How to Identify Your Ideal Corporate Culture

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My clients are smart, super motivated, gritty people. They want to work hard, earn a good living, and make a difference, but they come to me worn out, telling me that they literally have to force themselves to go to work each day.

So what's happening? I mean, why are super motivated people unmotivated to go to work? There are a number of factors that can be taking place here, but a big one I see is a misfit in corporate culture. 

What do I mean by this? I think of businesses as living, breathing things, that have their own identity and personalities. You like to surround yourself with people who allow you to be your authentic self, without judgement, right? As you grow and experience life, these people may change.

Similarly, your ideal corporate culture most likely will change over time. Research has shown that the more comfortable and authentic you are in the workplace, the more you will experience, "higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration, and lower job stress." Finding that ideal culture is win-win for organizations and YOU.

Let's illustrate how to do this:

  • You're looking for a new role because you're not in love with the career trajectory ahead of you at your current organization. You want to continue growing.
  • You enjoy certain people at work, but the majority of them, you just don't jive with.
  • You want to be excited about going to work each day and love who you work with.
  • Work is starting to really get mundane and exhausting.
  • You've actually probably waited a little too long to find a new job, but let's face it, it's hard to change unless you have a fire burning under you. 

So now, it's important to pause for a moment. I want to encourage you to be intentional and strategic about finding this next role - you want your next move to be the right one, so you don't have to go through this process again any time soon. It's damn hard!

Start by doing your online research (blog post coming soon), and once you've identified companies of interest, applied for a role and have been asked to go in for an interview, use these tips to help navigate your next move. 

Below are my top 5 tips to identifying your ideal corporate culture:

**It's important to note here that you will need to translate these tips into your own words & situations, depending on the role and level you're applying for**

  1. Examine the physical environment for what's most important to you. Ask yourself questions like:
    • Do you see yourself working in an office like this? Does it feel welcoming? Are their windows? Cubicles? Individual offices? Open floor plan? Ask where you would be working, so you can really get a feel for what your space would look like.
  2. Take note of how people interact in the office. Ask yourself questions like:
    • How are you treated when you walk into the office? Is there someone to greet you? Is he/she frazzled and has no idea what do with you or do they warmly greet you and offer you a water?
    • What are the other people in the office doing? Do they talk quietly or are they yelling? Do they seem considerate of those around them? Is everyone wearing head phones? Do they look happy? Like they're having fun? Focused? Miserable? Etc... Is this a culture you see yourself being a part of?
  3. Determine whether trust and transparency are core values of the organization. Ask questions like and really listen to the answers for genuineness: 
    • Trust: Are flexible work arrangements the norm? Does the interviewer work from home a lot? Does he/she take breaks to exercise in the middle of the day? What type of PTO policies do they have and do people backfill for each other? Does the company have a messenger system (i.e. Slack, Skype, etc...) and are people expected to be "On" during working hours?
    • Transparency: How do the leaders communicate good news? And bad news? Is it accusatory or is it an assumed team effort and constructive feedback is provided to foster growth & improvement? For private companies, how often are financials shared with employees? Are employees encouraged to act as business owners and decision makers? 
  4. Identify whether the culture is growth oriented. Ask questions like:
    • Is there a traditional career path or do people move around a bunch depending on their skills and interests? How often are people promoted? Are there specific guidelines to be met in order to get promoted? Is there a formal feedback process? Does it happen each year? Is informal feedback provided on an ongoing basis? Are people good at providing feedback on areas for improvement in a constructive way? Do employees have a training budget? How else do people broaden their knowledge/skillsets? 
  5. Do your personal values align with the organization's core values and mission statement? Ask questions like:
    • What are the organization's core values? Do they resonate with you? Do you feel like the people you're meeting represent those values with pride? 
    • What is the organizational mission? Who started the company? Why does the organization exist? Who does the company serve? Why is all of this important to you, as a person? 

At the end of the day, it's all about creating a vision for yourself, not settling for mediocrity, and asking the right questions so you can gain as much perspective as possible about whether you can see yourself growing and thriving at the organization. You can never fully know it all without trying it, but asking the questions, getting to know yourself (your strengths and values), possessing a willingness to say no when something isn't right (even if it's for more money) and trusting your gut can increase your likelihood of your next move being your best one yet! 

Need help identifying your ideal company culture and role? Sign up for a coffee date with me on Friday, 5/18. 

    Liz TrainesComment