(this post takes about 2.5 minutes to read)
Ask most people what they look for in a job, and eventually they will talk about “company culture”. This is an elusive concept, this thing called culture. It takes some real work to decide what you really are looking for in a company’s culture. You may be able to articulate a few key words, but getting into what those words really mean takes some time and energy.
For instance, you may say “I want to work for a company that values its people”. Is it enough if the company states something about the importance of people in their mission statement? What if they pay people above average wages? What if they have flexible working hours? Might being able to work from home be good enough to say it values its people? I think those are only some of the factors. Maybe you have your own definition.
But I suspect most of us would have different definitions of what they really mean by “valuing people” for instance.
To make it even more complicated, not many people can clearly identify what “culture” really is. Do the products, the location, the look of the offices, the way things are communicated, the management style, the “extras” a company provides describe the culture? I think the answer can be, “yes, some of the time, depending on the situation”. That doesn’t help much.
It is really tough to assess a company culture when you are on the outside looking in. Company culture includes the beliefs and behaviors that define how a company’s employees and management interact. But most of us would agree that the culture can be different in certain departments or locations. At the end of the day, the culture of the company will define how you are treated day-to-day. Perhaps more important than your actual job duties, culture can really determine how engaged you are at a job.
Forbes Magazine: “Don’t get burned by accepting a job offer before learning about the company culture.”
What if you could understand a company’s culture a little better before you work there? Would looking at some examples help you better define what you mean by company culture? I think it might help me.
A read a really fascinating article the other day that helped get at this issue. The premise of the article is that the words a company uses on job descriptions provide some insight. The author, in addressing companies, says, “the truth of your cultural environment shows up in the language that your team uses to communicate — especially when your entire company uses the same words.”
So with that, the author looked at the list of companies and their most-used phrases. For instance, the three phrases that show up for Amazon are “Wickedly”, “Fast Paced Environment”, and “Maniacal”. I have to admit, I would not want to work there. I do not mind fast paced, but maniacal does not suit me at all. That is not the company culture I want. On the other hand, Twitter shows “Nerd”, “Passion for Learning” and “Diverse Perspectives”. That sounds like me.
I challenge you to go the article and look at the ten companies. Which ones fit you and which don’t? Comment back on that. I would love to hear your perspectives. (For the record, Twitter, Slack and Apple hit the right notes for me). Perhaps you will learn a little more about yourself.
To read this article (it’s pretty short) and see the list of companies and their phrases, go here https://textio.ai/1000-different-people-the-same-words-6149b5a1f351