Culture is how an organization puts its values into action by engaging and supporting its customers, community and employees. You can identify and measure for culture fit by keeping in mind these five characteristics.

1 Mission and values

Many companies share their mission and values on their website or through their branding materials. This can be a great starting point for assessing a good culture fit, but keep in mind that this information was likely generated by the company's marketing department. A better way to learn about mission and values is trying to hear from people who currently work there.

Use LinkedIn to see if you have any direct connections at the company. You can also search for people who are connected to your network. Then reach out to them and ask them to describe the culture. What do they like most about working there? And what do they like least? You might want to place more weight on what an employee has to share.

For example, a bank may have a mission to improve the financial lives of its customers and have values that include building long-term relationships and committing to integrity. A current employee may share that they enjoy working closely with customers who've been with the bank for decades, or they may say that they appreciate the clear guidance and support they're given around decisions and policies.

2 Team building

Building relationships with colleagues, managers and clients can make the time you spend at work more rewarding. Collaboration is an important part of culture, and companies that put systems into place to help teammates work together help create a positive one.

Classes, events or even a company softball team can also contribute to a good workplace culture where each employee is a valued part of the group. Check a company's Facebook or Instagram page for photos. The HR department will often post team-building events. You might even do a quick search in local newspapers for stories on the company holding community events.

3 Integrity

There's a right way and a wrong way to run a business, and companies with good workplace cultures choose the right way even when it affects profits. Companies that show integrity have a dedication to transparency.

This involves open communication from the top down, which gives employees a sense of security. In addition, leaders make a commitment to being accessible, honest and authentic. Look for companies with commitment to corporate responsibility and ethics, as well as a commitment to their associates and team members. 

4 Diversity

Organizations that are diverse are often more successful. A good workplace culture celebrates the differences in its employees, and considers diversity a part of its values. Diversity is not only in race and gender—it can include employee background and experience. As new generations enter the workforce, being open to new ways of doing and thinking is important for growth. If a company is unwilling to see value in change, it may not be the best fit for you.

When you're interviewing, pay attention to whether companies have a stated commitment to diversity and hiring policies that reflect it, and get a sense of whether the organization values different viewpoints and life experiences.

5 Professional development and growth opportunities

Employers that provide opportunities for employees to learn and expand their skill set, and advance from within underscore their commitment to professional development. This is a big factor for improving workplace culture, because it's proof that a company is invested in its employees.

When recruiting for open positions, some companies overlook existing team members because they're valued in their current role, no matter how many classes or seminars it offered. This can lead to an unhappy associates who ultimately leave to find advancement elsewhere. You can get an idea of how well a company promotes its employees by asking how long the average employee stays in a role, then verifying the information on LinkedIn.

Finding the right fit

Culture will vary from company to company. What's right for you may not be a fit for someone else. Take the time to observe and research a company's workplace culture, making sure it matches what you need from an employer. A good culture fit can be an investment in your future happiness.


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