How do you identify a workplace culture before you start

Diverse People in a Circle with Culture ConceptAuthor Daniel Goleman, in Working with Emotional Intelligence, calls the relationship with one’s direct supervisor the most important component of employee satisfaction.  In addition, the culture of a company and employees’ sense of “fit” within it are also critical in employee satisfaction and retention.  In short, if you feel like you fit into the culture, you will stay with the company longer.

So, what do we mean by work culture?  Simply put, it means when one company feels different than another.  It includes such things as:

  • Behaviour Patterns
  • Standards
  • Values
  • Overall “Feel”
  • Everything the company does
  • Everything the company makes

It is important in terms of having an authentic vocation to evaluate the culture of the organisation you are considering.  Here are some tips on how to evaluate a company’s culture:

  • Ask pre-interview questions to determine the company’s culture
  • If you are a manager, or executive, ask members of the team you would be joining to participate in the interview process
  • Ask to interview one or two people in the company that are not part of the formal hiring process to ask questions about culture only, not the job itself
  • Take advantage of any available software, web sites, publications or testing that matches employee values with company values and culture
  • Ask hypothetical questions such as, “What would happen if……” or, “What would the company do if…..?” and listen carefully to both what is said and what is unsaid.  What values are apparent?
  • Seek out sources that rank companies such as national and local business magazines that publish an annual list of the “best companies to work for”
  • Consult the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers List at Working Mother Website for insights into organisational culture for working parents.  Unfortunately I was unable to source a similar website for Australia, but there are some great tips on this US site
  • Do a “scouting trip” of the company both during business hours and non-business hours: What do you notice about how people appear, what they are wearing, what their energy is?  Is the parking lot full on the weekend, perhaps indicating long work hours?
  • Do a web search on the company to see if they appear in any interesting articles or unexpected places

This may seem like a lot of work, however remember we spend approximately a third of our waking hours at work (assuming 38 hour working week and 8 hours sleep per night), so it is important we get it right.

If you have any questions, or would like to join the full program, please contact me at Startafreshlife.

Note: Source for information Marcia Bench