Why Knowing a Company’s Culture Should Matter to You

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company’s culture and finding a job whose culture you are compatible with. We know that a company’s culture exemplifies its mission, beliefs, values, goals, and work environment, and guides the way it is run. But, what does “company culture” actually mean for you in day to day life?

A company’s culture affects you in many different ways. At face value, we know how its guiding values affect the behavior and attitude of the office, but a company’s culture will also influence many other things, such as: the hours you work per day, having the options of flextime and telecommuting, perks such as gyms and daycare facilities, expected outside work hours and mandatory networking events, office dress code, and even your office space – windows, cubicles, open space, allowance of personal items.

Hopefully, it is becoming more and more apparent why a company’s culture should matter to you, and how important it is to your work-life satisfaction that you are compatible with a company’s culture. So, how can we understand and apply it practically?

In his book, The Culture Blueprint, Robert Richman – former Culture Strategist at Zappos.com and Culture Expert – talks about the first class he took at Zappos to learn about their culture. Instead of lecturing to them, the instructor asked questions such as, “What do you think the word ‘culture’ means?” and “what do you think Zappos culture is?” The participants all then discussed it, and, as such, Richman points out the class content itself was actually co-created. They then broke up into teams to create and eventually implement projects which they thought could further develop Zappos’ company culture.

Just within that experience, we are able to see some of the values that embody the Zappos company culture: open-mindedness, learning, and execution. Three tangible things that make up a culture.

What about some other companies; what values is their culture based on? As Richman discusses in his book, Apple’s is based on design and excellence, Google’s on academics and engineering, and in addition to what we have already seen, Zappos’ is also based on service and happiness. All three companies have very different, yet distinctly defined, company cultures. Knowing this, you can ask yourself which company’s values you line up more with: Are you driven to focus on design or engineering elements? Do you place your importance on academics over service? Which do you value more – happiness or excellence?

Let’s take a look at some more companies known to have the best company cultures, and their core values and driving principles. While you’re reading them, think about how they match up with your own core values.

Southwest: The Southwest website describes their culture as one being guided by the following values, among others – desire to be the best, being courageous, following the Golden Rule (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), having fun, embracing the Southwest family and being a passionate team player, and celebrating success.

General Electric: Their culture is one strongly based in volunteerism, both individually for the employees, and for the organization as a whole. GE says the measure of their business is found in the improvements to the lives touched by their work.

DreamWorks Animation: This culture is one of collaboration and openness which strives to foster creativity, encourages employees to take risks, and offer opportunities for employees to engage in spontaneous discussions.

Clearly, knowing the specific core values of a company’s culture helps you determine how compatible you are with it. This is why it is so important to us here at Elevated to find out more about you through our questionnaires; it is the way we can match you up with companies who place value on the same things that you do. But it even goes further than that for us.

Normally, until you have actually worked at a company for a certain amount of time, being able to discover what the culture of a potential employer is may be a little difficult. It is usually through doing research and both asking questions and observing the office and employees while at the interview that you can begin to get a good idea. However, at Elevated, we have already done a lot of the heavy lifting for you! We have researched the company’s cultures whose jobs are listed on our site, and use that information to match you up with the most compatible jobs. So, if you haven’t filled your questionnaires out yet, get to it, so we can do our job and help you get on your way to a satisfying and fulfilling career.

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