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What to look for in a companyYou’re going down the interview path for a new job and you’re deciding on who to pick but how do you know which company to choose? What makes an organisation a good workplace? According to global research, consulting and training firm, Great Place to Work, the choice mainly comes down to the culture.

Here’s what to look for to figure out a company’s culture and if it’s the right fit for you:

Alignment With What You Want
First things first, create a list (mentally or as I prefer write/type it up) of what you’re looking for in a company. This could range from something with a ‘cool factor’ to a more conservative corporate.

Here’s a few things to consider:

  • Company size
  • Location
  • Traditional vs. cool and funky
  • Corporate or creative
  • Flexible working hours or set times
  • Age ranges of other staff (would you prefer a young fun vibe or working with older more experienced people to learn from?)
  • Publicly listed vs. privately owned

Still stay open minded and flexible as to what you want, otherwise  you risk becoming too fussy and missing out on opportunities. However, it’s important to have a good idea in mind of what you want so you know what to look for.

The Company’s History
What does the history of the organisation tell you about them? Have a look at when the company was founded and how it has evolved over the years. Have they won any awards? Who have they worked with over the past?

Checkout the Mission Statement
Zrinka Lovrencic, Australian Director at Great Place to Work, said it’s important to have a good understanding of the company’s mission as this is what underlines their culture.

The company’s mission, the story of why and how it was started is the root of the spirit of the company,” she said.

She recommends asking yourself about the company, “is this something you want to contribute to?”.

Review the Company’s Values
Zrinka advises, “When looking for a job, have a look at the company values. How do you align to them, how would you live [by] them in a workplace?”

In the interview, she recommends to show initiative by asking:

  • What are the values, what do they mean in the workplace?
  • What are the company goals, what and how would you be contributing to them?
  • How does the annual performance review, personal development plan and KPI’s align?
  • Can you take a tour of the office?
  • Can you have a direct access to the company blog / forum and chat with a few employees?

“What this will tell you is how aligned an organisation is, how much they will value your contribution and how vested they are in the future of their employees,” she said.

So, why are companies even bothering to put an emphasis on their culture?

Zrinka commented, “We have seen a tidal wave in companies putting more emphasis on employees in the last six years in particular. As organisations become flatter in hierarchy, and discretionary budgets get tighter, organisations [are] putting more emphasis on their employees needs and desires in order to attract and retain the best talent.”

Gen Y
“Generation Y is the model employee for this environment. This generation is cause driven, and respond well to companies that offer a compelling mission statement, a reason for them to care about their output,” Zrinka added.

“Due to Gen Y’s curious nature and need to gain experiences, sideways promotions into new divisions and roles requiring new skills are seen as promotions, as they add to their toolkit of skills.”

How To Work Well in the Culture
“Everyone in the organisation plays a role in ensuring the right culture prevails in the workplaces. It is important to support the organisation’s goals by performing your tasks to the best of your abilities, being proactive in asking for help and feedback on your work from your colleagues and your leaders, as well as ensuring you behave in line with the organisation’s values,” Zrinka advised.

For more tips and tricks to securing and starting your dream job, checkout our free e-book – the New Job Survival Kit.

What sort of company culture do you work in or wish you had? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Laura is the Founder & Editor of The Workher. She is an award winning Public Relations professional, who loves blogging about surviving and thriving in the workplace as a young woman.

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