Company culture: What is it and how much does it matter for your next role?
What’s important to you when it comes to looking for a new role? If you’re like most UK employees, you’ll be paying close attention to things like work-life balance, location, job stability and progression – and, of course, the ever-crucial matter of compensation. But how much importance are you placing on company culture when it comes to your next career move?
Culture impacts every element of a business. It has a role to play in engaging employees, ensuring leadership and stakeholder values are aligned and potentially even driving financial performance. And with 94% of executives and 88% of employees saying a distinct workplace culture is important to business success, it’s clear that this is something you should be factoring in to your job search.
What is company culture?
Also known as corporate or organisational culture, company culture encapsulates the personality of an organisation, including the beliefs, behaviours and values of the business and those who work within it. Some businesses will have a clearly defined culture, communicated through their written values and mission statements, whereas others may have a more organic culture that develops over time. This can be reflected in the personalities and attitudes of employees, dress code, office environment, communication and interactions between company members and the outside world.
Why is it important?
At its simplest level, company culture can have a significant impact on your enjoyment of a role. A culture that is closely aligned with your own values and beliefs will allow you to thrive, while one that is in contrast to your working style may hinder your progress. Take Netflix as an example: The entertainment company states it encourages independent decision-making by employees and avoids rules, with the core philosophy of ‘people over process’. For someone who works and thinks creatively and doesn’t want to be restricted by red tape, this could be the ideal company culture. Meanwhile, someone with a structured working style may be more comfortable in an organisation with clearer parameters and guidelines – for example, Bank of America, which encourages leadership accountability, driving ethical conduct and managing risk well.
Looking at company culture from a more commercial standpoint, research shows that the right culture can give a business a potential competitive advantage. Professionals wanting to be part of a successful organisation should look to its values, environment and atmosphere. Meanwhile, millennials and Generation-Z typically look for a positive workplace culture, where flexible working is possible and new ideas are encouraged.
While permanent and contract workers will likely have different requirements when it comes to company culture – with contract workers often placing less emphasis on this factor for short-term assignments – it’s something that every candidate should consider.
How can you look for it?
Organisational culture can be assessed at every stage of the recruitment process, from reading a job ad through to your final interview. Here are our top tips to help get a handle on company culture at a prospective new company:
- If you know the name of the company you’re applying for, look at their social media channels, website and Glassdoor profile. Photos of team events and charity days, social posts celebrating anniversaries and awards, and clearly defined company values can all point towards what it might be like to work there.
- Ask your interviewer what it’s like to work at the company. Questions like “What’s the best thing about working here?”, “What do you like most about your job?” and “Do people socialise outside of work?” can all help you to assess whether a company is right for you.
- Find out what the training and development opportunities are like. For some, this is a crucial part of accepting a role. Look for businesses that have a strong history of promoting from within, clear progression plans and an openness to new ideas.
Take the next step
If you’re ready to start looking for the company culture that’s a perfect fit for you, take a look at our latest vacancies to make a match.
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