How can you tell the culture in an organization?
Learning the culture of an organization is important for your career.
The organizational cultures are like the beauty of roses; it’s to see how they unfold over time. It is very hard to imagine their true faces before you become one with them.
Any organization, big or small, has a culture that may not be easy to understand by outsiders (those outside the organization) no matter how good their intentions are.
A company’s culture is more than its mission and vision statements, employee handbooks, and daily practices. It is not about how employees dress or what they say to each other. These things may be signs of the company’s culture, but they are not the culture itself.
The work environment of an organization can tell you a lot about the business. If general office space is crowded or there are general signs of disorganization, it’s likely that people in the company are not very detail-oriented. It is also common to see employees wearing casual clothing in this type of environment, which may signal that people are more interested in comfort than looking professional.
If employees take their jobs very seriously and seem to be driven and dedicated, it’s fairly safe to assume that they value professionalism, efficiency, and productivity.
The use of jargon or slang in everyday office communications is another clue about the culture. For example, an investor relations department might use financial terms all day long with other departments may not understand them. That’s a strong indicator that people in that department value professionalism and have extensive knowledge of the business.
Personal interaction with employees is another way to gauge the company’s culture. If you are greeted with warmth and friendliness from fellow workers, it may indicate a more relaxed environment. On the other hand, if employees seem serious most of the time, that’s a hint that they value professionalism and don’t feel as comfortable with jokes or casual conversation.
Pay attention to the way managers interact with employees. Are they more relaxed than their direct reports? That may indicate a less formal culture, while managers who go out of their way to be very professional in front of employees is often a sign that they value professionalism and formality.
Check out for leadership and culture in organization is not a good fit for your style, consider asking some employees for lunch or coffee to learn more about what it’s really like.
You may be able to gauge the work environment from people when they come in contact with them from time to time, but remember that you may not see what they are behind closed doors.