5 Questions to Help You Determine Company Culture
Culture is an interesting topic – especially when it comes to the workplace. The culture or "personality" of a company sets the standards for the environment in which we work, and includes an organization’s mission, value, goals, ethics, expectations, rules and regulations. Company culture is so important that it can have a significant effect on your job satisfaction and productivity level and can be a key indicator of your long-term committment to a particular employer.
“Corporate culture will control nearly everything about the quality of life you will have at a job,” says Alison Green, author of Ask a Manager: How to navigate clueless colleagues, lunch-stealing boss, and the rest of your life at work.
So before signing on the dotted line as an employee, consider these 5 questions about your perspective employer’s corporate culture, to know if it's a good fit for you:
1. What kind of person does really well here (and who doesn’t)?
“This can be a useful ask, since you’ll learn about how the success of a person is measured. If an organization has a good culture, hiring managers should have a concrete answer to this and cover what you need to achieve in the first year on the job, how they will know how you’re performing and more. If an interviewer hasn’t thought this through and is loosey-goosey in response, you may be signing up for something other than you thought you were,” says Green.
2. What hours do you work here?
“People want to know the real answer to this, but interviewers often have canned responses. Ask a hiring manager directly what time he left for work that day and when he’ll leave. You don’t want to be misled and find out later that people are working fifty-hour weeks,” says Green.
3. How do people collaborate here?
“Try to uncover what the energy is on the team and in what ways team-building and teamwork is encouraged or not. As it may be hard to decipher this from an interviewer’s response, you may need to do some behind the scenes inquiries. If you know someone who worked or works there, it’s ideal,” says Green.
4. In the past month, how many times have people here worked remotely?
“Ask this to learn about a company’s telecommuting policy. Some employers may state that they offer flexible arrangements, but once you get there, you may find that it’s done twice a year,” says Green.
5. How many meetings does this company or department have regularly?
Frequent company meetings can hurt corporate culture, as employees may feel they’re unproductive or a waste of time. By contrast, weekly company meetings may be held to ensure everything’s running smoothly and can be a sign of employee engagement. It’s a great question to ask to get a better feel for this work environment.