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6 Signs of Good Company Culture…And When to Run

Finding a new job isn’t just about getting a new title or an increase in pay. It is also about finding an organization that cultivates employee development, community service, career fulfillment and so much more.

Companies typically have their mission statement and set of core values listed on their website. However, that doesn’t mean the organization actually exudes integrity, commitment, or any other warm and fuzzy characteristics. It is one thing to say we believes in certain things, but it’s very different to show those same values through a company’s actions.

Here are six things to look for that indicate a positive company culture, or a complete nightmare:

1. Find Company Culture that Matches You

Look for a company that aligns with your preferences and values both on paper and in person. Learn what the company does to help its community, read some testimonials from the website, and ask both HR and employees about how the company lives its core values daily. If the company’s core values aren’t apparent from several sources, it is unlikely that leadership talks the talk and walks the walk.

2. Positive Leadership

How a company leads is one of the biggest reasons as to why people choose to stay or go. Speaking with employees of the company to get the scoop on management and how they tend to run things is a good idea. Specifically, ask about the management styles and overall direction of the company as a whole. Don’t be afraid to ask the manager directly, either.

3. Encouraging Outlook

An organization with a great company culture shows through its employees. Speak with potential co-workers to get their take. Everyone should be able to provide a good idea of what the company is mission is and the direction it is taking. Asking a few people the same questions helps determine if there is alignment throughout the company. If everyone has similar responses, chances are there is a strong culture and that leaders within the organization are visible, accessible, and do a good job of communicating from the top. If everyone seems to be rowing in different directions, it shows a strong level of confusion regarding the overall strategy as well as poor communication from leaders.

4. Specific Examples of Company Culture

A strong company culture is has people who can provide specific examples about how good the organization is. Listen carefully to anyone who appears to love their company and find out why. If no one has any stories to tell, it’s a good bet to say there isn’t much culture or it’s not a very good one. If answers to culture questions with HR center around their benefits package, there’s a clear signal that culture is struggling.

5. Read Reviews about Company Culture

Another way to get a read on the culture in a company is to look at employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor. Remember that most reviews are likely from former employees and should be taken with a grain of salt. While this shouldn’t be used as the only way to detect company culture, it can be helpful. If there is a clear pattern of unhappiness and the complaints are similar from different departments, this is a big red flag that something isn’t right. Look to see if the company is monitoring or responding to these complaints. Also, watch to see if there is a series of one star reviews followed by a few vague 5-star reviews. This can be a sign of management trying to inflate the score.

Bring up general complaints in the interview with HR to talk through – if they get defensive – there is probably some truth in what is being said.

Related post: Job Searching During a Pandemic

6. Thorough Hiring Process

This last one is simple. If a company is ready to hire you with little question or offers “same day” employment…it is probably for good reason; excessive turnover. Organizations with good company cultures are likely to have more long-term employees because they continually engage and invest in their workforce, and they will have a thorough hiring process to ensure they are hiring the right people. Steer clear of companies that seem desperate to simply put a body in a cubicle.

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