How to Research Company Culture

Company culture is a big consideration, or should be, when researching companies to work for. Did you know that one of the most common reasons for not hiring someone is “not the right cultural fit.” It’s also very common for employees to state that the reason they left was a “toxic work environment.”

Begin your company culture research early, before you apply for the job. This helps weed out places you don’t need to spend time applying to.

Wouldn’t it be great to be a fly on the wall inside a company to see what it is really like to work there?

Well, we can’t make you super tiny with wings, but we can offer a few ways to find out more about a company’s culture to see if you think you’d like working there.

What is Company Culture?

First, let’s talk about what company culture actually means. You could call it the personality of a company. Is the company laid back and easy going or more serious and refined? Do they have casual Friday or is the word casual something that is saved for personal time?

Culture also includes how thing get done at the company. Are processes laid out in very detailed lists that must be adhered to? Or is everyone expected to figure out their own workflow and processes? Is the company inline with your own personality and how you get things done or is it way off?

It can be hard to define or describe a businesses’ culture and we couldn’t find an online personality test for a company. We looked. However, there are key factors that define company culture, so let’s start with those.

What types of things make up a company’s culture?

These can vary widely and are more or less important depending on your personality.

  • job satisfaction
  • employee engagement
  • work-life balance
  • opportunities for collaboration and growth
  • effective leadership
  • benefits
  • organizational trust
  • co-worker relationships
  • meaningful work
  • empowerment
  • feedback
  • recognition
  • growth

Make a list of things that are important to you at work. Ask people in your network what they like about where they work. Start to get a feel for the kinds of things people find important.

How to Learn More about a Company’s Culture

Start with your list of prospective companies you think you want to work for and whittle it down.

Start with your network. Do you know anyone who works at this company? Are you connected with anyone on LinkedIn? Start here and ask them, “Why do you like working at XYZ company?” Also read Protect Your Next Job from Company Culture Shock – Ask the Right Questions. If you don’t immediately know anyone who works there, ask around about the company anyway. Ask everyone you know. Chances are someone you ask will have some sort of insight. It might be as a customer, and that is valuable too.

Note: Be sure to consider the source when you get feedback. If you do enough research you will encounter positive and negative comments about a company. You will need to weigh this all out, and considering where the info came from is part of the balancing act.

Employee Review Sites. There are several websites that host places for employees to leave reviews of their place of employment. Check out CareerBliss Company Reviews to start.

Social Media Accounts. Check out the company’s social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. See what kinds of things they post and how they engage with their followers. This will give you a good idea of their brand as well.

Customer Reviews. While you are cruising their social media accounts, check out customer reviews too. You may also find these on platforms like Google, Amazon, Yelp, etc. Are people generally happy with the company? How do they handle complaints?

Research News and Information. Conducting a simple Google search on the company may turn up helpful articles and news stories. Has the company been in the news recently? Was it good or bad news?

The Wrap Up

Keep in mind when conducting all of your research that there is no right or wrong company culture. Well, maybe it could be wrong if they are doing something illegal or unethical, but that should be apparent early on. It it more about finding the right fit for your personality and if you will be happy working there. If you take the time to define what you like and what works for you it will be easier to find a company where you can thrive.

Good luck and we are here for you!

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