While an organisation’s vision and goals describe ‘what’ gets done, its culture dictates the all-important ‘how’. Beyond cool perks and offices, culture encompasses an organisation’s shared values and encouraged behaviours. A good cultural fit has the potential to bring out your best, so it’s worth considering.
Start with your own work preferences – the tangible and intangible factors that contribute to your happiness and satisfaction on the job. Among others, consider the values you care about and what leadership, communication and decision-making styles you favour. Is flexibility important? What about teamwork or individuality? And do you like flatter hierarchies where decision-making may be more participative? Or are tiered chains of command better for you? What pace lets you shine – fast and agile (prizing efficiency) or methodical and considered (prioritising quality)?
Then do your homework on the organisation. Their website, social media and Glassdoor reviews (or similar) may provide clues about what’s important to them and what behaviours they expect and reward in their employees. What do they say they stand for (their values)? How do they showcase or speak about their people? Do they talk about career development? And so on.
If you can, visit the office and take in the space (workspaces, common areas) and people’s demeanour. Look up LinkedIn contacts. Or ask to speak with a team member. Why do they love working here? Do they feel valued and heard? What’s one thing they’d change about the place? What kind of person thrives here?
Ultimately, you want to understand if an organisation “practices what it preaches” and can provide you with an environment in which to flourish, to their infinite benefit and yours.