“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Peter Drucker
Culture is one of those mysterious words that you hear at conferences or in a company meeting. It’s also one of the most misunderstood concepts when it comes to an organization because people don’t really know how to define it.
They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but you usually want to read more if it has an intriguing cover. It needs to catch your attention in the first paragraph, too.
Culture represents all of the things behind the “cover” in a company that are hard to explain. You just know it’s special when you see and feel it.
And, usually that’s after you’ve already started.
You can’t really get to know a culture before joining a company…..or can you?
As The Career Disruptor™, one of my goals is to challenge and disrupt how you think about your career and what’s possible for you. You can find a culture that fits you and it starts with one that values people through actions and words.
Here are 3 quick tips on finding a people culture during your next career move:
Tip #1 Consider your experience during the interview process
The interview “game” has changed. The interviewing and hiring process have become like the homebuying market. It’s a seller’s market in 2020 and the seller is the employee or potential candidate.
Employers are the buyer and must make an offer that’s appealing to attract the best and the brightest in the tight job market.
You’re “selling” your value to the organization and the organization is “buying” your time based on the contributions that you’ll make there.
As a candidate, you have more options than ever before. Professionals are starting their own full-time or part-time businesses as consultants, independent freelancers or gig workers.
Companies are no longer competing solely with other companies for talent. Their “talent” has now become the competition.
They’re competing with candidates like you who have the option to take their knowledge and skills and provide value in the market outside of a traditional 9 to 5. This is possible through the internet and vast amount of offline and online business opportunities.
This makes the interview experience even more critical. If you experience anything that gives you hesitation during the interview process, it’s worth digging into to make sure that it’s truly the right move for you.
Did you receive timely responses to your emails during the process? Did the interviewers talk about their culture and people during the interview process? Did the process take longer than 2 months? Did you have to interview more than 3 times?
According to Hirevue.com, most positions today take about 42 days to fill. That’s less than 6 weeks AND it may be less for positions that have highly sought-after candidates who receive multiple offers within 2 weeks of an interview.
You can tell a lot about the organization during the interview process and should check the facts, but ultimately, listen to your gut instincts.
Tip #2 Talk to people who work at the organization
You spend almost a 3rd of your week at work. It’s important to talk to people within the organization before you make the move into a new organization.
Ask them about their experiences and how the company is structured, how decisions are made, what are the overall leadership styles at the organization, and what are the shared values and beliefs that affect how people treat each other at the company.
If you’re unable to talk to people at the organization, look at Glassdoor® reviews to see if you can pick up any specific trends (good or bad) that you can discuss during the interview process.
For example, if you’re seeing Glassdoor® reviews around leadership, ask questions that are focused on leadership effectiveness. You can ask the leader how they encourage and support the development of current employees or how they lead through ongoing changes.
These questions are meant to help you identify if you’ll be able to grow and develop during your time in the organization and if there is a process in place for navigating change.
This is important because of the fast pace of change in many organizations today and change can create challenges if it’s not managed well.
Look to the people in the company before making your move.
Tip #3 Check out the company website, social media and publications
Review the company’s website to determine if they’re more focused on one aspect of their business over another.
As an MBA, I loved learning about all aspects of business from operations, information technology, marketing, finance and accounting, organizational behavior and HR management, strategic planning, communications and more.
Each of these areas work together to form a fully functioning business. They are all critical functions that should eventually be led by experts in those areas as the business grows.
The people side of the business was always the side that I was most passionate about. An organization that values and invests in its people will reap the rewards of greater engagement, performance, and client satisfaction.
However, the people side can be one of the most neglected areas not intentionally, but because the business can be hyper-focused on the bottom line and client attraction to keep the business running.
This is noble, but can come at the expense of attracting a company’s biggest asset: People.
If you look at a company’s website, social media and other publications and they’re only client-focused with no glimpse into their culture and what makes their people special, it may be a sign that there isn’t a people culture.
Look at the careers page on their website to see if the culture jumps out of the page or if it’s a page that seems outdated or underdeveloped.
Look at their social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, to see if they’ve invested time in featuring their people or culture.
People are part of the story of an organization and finding a people culture starts with the cover like a good book. If people aren’t highlighted in the book, it becomes a pretty dull story.
Use these 3 quick tips the next time you’re looking to make a career move to find a culture that values every area of their business from people to clients.
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