Every company, no matter how big or small, has an organisational culture.
The culture of an organisation begins with what you can’t see; the beliefs and value systems of its leader.
Slowly, these beliefs are translated into the goals, policies, and behaviours of a business. Sometimes, these become tangible…the things you can see or touch. The working pattern an organisations offers, for example, or how a business structure facilitates collaboration and employee belonging.
Sometimes though, organisational culture embodies the things you can’t see about a business. Just as valuable, these are the feelings you get about an employer as you walk through the door.
Particularly since the pandemic, candidate requirements have changed.
Many are now placing value away from remunerative strategies and are using organisational culture on which to base their career decisions.
Every organisation puts out its best face; the one it wants you to see.
But how do you measure one against another? How do you decide which organisational culture will suit you best? And how can you figure out if what it’s putting out there is a true representation of the business; one that you want to be part of?
Here are some strategies you can deploy to assess company culture and decide if it’s the one for you.
How do I measure organisational culture?
A deep Google will take you down into the depths of a company. Here are some things to think about as you read through all the information a search engine has to offer.
Review sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn are invaluable to discover what current and former employees are saying. You may like to think about how happy they are, and how many opportunities they’re given…. look for promotions, endorsements, and development opportunities. Is the business cultivating loyalty, respect, and prospects?
You should think about how management encourages balance in the lives of its employees. We have proven we can work at home, remotely, and flexibly. The pandemic has been a two-year trial that most of us have passed with flying colours. Since then, many organisations have adopted permanent flexible, remote, or hybrid working solutions.
If the model fits, healthy organisations have taken a personalised approach to work patterns. Think about what you need from your employer and ensure that this is a business that meets your needs.
Collaboration and team spirit.
A healthy organisational culture is one that acknowledges the successes of all its team, no matter their seniority or pay grade. To assess if this is a fair and representative business, have a look at the company website and social channels. Are all levels of the team represented? Or are the success stories always from the C Suite?
Career development has become a candidate must-have. Before you decide on a new job, you might like to think about how the organisation upskills its team. If this is a priority for you, you should find out what training the company offers and crucially if it bears the cost. You may also like to ask your interviewer how its people have used the company’s programs to progress.
From the top down.
Unifying a company is more than just laying down the rules and asking everyone to comply. A business must be unified by a common set of values and beliefs, and this begins at the top. If you know a former employee, quiz them on the leadership of that organisation and if they live the values that the business portrays.
In an age of remote working, this may not be as important to you. However, the office and how its managed is still an integral part of business culture. Don’t forget too, that as a remote worker, you’ll still need support. Find out about how supportive an employer is at setting you up to succeed at home, and support collaboration with on-site colleagues.
How to use the interview process to ask about organisational culture.
The candidate experience.
First and foremost, the experience you have as a candidate will tell you a lot about organisational culture. Think about how you were treated throughout the hiring process.
Was it chaotic or structured? Did the hiring manager do what they said they were going to do? Was it to the book, or did you feel like it was incomplete? How was the interviewer? Warm and inclusive or cold and authoritative?
These are all indicators of how an organisation values its team.
Most interviews offer candidates an opportunity to ask questions. Use this chance to quiz your interviewer. Here are some ideas about what you could ask.
- What do you like about working here?
- What traits could have helped the last person in this position succeed?
- How do you ensure remote and hybrid workers feel included in the team?
- How is this organization different from the competition?
- What would you change about this company if you could?
If you are still stuck, our blog “Is this the company for you?” may help you a little more.
Know what you want.
Ultimately, there is no one size fits all approach to organisational culture. What you need from an employer will be very different from someone else. So before you begin to assess the organisational culture, it’s useful to figure out exactly what it is you want. Knowing your own priorities will be critical to your success.
Research widely and use your gut. Both knowledge and instinct will help you make a fully informed decision about your next employer.
Are you looking for your next job and need some more hints and tips on how to find out if this is the right job for you? Head to the employee advice section of our blog. There’s masses of advice over there, including info on