5 ways to find out a company’s corporate culture

Talya Zwiers   15 November, 2018
Employee Perks
A company’s culture can make your break your job experience. Simple. Bar doing research about the company and its products and services for an interview, is it possible to get a true sense for the culture before accepting a job? In today’s ever connected world, is it your due diligence to do some digging to find out if you’ll be a good fit, or should one just accept a job with matching skills and experience? It’s estimated that 1/3 of your life is spent at work (90,000 hours over a lifetime!), so investing some time and effort into ensuring you’re satisfied with your job and workplace, rather than dreading every second is vital for your sanity and wellbeing.

Frances Frei and Anne Morriss at Harvard Business Review accurately sums up why culture is so important, and why it is fundamental to be a good fit: “culture guides discretionary behavior and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course most of the time.”

Corporate culture can often feel very airy fairy and a feeling that’s hard to put your finger on. On the flipside, there’s a lot of evidence to back the need for a culture where employees fit in. According to Forbes, companies with strong cultures saw a 4x increase in revenue growth. The stats from Deloitte concur with this too: 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.

Companies that appreciate the importance of having a good corporate culture truly understand how vital it is to invest in their employees, for a plethora of reasons including job satisfaction, employee retention and increased productivity rates. So, try discover what a company is like and do some clever research, it will be worth the effort for yourself. Here’s how:

1. Rock up early to your interview
Use the company’s reception as an observation point as it’s a microcosm of the greater organisation. Nothing speaks more for itself than watching employees in action, so to speak. Watching employees in their working environment first handed, interacting with each other and sussing out the general atmosphere, cannot be contrived. Prospect employees can get a feel for the type of workplace, the levels of respect and the general buzz by taking a back seat and observing – this is often the most authentic way to get an answer. Do employees greet each other? Do you see people working together or are they all autonomous? Ask where the WC is, how is the response you get? That shall lay the foundation of what’s to come…

2. Check out the social footprint
Remember the days before social media and Dr Google where it was virtually impossible to find out the ins and outs of a company, unless you had an in or knew someone working there? With the rise of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and sites such as Glassdoor etc., there’s so much out there where you can get a realistic feel about the culture of a company, what people are saying about and more importantly the views of employees and customers alike. Check out company blogs, connections on LinkedIn, comments on forums and the like – this speaks wonders as opposed to the perfectly posed language on the corporate site.

3. Check out the employee perks and benefits
Often companies who care about the holistic wellbeing and retention of their employees go above and beyond the standard remuneration package and offer a discounts / benefits portal where employees have access to thousands of savings. This highlights that the employer is thinking out of the box and is looking out for employees outside of the office, be it with reduced gym memberships, discounted supermarket vouchers and cinema tickets and more. Such employee perks can be used to attract, retain and reward a team with brands they love and is a strong means to engage and motivate a workforce. This can create a culture of inclusiveness with a great morale.

4. Interview the interviewer
There’s two ways to do this, be candid and ask outright in your interview what’s the culture like in this organisation? What do employees like about working here? What’s the work / life balance like? Do they do social events? Alternatively, ask how they would describe their culture if they were writing an article about themselves, or filling out a questionnaire. You can get an accurate sense by the body language and tone of voice of the interviewer. Follow their lead and ask follow on questions based on their response.

5. Ask how often do employees meet
This may sound like a silly question, however it says a lot about the working dynamics of the team you’ll potentially be joining. If the answer is each employee meets with their line manager weekly or on an ad-hoc basis, this could allude to siloed working, and not working on projects as a team. If they say the team meets on a regular basis at the local coffee shop or in the cafeteria over a drink, this shows they value everyone’s opinions and like getting an integrated approach on projects. It may not be a black and white answer to the exact culture, but can get a deeper sense.

Staff Treats believe that the little things make the biggest differences to employees and a company’s culture. Why not invest in your team from just £4 per staff member per month, and provide your team with employee benefits and treats from over 3,000 offers on brands such as Vue, Apple, M&S, Sainsbury's and Starbucks? If you’d like to get a demo how these employee perks can boost your culture, speak to our Engagement specialists.

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