If you are considering changing positions or careers, you’re not alone. A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll for Fast Company magazine found that 52% of U.S. workers are considering a job change in 2021, and as many as 44% already have plans in place to make the leap. These numbers include managers and highly skilled workers.
When searching for a new opportunity, there are a number of factors to consider, such as the position’s responsibilities and salary, and the company’s reputation and leadership. It’s equally important to see if the company is a good fit for you: does its culture align with your workplace values?
What are Your Workplace Values?
Take some time to consider the values are essential to your professional and personal development and well-being. Here are a few examples:
- Work-life balance, including flexible work options
- Family-friendly benefits like childcare subsidies and maternity/paternity leave
- Health and wellness benefits, including gym memberships and employee assistance programs
- Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, including LGBTQ workers, older workers, and disabled workers in addition to race and ethnicity
- Professional and personal development opportunities, including tuition reimbursement and ongoing training
- Corporate responsibility, including volunteer days, sponsorship of local/neighborhood initiatives, and recycling programs
Do Your Research
While the pandemic is winding down, it’s likely that virtual (video) interviews will continue. It’s more challenging to gain a sense of the company’s culture when you can’t physically enter the office to check out its staff and environment. But by leveraging a few of my tried-and-true tips below, you’ll be able to assess whether or not a company is a cultural fit for you.
1. Thoroughly cull through the company’s website.
- Check out the company’s Mission and Vision statements to determine if they align with what’s important to you. On its Corporate Giving or Community Engagement page, you can review the type of philanthropic initiatives they are involved in to see if they resonate with you. If Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are important to you, see if they have a department or staff person dedicated to this, or if there is a statement on the website affirming a commitment to these values. Maybe the company has received “best places to work” honors.
- Review the company’s employee benefits, which are often found on the company’s job descriptions (Careers page), as well as on the website’s “Working Here,” or “Join Us” page. Do they offer generous vacation policies? Flexible schedules? Tuition reimbursement? Retirement plans? Health and wellness programs?
- Look at the demographics of the team/staff on the company’s “Team” or “People” page, or on the company’s LinkedIn page. If you are in your 40s, and everyone on staff wears baseball caps and looks 25, would you feel comfortable as part of that team? Or, if 90% of staff are white men, and you’re a woman of color?
- Take note of the types of staff events and celebrations the company publicizes on its website. Do they have sports teams? Do they offer volunteer days, where staff contribute their time at a local nonprofit agency? Do they host picnics and family days? I once read about a company that organized a “bring your parents to work day” vs. the more popular “bring your kids to work day.”
2. Check out the company’s social media presence: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
How does the company represent itself to the public and its customers/audience? What kind of images and content do they post? Is the overall tone serious and corporate? Laid back and humorous? Thought-provoking and engaging? Do they celebrate and recognize their staff’s contributions and successes?
3. “Google” the company.
Scan through the results, which may include the latest news and media coverage, photos of staff (including events and activities), job opportunities, and even company reviews by current and former employees.
4. Contact your colleagues and LinkedIn contacts who are current or former employees.
The firsthand experience of current and former employees can provide you an insider’s look at the way the company treats its staff. Just remember to take into consideration the person’s relationship with the company; if he/she left on bad terms, the feedback you receive may be skewed to the negative.
5. Most importantly (and most effectively), go right to the source. Prepare a list of questions to ask the company’s hiring manager during your interview, such as:
- How has your company culture changed because of the pandemic?
- What tools do you use to keep communication open and transparent?
- What team or company traditions are popular with your employees?
- How do you support and motivate your team?
- What kind of flexible work arrangements do people have?
- Do you have a matching gifts program or sponsor local volunteer events?
- How does the organization support your professional development and career growth?
- What is the process for giving and receiving feedback, including performance reviews?
The clues you gather from the tips above can provide you with insight into a company’s personality without even stepping foot into its office. While there’s no such thing as the perfect position, a good cultural fit can greatly add to your job satisfaction.
Which one of the above clues do you think you’ll leverage the most? Do you have any clues that have worked for you? Share them here!
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