The Perfect Company Culture and How to Find It

August 21, 2020

How you feel at work has an impact on your personal life. So how can you find a company with the best culture for you?

The Perfect Company Culture And How To Find It

Company culture is like a series of small societies within one larger society. Their individual cultures are expressions of the work they do and the values they hold.

Company culture is a hot topic in the corporate world and companies across the globe are increasingly investing in appealing workplace cultures which resonate with people and inspire motivation and happiness in the office (or at home!).

Yet no two companies have the same culture. This begs the question: how do you know which culture fits your profile and goals the best? Why not take a look for the answer right here...

What is company culture?

Culture can be defined as the group knowledge and achievements expressed through things like customs, behaviour, art, music, food, religion, and language. These act as the foundations for the values and beliefs of an entire society.

Company culture is similar. It is a shared set of beliefs, values, attitudes, standards, purposes, and behaviours. It’s the combination of two concepts: the expressed culture that an organisation broadcasts publicly, as well as its actual culture (the way people within the organisation really act and how they really treat one another).

When these two concepts align, you’ll find what can be described as a strong company culture: leaders and employees understand the company’s values because they’re reinforced by deliberate training and decision-making at every level.

However, weak company cultures naturally exist alongside these. This happens when there’s a disconnect between what the company culture is said to be and what it really is, either due to a lack of culture altogether or because what is said isn’t being understood by employees. Weak company culture also happens because of a lack of action. Writing your culture down on a poster and expecting people to follow the guidelines won’t work - you must lead by example!

So, how do you know which company culture is right for you?

Whatever you think of company culture, there’s no doubt that it’s a big deal for every business. It could be the deciding factor used to make a company stand out from the crowd. Don’t let yourself be fooled by ping-pong tables and beanbag chairs at the office, though! Before you get lured into a new job, you must figure out if that culture is actually going to make you happy and successful.

Sound complicated? It isn’t! Here are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself to figure out if a company’s culture is the right fit for you.

What motivates you?

People have different ways of feeling motivated and, indeed, different ideas of what motivation looks like. You might be more productive when you work in a beautiful office with an amazing view over the surrounding landscape, or you might not value this as much and prefer to have flexible work hours so that you’re able to both do your job and run your errands.

Think about a time when you were extremely productive. What was the main factor which allowed your productivity to flow? Were you working alone or with others? Was there a tight deadline or were you relaxed and without the stress of an imminent submission date? Were you dealing with people or with the product? Analyse all these scenarios in as much detail as possible and find out exactly what fuels your productivity. It’s important to be aware of what brings out the best in you when looking for a new job.

Motivation and happiness can be quite similar but they’re not always the same. For example, being autonomous might both make you happy and motivate you! However, working under pressure might give you the productivity boost you’ve been craving!

It’s probably easier for you to know exactly what makes the perfect workplace for you if you’ve previously been in a job you’ve loved. If this is the case for you, simply look back at that experience and take as much information from it as you can.

However, if you’ve never experienced a place that gives you butterflies every morning before your commute, you might find it a bit complicated to know what makes your serotonin spike. Maybe you’d like to have a flexible work schedule? Maybe you’d enjoy being able to play a darts match with your teammates for fifteen minutes during lunch? Maybe you’d enjoy the ability to take a one/two hour break from work so you can run some personal errands?

You could come up with as many perks as possible and a company may actually fit most of them, but it’s important to be aware of what’s real as well as what is simply too good to be true. Be critical! Research about the company through websites like Glassdoor and check for reviews from former and current employees. This will give you an idea of what life is like within a company.

Does the company culture fit your lifestyle?

Something often overlooked is how well a new job and the company’s culture fit your lifestyle. It’s important to keep this in mind as it will inevitably affect your whole life, professional and personal. You might have found the perfect job, but it might end up being overly taxing on your lifestyle - and that could cause more trouble than it’s worth...

For example, the company’s culture might be that nobody leaves before the CEO or, on the other hand, that everyone gets kicked out of the office by 6pm. Or maybe the people working in the office bond over meals; this sounds nice unless you’d rather spend breakfast and lunch with your family, which means you probably won’t be at the office when everyone else is socialising and bonding.

You must consider your happiness across all aspects of your life. Make sure that you’re happy with your job, but never forget to make sure that your job should also make you happy at home. Finding the perfect balance between these two is the key to a fulfilling and successful life.

Yes, it might seem incredibly self-important to consider all of this before accepting a job offer. However, it’s important that everyone cares for their well-being as much as possible if they have the chance. Let go of your guilt and allow yourself to be a tad self-indulgent when looking for a new job!

But what about the companies themselves? How do they know you’re a good fit?

It’s important to stay aware that companies will also investigate whether you’re the perfect fit for their culture as well. There are a few tricks from recruitment teams that help them figure this out and knowing about this can help you understand the flow of your interview a bit better.

We spoke to our recruitment team who shared some of the questions which help them understand if a candidate will fit in well into our company culture. Take a look at what they said:

  • What do you value in a company? This question aims at the core of your own values and it will reveal whether you align with the company’s mission as a whole.
  • What would make you pick one company over the other? Take this chance to let the recruiter know of what you’re not looking for in a company. It’s an alternative way of aligning your values to the company’s.
  • Which of our values do you identify with the most? Things couldn’t be any more direct! Elaborate, elaborate, elaborate! Don’t just mention one value and say that’s the one. Explain why.

Apart from direct questions, recruiters will also evaluate your attitude, the things you say, etc. For example, recruiters will consider if you’ve got a strict and rigid view of hierarchy, if you’re more reactive than proactive, how strong your ethic is, your level of enthusiasm, and so on.

Fitting a certain company culture, and that culture fitting you, is all about behaviour and whether your goals match those of the people you’re going to be working with. If a certain company has an appealing culture, it’s highly likely that you’re going to get along pretty nicely with your colleagues, and that’s something you can spot right from the start at your interview!

Would you like to know more about working at Critical? Click on the button below and see for yourself!