Culture is the new comp & benefits to employees – in other words – culture talks. Work is where we spend most of our time. If you’re in an environment that doesn’t align with who you are and what you care most about, your day-to-day work life is going to be drudgery. Moreover, if you’re in an environment that is downright toxic, not only will your days be miserable, but your time at home will suffer too. Many an evening and weekend has been ruined due to working in a soul-sucking environment.
Knowing thyself is your greatest tool when assessing if a corporate culture is going to align well with your personality and career aspirations. It’s critical to know what you must have when it comes to work, and what you can live without. Many a job seeker has said never again to a long commute and then found themselves presented with a job offer that looks great “on paper” but will require a 3-hour commute each day. In that moment the individual must ask themselves, do I want to settle for good – or wait for great?
It’s a hard decision to say no to something especially if you need a job – but the individuals who have the courage to say no to a job or culture that won’t serve them long-term, almost always find themselves in better situations that surpass what they initially wanted. You must give yourself permission to raise your standards and know what those standards are. What is a red flag for you may be a green light for someone else. It all comes down to personal preference and self-awareness.
Once you know what is important to you – gather data from various sources. Go online to sites like Glassdoor and Kununu.com – and read current and past employee reviews. Research LinkedIn to find people in your network who work (or worked) at the company you are considering; use that network to see if you can speak with current and former employees to interview them about the work environment and policies that influence corporate culture. And most importantly, interview the company just as much as they are interviewing you. If career development and contributing to a mission are vital, ask questions about the company’s philosophies in these areas. Ask your potential future boss in-depth questions as well. You’ll quickly learn if the culture is one that will propel you forward or hold you back.
In years past we’d access job opportunities based on the job description alone. Then, after getting the job, mold ourselves to that culture. If you were expected to work late and on weekends, you did it. More recently, the playing field has leveled, and employers of choice have become privy to the fact that employees have different preferences for how, when, and where they work. This knowledge not only gives employees more leverage and opportunities to find the right fit – but also give organizations the insight to hire individuals who they see as a great cultural fit.
Organizations that are recognized as best places to work know the importance culture plays in the attracting great talent – and also in retaining it. They also know that the culture they’ve created is not for everyone and they have to be discerning in their recruitment efforts to find the right fit. Costly mistakes can be made when employee and employer turn out to not to be a great match – not only because of the cost to hire – but also to the potential cost of employer brand reputation in the market.
Gone are the days where you must tolerate a culture just to have a job. There are so many places and opportunities in this new economy to share your talent and gifts. If you love what you do but find yourself tolerating an abusive boss – or dealing with sabotaging colleagues – it’s time to take your talent elsewhere. The costs are too high to waste any more time in an environment that may allow you to pay your bills, but is slowly killing you.Career Advice | Culture