Uncovering Company Culture Before You Take the Job

Do Your Career Values & Mission Truly Align?

Team - Company CultureSo far this month, I have written about the steps for developing your career values, vision, and mission. The natural next step, once your career mission statement is refined, is to determine whether you and target companies are in alignment. Let’s say you have conducted a series of interviews and you are moving on to the offer phase.

Congratulations on receiving a job offer . . . but are you sure the culture is a great fit for you? Wouldn’t you like to know the real scoop on the culture of an organization before you accept the offer?

Every company has a culture, whether it is created intentionally or not. Did you ever regret ignoring the red flags that came up in the interview process once you were in a new job? Better yet, do you wish to recreate the great experience you had two or three jobs ago? You are not alone.

The Benefits of Finding a Great Company Culture

Finding the ideal company culture is not an exact science. In fact, it may not be high on your list of written priorities. Nevertheless, it has probably occurred to you that working in the right culture brings out the best in people. The good news is, you can take a proactive approach to discovering a company’s true culture before you join. What are the benefits of such a strategy? With a well thought out strategy, you can:

  1. Align yourself to do your highest and best work, ensuring growth, contribution, and rewards
  2. Place yourself in a position of informed choice when considering multiple offers
  3. Go in with your eyes open and with a sensible strategy when the environment is less than idea
  4. Use the strategies outlined in this process to understand your company culture challenges today while crafting and implementing a positive exit strategy
The Four Dimensions of Company Culture

For ease of assessment, we can dissect company culture using the following four dimensions:

1. Strategy: How companies differentiate themselves in the market — Four common strategies fit most companies.

2. Structure: How companies handle reporting and decision-making. There are four types of reporting structures, which fit most companies.

3. Style: How companies communicate with customers, prospects, and employees – There are four unique styles of organizational communication

4. System: How companies create and implement the culture (consciously or unconsciously). I have divided the dimension of system into four areas of distinct possibility.

See if you recognize your most recent company in each of these four areas. Ask yourself which of the Strategies, Structures, Styles, and Systems would support your best work. The answers are not the same for everyone.

For the rest of the steps in the Culture Finder process, click here.