July 31, 2020

Starting A Job Search When You Want to Find A Better Culture

by Amy Stuntz

Job seeking and dating have a lot in common, it’s all about finding “The One”! The funny thing about that is the definition of “The One” means something different to everyone. I think we can all agree “The One” is someone who shares your values and brings out the best in you. Finding those qualities in an employer isn’t much different.

Company culture may be subjective to each of us, but by and large most people want to enjoy where they work, have their needs met and share values consistent with their colleagues and leaders. If you’re not feeling it at your current employer, then you’ve come to the right place. Many people launch job searches because they want a better culture. Here are 10 questions to discover the right company culture for you.

1)What are the company’s core values?
Most companies list core values on their website under sections like About Us or Careers, and they will also display their core values visually on social media through company pictures, tags to social/community initiatives and marketing pieces.


2)What type of organizational culture does the company have?
Consider everything from the physical layout of the office to how frequently employees interact with their colleagues, supervisors and C-suite members. Stats over aesthetics also tell a story. Ask questions during an interview about their retention percentage, internal promotion success, onboarding/training and internship programs.


3)Does the company promote diversity and inclusion?
Does the company welcome individuals from all backgrounds and celebrate their differences? Does their HR Department have a diversity committee?


4)Do they have an employee recognition program?
Recognizing and rewarding employees for exceptional performance encourages employees to continue performing at top levels. If you are a competitive person, these programs can also promote friendly competition. During an interview, ask about these programs in addition to also subtle behaviors like annual reviews, President’s Club, incentive based compensation and company sponsored trips.


5)How flexible are they?
We all know life happens sometimes. What is the company’s policy on working from home or a flexible work arrangement? Ask HR for a company of the company’s policies on PTO, paid holidays and Flex Time. Ask what leniency hiring managers have to influence, manage and institute and govern policies on a case-by-case basis.


6)Do they have social outings?
Having the opportunity to get to know your coworkers outside of work will support meaningful relationships between colleagues. Ask how the company builds community and what type of extracurricular events are sponsored, encouraged and supported. It could be casual (Friday afternoon drinks) to formal events centered about philanthropy and volunteerism.


7)What kind of learning opportunities do they offer?
What kind of continuing education does the company offer? Even if there is no formal education offered, skill building is an important part of a positive work experience and can help you to pursue your passions. Ask about education reimbursement, programs for industry specific credentialing and other professional development initiatives.


8)What is their employee retention?
Ask about prospective employers’ retention rates. If it is high, what do they attribute to their success? If they have low retention, what are they doing to try to improve it and keep their employees engaged? Remember to put this in context with how many hires they make each year.


9)Do they offer a mentorship program?
If they don’t have an official mentorship program in place, is there someone they could suggest pairing you up with to offer career progression advice within the company? Having a confidant you can trust and turn to for help in career advancement is priceless.


10)How and when is feedback given to employees?
A yearly review is often the only formal time that is set aside for a leader to provide an employee feedback on their performance. Ask about one-on-ones and how often they happen. Do leaders tend to reschedule or skip these meetings? When leadership does their best to honor the time set aside to meet with you, it shows that they value and respect your time and care about what you have to say.


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